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Old 21st February 2020, 05:19 AM   #1
apolaki
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Default Metal Balinese hilt with sheath

What style is this Balinese keris? The blade looks crude for an ornate hilt or is the hilt actually not great quality? The stones look to be more than colored glass. Is there anything noteworthy about the sheath? Once again, thank you for any insight!
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Old 21st February 2020, 05:57 AM   #2
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Hello Apolaki,

You pretty much guessed it: A recent production of limited quality.

The hilt is of lesser quality - there are far worse examples though, especially those pseudo-Bali nightmares produced on Java...

The decor on the uwer is certainly glass; the large ones on the base of the hilt will be locally produced paste (basically glass) commonly utilized on genuine Bali hilts. The dark red cabochons on the hilt will in all likelihood be glass, too.

Blade is poor as is the recent scabbard.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2020, 06:47 AM   #3
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i like this Balinese hilt
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Old 21st February 2020, 01:32 PM   #4
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The Bayu style hilt is of standard quality, not so good but not so bad IMO.
The old blade seems to miss its gonjo, and the recent scabbard is in approximate serengatan style.
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Old 21st February 2020, 04:14 PM   #5
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Hi, Is this a Javanese "nightmare" version?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Apolaki,

You pretty much guessed it: A recent production of limited quality.

The hilt is of lesser quality - there are far worse examples though, especially those pseudo-Bali nightmares produced on Java...

The decor on the uwer is certainly glass; the large ones on the base of the hilt will be locally produced paste (basically glass) commonly utilized on genuine Bali hilts. The dark red cabochons on the hilt will in all likelihood be glass, too.

Blade is poor as is the recent scabbard.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2020, 05:33 PM   #6
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Looks more like low quality Bali to me (from the single pic).

The Java version tends to be worse - or really much worse...

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Kai
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Old 21st February 2020, 06:09 PM   #7
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Oh I see. Do you have an example photo of Javanese version of these Balinese hilts?

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Originally Posted by kai
Looks more like low quality Bali to me (from the single pic).

The Java version tends to be worse - or really much worse...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:38 PM   #8
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no because these Javanese (...not Javanese but, IMO, wooden Madura hilts with Bali patterns) do not deserve to be bought or photographed
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:49 PM   #9
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Hi Jean, how old do you think the blade is and is there a name for the shape and style?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
The Bayu style hilt is of standard quality, not so good but not so bad IMO.
The old blade seems to miss its gonjo, and the recent scabbard is in approximate serengatan style.
Regards
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:56 PM   #10
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I wasn't referring to those wooden free-style hilts, Marco.

I meant the "golden/jewelled" brass-clad hilts produced near Yogya. However, I also don't have any pic handy - maybe we should start a hall of shame...

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Old 21st February 2020, 10:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
Hi Jean, how old do you think the blade is and is there a name for the shape and style?

BTW, I'm far from convinced that this blade ever had any gonjo.

Anyway, the only available moniker would be "out-of-pakem"...

With low quality blades, it does not make sense to try to fathom dhapur or traditional naming conventions since there probably never were any, sorry.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 22nd February 2020, 08:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
BTW, I'm far from convinced that this blade ever had any gonjo.

Anyway, the only available moniker would be "out-of-pakem"...

With low quality blades, it does not make sense to try to fathom dhapur or traditional naming conventions since there probably never were any, sorry.

Regards,
Kai


Hi Apolaki,
I agree with Kai about the low quality of the blade but I enlarged the pic of the base of the blade (sorsoran) and it seems that the pejetan (cavity on the gandik side of the blade) extends to the bottom of the blade, which is an indication that the ganja is missing. Apolaki, is it the case?
Regards
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Old 22nd February 2020, 02:33 PM   #13
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I'm with Jean on this one. I believe that this keris is indeed missing its gonjo.
From these photographs i cannot tell if this is a Balinese blade. It does look a bit short and has no obvious distinguishing features that would mark it as Balinese in origin.
I also think that the hilt that is perhaps on the low end of middle quality for this type. Definitely contemporary and not made for a person of any particular standing, but much worse examples of this style exist for sure.
Noting that the "stones" are glass or paste is not, as has been pointed out on this forum numerous times, necessarily a mark of poor quality. In Bali pastes and glass "stones" often appear on high quality dress.
I would image there is a strong likelihood that this is a dealer special. An old, incomplete blade in poor condition matched with a semi-fancy hilt and placed in a recently carve formal style sarong that is not particularly executed well.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 03:02 PM   #14
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Hi Marco and Kai, is this the wooden style hilts being referred to? Is it a Balinese or Javanese/Madura craft in the style of Balinese?

