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Old 21st July 2019, 12:32 PM   #1
Seerp Visser
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Default Meteorite again

In many Keris meteoritic material is/was applied as pamor material, without adding other nickel containing material.

In other Keris less meteoritic material is added. I found information about an Empu adding five grams meteorite only.
In those Keris the required quantity of pamor material is complemented by other material(s).

Do our members have more information about weight of meteorite added into Keris?

When smaller quantities are added, does the Empu place this piece or these pieces meteoritic material in a predefined location in the blade?

And what mystic power expects an Empu from more or less meteorite?
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Old 21st July 2019, 05:59 PM   #2
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Interesting question! I hope you will get an equally interesting answer!
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Old 21st July 2019, 07:49 PM   #3
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I am seriously doubting that meteoric materials was or is added in many kris blades but Alan will probably tell us more about it
I own several krisses supposedly containing meteoric materials according to the seller (see pic) but I take it with a pinch of salt...
Regards
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Old 21st July 2019, 09:17 PM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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Jean, I'm just a wee bit sick & tired of this meteorite thing.

Yes, meteoritic material was used in some keris in Central Jawa. It is perhaps reasonable to hypothesise that meteorite was used in a few other keris prior to the Prambanan Fall. But it is not possible to know with any certainty which keris it was used in, unless one actually put it there oneself, or saw meteoritic material, that was known positively to be meteoritic material placed into the forging that was then further processed into a keris.

You are absolutely correct Jean:-meteoritic material is not known to have been used in many keris , but in only a very limited number of keris produced in Central Jawa from the end of the 18th century up until the present.

Seerp, I have used meteoritic material in blades, I have used it in knife blades, I have consolidated meteoritic material into a small billets that were subsequently used as the contrasting material in several keris. In both the knife blades and the keris blades the quantity of material used was not weighed, this would be without any point at all. The quantity of meteoritic material used was judged by eye, in exactly the same way that other contrasting materials are judged:-

sufficient is sufficient, too little is not enough, too much is unnecessary.

There are no sets of scales in a forge, but there is a smith, and that smith has the experience necessary to make judgements.

I know of no tradition that requires meteoritic material to be placed in any particular place in a blade. Frankly, and taking account of the way in which pamor is made, I can see no way of placing meteoritic material in any particular place, other than by adding it at the end of the forging process as pamor tambal, and that would seem to be counter to the philosophy involved, and most certainly not at all possible using the techniques that were used in Central Jawa to turn meteoritic material into pamor.

In respect of what the maker expects from the addition of meteoritic material to a keris, I would most gently suggest that this is the wrong question, and even if the right question were to be asked, I would not be prepared to answer it.

What I can do is to say that the reason I added it was because I had been told it could not be done and that meteorite in blades was something that was part legend, part myth, and a tiny part reality. The secret had been lost.

This was in the second half of the 1970's. Bill Moran in the USA was making knife blades using meteoritic material. The "Keris Revolution" had not yet started in Jawa, there had been a few little scratchings around the edges but it was to be a few more years before craftsmen were actually producing keris and making a living from this. If Bill Moran could weld meteoritic material, so could I. Now anybody who can make a chocolate cake and who has a gas forge can weld and use meteoritic material. It is just another material. No big deal.
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Old 21st July 2019, 09:52 PM   #5
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Thank you Alan.
I don't know that i can say what mystic power as Empu expects from more or less meteorite. As Alan points out, that is probably the wrong question really. But i think i can say what a keris dealer might expect and it is measured in rupiah, dollars and cents.
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Old 21st July 2019, 10:16 PM   #6
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That's cruel David, purely cruel.

This can be downloaded if you are able to push the right buttons:-


"The Magical Life of Things" --- Margaret J. Wiener


It is a nice little addition to furthering an understanding of the keris, nothing new, not an expose of hidden knowledge, just a simple, commonsense commentary.

Pauzan Pusposukadgo used to believe that much of the "mystical/magical" belief surrounding the keris was due to the involvement of the Dutch. I personally think that Dutch influence was only one factor.

The people of Jawa & Bali do understand the world in a way that differs from the way in which people from European based societies understand the world, particularly post-industrial European based cultures.

Not only is understanding different, but the societal system of behaviour is different. Javanese people will normally try to provide an answer to a question that they sense the questioner expects, not necessarily an accurate answer, but one that will please the questioner.