And Jean, I will get to the other questions about the ganja as soon as possible. I am cleaning the blade. It looks like someone took an electric grinder to it because there are striation marks throughout. It is currently bathing in a less than 5% vinegar & water solution. (Incidently, I really fear I messed up cleaning a moro kris using just straight 5% vinegar, so I am really cautious using vinegar now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I wasn't referring to those wooden free-style hilts, Marco.

I meant the "golden/jewelled" brass-clad hilts produced near Yogya. However, I also don't have any pic handy - maybe we should start a hall of shame...

Regards,
Kai
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Last edited by apolaki : 22nd February 2020 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 03:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
Hi Marco and Kai, is this the wooden style hilts being referred to? Is it a Balinese or Javanese craft in the style of Balinese?

And Jean, I will get to the other questions about the ganja as soon as possible. I am cleaning the blade. It looks like someone took an electric grinder to it because there are striation marks throughout. It is currently bathing in a less than 5% vinegar & water solution. (Incidently, I really fear I messed up cleaning a moro kris using just straight 5% vinegar, so I am really cautious using vinegar now).

IMO this is a wooden Maduran (Javenese or Balinese )hilt made for the big tourist shopping centers in Kuta .... like Matahari
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Old 22nd February 2020, 04:16 PM   #16
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An observation:

Brass is much harder to work versus copper, silver, or gold. Great detail can be made through these other metals. But brass, even when very thin, can be worked in detail, but not the detail or finesse than what I have seen in the other metals. This includes when the hilt is filled with resin and not wood.

I also base this on personal experience working with all of these metals, including the very thin sheets for repousse.

Thus I am not surprised that the lower work I have seen has been in the cheapest metal of brass (though I have seen some low work in silver as well).
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Old 22nd February 2020, 05:50 PM   #17
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Hi Battara,

So do you think this metal hilt is brass? If so, was it executed finely if brass is harder to work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
An observation:

Brass is much harder to work versus copper, silver, or gold. Great detail can be made through these other metals. But brass, even when very thin, can be worked in detail, but not the detail or finesse than what I have seen in the other metals. This includes when the hilt is filled with resin and not wood.

I also base this on personal experience working with all of these metals, including the very thin sheets for repousse.

Thus I am not surprised that the lower work I have seen has been in the cheapest metal of brass (though I have seen some low work in silver as well).
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Old 22nd February 2020, 07:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
Hi Marco and Kai, is this the wooden style hilts being referred to? Is it a Balinese or Javanese/Madura craft in the style of Balinese?

And Jean, I will get to the other questions about the ganja as soon as possible. I am cleaning the blade. It looks like someone took an electric grinder to it because there are striation marks throughout. It is currently bathing in a less than 5% vinegar & water solution. (Incidently, I really fear I messed up cleaning a moro kris using just straight 5% vinegar, so I am really cautious using vinegar now).

I would need to see more photos and dimensions on this hilt would be helpful, but this polychrome wooden hilt that you have just shown us i would take as a Bali hilt. I have never seen anything like that coming from Jawa or Madura.
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Old 22nd February 2020, 07:24 PM   #19
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BTW, here is my own Bali "Bayu" style hilt. It is also brass with the remnants of an gold wash still evident. I would call it a middle quality example, perhaps a little better than the one you present, but no where near the court level hilts that these emulate. I believe most, if not all the "stones" on this hilt are glass. Again, in Bali this is not a big deal. Yes, high end court pieces will most likely have some real gemstones on them, but they are also likely to have a few glass and paste "stones" right in there with the rest. In Bali it is the over all visual affect that is more important than the value of individual gemstones.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 04:10 AM   #20
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Hi Jean. Here are photos of the blade I just cleaned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Hi Apolaki,
I agree with Kai about the low quality of the blade but I enlarged the pic of the base of the blade (sorsoran) and it seems that the pejetan (cavity on the gandik side of the blade) extends to the bottom of the blade, which is an indication that the ganja is missing. Apolaki, is it the case?
Regards
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Old 23rd February 2020, 04:28 AM   #21
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This is a very peculiar looking keris.

I will not speculate on this because there is absolutely nothing available to base speculation on, but this blade is most certainly not like anything I have ever seen, and I have seen one hell of a lot of keris.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 08:12 AM   #22
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The squarish pesi is unlike a keris tang should look like.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 11:37 AM   #23
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Nah, it's Moro - just joking...

I stand by my comments from post #11.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 23rd February 2020, 03:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Nah, it's Moro - just joking...

Well, i understand why you followed that up with "just joking", but when i got a clear look at that tang it was the first thought that crossed my mind as well. Looks a helluva lot like a Moro kris tang.
This blade is quite an enigma. As Alan states, i've never seen anything quite like it. It has obviously been pattern welded and has pamor, but the work at the base is rather poor. You may well be correct that it never had a gonjo, but i wonder if that was the original intent. It seems to be an unfinished project. That or it is a re-worked piece. The tang looks weird beyond being flat like a Moro kris tang. It might just be the photos, but it looks like it might have been welded on rather than formed from the original billet.
Anyway, whatever this is i feel fairly confident now saying that i don't think this is a Bali keris.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 05:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Well, i understand why you followed that up with "just joking", but when i got a clear look at that tang it was the first thought that crossed my mind as well. Looks a helluva lot like a Moro kris tang.
This blade is quite an enigma. As Alan states, i've never seen anything quite like it. It has obviously been pattern welded and has pamor, but the work at the base is rather poor. You may well be correct that it never had a gonjo, but i wonder if that was the original intent. It seems to be an unfinished project. That or it is a re-worked piece. The tang looks weird beyond being flat like a Moro kris tang. It might just be the photos, but it looks like it might have been welded on rather than formed from the original billet.
Anyway, whatever this is i feel fairly confident now saying that i don't think this is a Bali keris.


There also seems to be alot of striation marks across the entire blade and the edges looked sharpened perhaps using an electric grinder tool. Could it be it was originally a Balinese blade that was reworked into the shape and condition it is now or is it a "missing link" between Indonesian keris & Moro kris?
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Old 23rd February 2020, 06:24 PM   #26
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This is a blade left at an intermediate phase of manufacturing. The pesi has still to be rounded, the lower part of the blade to be formed and the ganja inserted. You may refer to "The world of the javanese keris" by Garrettand Bronwen Solyom, page 8, bottom line, n. 17, 19 and 20. The photos well explain the manufacturing at this stade.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 07:05 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
Hi Battara,

So do you think this metal hilt is brass? If so, was it executed finely if brass is harder to work?

Actually just the opposite. One can hammer in more details into softer metal than harder metal like brass. Again this observation and personal experience in metalworking.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 07:36 PM   #28
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GIO, I think you might be half right.

The forging from which we carve a keris blade is left quite thick & heavy, the pesi is cut square and reduced little by little, not necessarily all at the same time.

It could be that this blade was a failure:- the original billet was made too small, the forging could not be left at adequate thickness to carve a proper blade from, so rather than waste the money that was already in it, it was turned into something to keep some halfway pretty dress together.

It would serve quite OK for a poor man's marriage keris.

So not something that was part-way through manufacture and that could eventually end up as an actual keris, but something that was a failure of manufacture.

Based upon what I can see in the images, this blade was not shaped with an electric grinder, but with a file. grinders tend to leave uninterrupted curved lines, the lines on this blade are straight and in some places form a hatch-work effect.
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Old 24th February 2020, 03:42 PM   #29
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Alan, I fully agree with you. I didn't take into consideration the small size which could be evaluated in relation with the size of the hilt. Such small size would have made impossible to carve the blade correctly.
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Old 24th February 2020, 06:06 PM   #30
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Gio --- It is often somewhat difficult to guess at things that one has not previously seen. Until you mentioned the possibility of part completion, I did not realise what I was probably looking at.
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