The keris in some circumstance could be considered to be a "magically charged" object, but that "magic" cannot be understood unless one understands the Javanese mode of thought and World View.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 21st July 2019 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 02:48 AM   #7
Seerp Visser
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Default Meteorite again

Jean/Alan

Two major pieces of the Prambanan meteorite were transported into the kraton of Solo. One piece in 1784 and one in 1797
(Meteoorijzer te Soerakarta, Natuurkundig tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indie, Vol 29, 1867, page 267).
A bigger piece and a smaller. The biggest piece was estimated to have a volume of about one cubic meter. One cubic meter will have had a weight of about 7,900 kgs.

In 1867, the smaller piece was consumed.
In 1904 (107 years later) An Austrian ethnologist visits the meteorite in the kraton of Solo and gives the dimensions from what is left of the bigger piece. From these measurements a weight can be calculated of about 1,300 kgs.
So 6,600 kgs of the bigger piece of meteorite were consumed.

Photographs of the meteorite (Indische courant 1939, Frey 1989) show not too much movement of the big piece since 1904.

So when we accept what Dr. Groneman writes, that for a Keris about 200 grams of meteoritic iron was used (Nikkelijzer, 1904), then we can make an estimate how many Keris, lances and some other objects (as table knives) were made with meteoritic iron as pamor material.

When the meteorite was used for keris only, than, from the bigger piece, about 33,000 Keris were made with meteoritic iron.

We dream further.
Suppose the smaller piece consumed in 1867 was, originally, one third, in weight, from the bigger piece (so 2,600 kgs). In that case another 13,000 keris were made.

Also literature mentions that many, many smaller pieces of the meteorite were found.
In 1904 that material was all, or nearly all, consumed according to Dr. Groneman.

Suppose all smaller meteoritic material together was the quantity of the smaller piece earlier consumed in Solo.
Than another 13,000 keris were made with meteoritic iron.

Above numbers total 59,000 keris made with the use of meteoritic iron as pamor material in middle Java.
And that in the period between around 1750 and 1904 or about 150 years.

Are that many Keris? Are that not many Keris? For middle Java only? I don't know.
Suppose Empu's used less meteorite for a Keris or more that should influence the results of course.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 04:40 AM   #8
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Seerp, have you ever worked with meteoritic material?

1Kg put into the first weld does not equal 1Kg after the material has been washed, to wash the material I used, it needed around 10 welds. Most of that meteorite finished up as scale on the floor of the forge.

Then in the case of the Prambanan meteorite there was one hell of a lot of experimentation went on before the smiths worked out how to handle it.

The technology was a side blown charcoal forge, or a ground forge, blown by ububan. Have you ever used one of these? My guess is that perhaps as much as half the attempts to produce usable material failed.

Then there are other factors such as restrictions placed on use, and the number of keris that one person could make in a lifetime.

The technique used in Central Jawa to weld meteoritic material, and other small pieces of pamor material ensures that the meteorite is not able to be identified as a separate entity after the first weld, right from the beginning it is mixed with the iron.

Calculations might be fun, but they bear no relationship to the end product.

I most respectfully suggest that your numbers might be just a little bit optimistic.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 08:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seerp Visser
Jean/Alan

One cubic meter will have had a weight of about 7,900 kgs.



Seerp,
To complement what Alan said, you have assumed that the specific gravity of the meteorite is 7.9 so equal to the one of pure iron, but it is not the case as the meteorite is only a piece of celestial rock containing few percent of metal oxides or other metallic compounds....

Alan,
Just for curiosity, what is the approximate fraction of the raw meteorite materials which ends-up as usable pamor materials after the final welding?

Regards

Last edited by Jean : 22nd July 2019 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 02:35 PM   #10
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Default Some back of envelope calculations

So, this budiak is obviously not a keris, but perhaps it may, through some back of envelope conclusions provide some insight. X-Ray fluorescence analysis (so, surface in the area of pattern averaged over an area of about a square centimeter) disclosed about half of one percent Nickel without other elements commonly used to enhance patterns. The Nickel will be in the lighter areas of the twist-core pattern, but one should not assume that meteoric alloy would have been used there in pure form. Making a perilous extrapolation, if this sample is representative of the whole, then there would be about 2 grams of Nickel in 450 grams of budiak. While there is no evidence that the Nickel did come from meteorite (see Kai's reply in the original thread), if the material did come from meteorite we can then calculate how much meteoric material would be there. The metallic phases of meteorites will contain from about 4 to 30 percent Nickel with a large majority of the rest being Iron, so if this is extraterrestrial Nickel, then it would as a finished product contain from about ten to fifty grams of meteoric alloy. If it were from an African Gibeon meteorite, which it would not be but using this as a stand-in for a nearly purely metallic type, the weight of meteoric content would be about 25 grams.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 03:20 PM   #11
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Alan/Jean

I wash bloomery iron, i don't wash iron meteorite.

Iron meteorite contains about 90% Fe, further nickel and some other elements mostly desribed as trace elements.
No impurities as bloomery iron has a lot.

The Prambanan meteorite is a little more difficult. Not as iron meteorite, but because it is very scarce. Thru the centuries a limited number of analyses is carried out. The analyses are from very early dates, so not secure. (The first dates from 1866).

(see Farrington, Analyses of Iron Meteorites 1907, page 88 and 89 and Buchwald, Handbook of iron meteorites 1975, page 990)

All compositons, in the above literature, describe the Prambanan meteorite as iron meteorite with Fe and Ni and only traces of other elements (cobalt).

To forge iron meteorite, i put it in a kind of "envelope" of standard construction steel (iron) and forge weld these together.
The reason for this extra work is that iron meteorite crumbles under the hammer blows. When inside the envelope it is possible to weld and to forge it.
This way of working is commonly used today and was used by the Empu's of Java in the past.

(Who is interested, can have a look on Youtube. There is a video of Pasak Lembu Bara, an Empu from Bali, who shows this way of work forging Campo del Ciello meteorite)

The advantage of working with an envelope is, that no meteoritic material faces the surface of the envelope and so the meteoritic material is protected against oxidation.
In a later stage of forging the blade, when grinding starts, this advantige is lost.

I worked with charcoal fires. Charcoal gives a very clean and very hot fire. Nothing wrong with a charcoal fire blown with bellows.
The disadvantages of working with charcoal, these days, are the price of good charcoal and the fire needs a lot of attention continuously.
I prefer charcoal above coal. Propane is not suitable for forge welding meteorite since the temperature of the fire will be too low, burning propane (without oxigen).

The specific gravity of meteorite iron will be just a little bit higher than that of pure iron, since the percentage of nickel will give a lift.
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Old 22nd July 2019, 10:20 PM   #12
A. G. Maisey
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Insofar as meteoritic material is concerned I have worked with only Arizona meteorite.

Insofar as forge fuel is concerned I have used coal, coke, several types of charcoal, and propane. I learnt on coal, I did most of my work on coke, I used charcoal when coke was not available, and I used propane as soon as I was able to buy a decent gas forge.

Before attempting to use coal for welding, it must be coked, this is why it is preferable to buy coke ready for use, rather than coal as fuel. Coke is coal with the impurities burnt out of it.

Propane is the fuel used in a gas forge, it is mixed with oxygen by application of a venturi process prior to the burn. Welding in a gas forge is very easy, it is almost impossible to burn the material.

Charcoal, if of the right type is very good forge fuel, it is very clean and it is possible to weld in a good charcoal fire without the need for a flux. However, it creates a "loose" firebed, it uses a lot of fuel, it requires constant fiddling to manage the fire, and used with bellows, or with an unregulated electric blower the maintenance of consistent temperature is not so easy to achieve.

The easiest way to consolidate meteoritic material is to use an envelope, as Seerp has explained.

Other than for a couple of experiments, I did not use an envelope when welding meteorite. The first few times I welded meteorite I tied the small pieces together with wire, the wire holds the meteoritic material in place in the fire until it gets sticky, by the time the material reaches weld heat the wire has burnt away and the material is sticking together in the fire, the material is very carefully removed from the fire and gently tapped together on the anvil, it is then replaced in the fire and a second weld is taken. The second weld is easier than the first because the meteoritic material is all in one lump.

The first few welds with meteoritic material need to be taken very gently, after those first few welds working with meteor is no more difficult than working with any other material.

In my experience, and working with Arizona meteorite, I needed between 7 and 10 welds before the meteoritic material was sufficiently clean to use as the contrasting component in either pamor or mechanical damascus. By "sufficiently clean" I mean that when forged at a welding temperature the billet of material did not give off sparks.

If a smith can control his fire it is definitely possible to weld unprotected meteoritic material in coke. My early work with meteoritic material was done in coke, my later work was done in gas. Welding anything in a gas forge is easier than cooking a good chocolate cake.

I have never tried to weld unprotected meteoritic material in charcoal, because the nature of a charcoal fire is such that in my opinion it would be impossible to weld unprotected meteoritic material in charcoal. The "envelope" approach to welding meteoritic material is a necessity brought about by the nature of the fuel, and only partially by the nature of the material.

Seerp has commented that he does not wash meteoritic material. This is a misleading comment.

Once the meteoritic material has been consolidated inside its iron envelope, that billet will then be folded and welded a number of times, each time the billet goes through the welding process it is being washed.

Seerp may not wash his meteorite as a separate billet, prior to combination with iron, but he does wash it every time he welds the meteorite + iron envelope billet.

The reason that I preferred to weld the meteoritic material as a single entity was that firstly, I was told it could not be done, and secondly by the time I began to work with meteor I had already spent a great deal of time with Empu Suparman, and due to his teachings I had come to the opinion that to maintain the purity of meteoritic material it should go into the pamor unsullied. This was my personal opinion, it was not an opinion I had heard from anybody else.

Would I do the same today if I was beginning to work with meteorite? Probably not. I have tried the "envelope" approach, it is very easy, faster and more economical than trying to maintain the purity of the meteoritic material, and it is not possible to see any difference at all in the finished product.

However, I still hold the opinion that for a sacred keris, or a keris made intentionally as pusaka, that incorporates meteoritic material, that material should go into the keris as pure meteorite. In fact, ideally the entire pamor content in such a keris should be meteoritic material, the idea of combining meteor with other ferric material is, I believe, something that has come about because of the scarcity of meteorites and their cost.

Seerp, I do understand that you hold a genuine interest in learning how to make a keris, however, if you truly wish to produce a traditional keris, rather than the modern interpretation of one, may I gently suggest that you do not use a grinder in your work, but rather use files and scrapers.

I am well aware that pande keris of the modern era use modern tools, but Empu Suparman did not, Empu Djeno Harumbrojo did not, and I did not. To make a keris in accordance with traditional practice it is necessary for the maker to connect directly with the keris, the use of electric tools prevents, or at the very least, disturbs this connection.
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Old 23rd July 2019, 08:44 AM   #13
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Thank you Seerp and Alan. I saw the Prambanan meteore in the Solo kraton but did not realize that it is almost pure metal as I understand from Seerp?
Regards
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Old 23rd July 2019, 10:17 AM   #14
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Jean,
In case you, or an other member of the forum, should have the opportunity to visit the meteorite again, would you please be so kind to take photographs as detailed as possible?

- overall from all directions
- from the spots where meteorite was chiseled off, with a ruler next to the place photographed, if possible

And can you take, or when not possible, guess the dimenstions of the meteorite, perhaps against a point to refer to, such as the railing (when you can measure this)?

And, when pssible, can you measure or guess the dimensions of te spots?

I would be very pleased if i could use these for my study.
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Old 23rd July 2019, 02:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
That's cruel David, purely cruel.

This can be downloaded if you are able to push the right buttons:-


"The Magical Life of Things" --- Margaret J. Wiener


It is a nice little addition to furthering an understanding of the keris, nothing new, not an expose of hidden knowledge, just a simple, commonsense commentary.

Pauzan Pusposukadgo used to believe that much of the "mystical/magical" belief surrounding the keris was due to the involvement of the Dutch. I personally think that Dutch influence was only one factor.

The people of Jawa & Bali do understand the world in a way that differs from the way in which people from European based societies understand the world, particularly post-industrial European based cultures.

Not only is understanding different, but the societal system of behaviour is different. Javanese people will normally try to provide an answer to a question that they sense the questioner expects, not necessarily an accurate answer, but one that will please the questioner.

The keris in some circumstance could be considered to be a "magically charged" object, but that "magic" cannot be understood unless one understands the Javanese mode of thought and World View.

Cruel Alan? Really? Honestly i feel you have done me a bit of an injustice here, but perhaps it is my own fault for not being clear enough.
Firstly, my comment had absolutely nothing to do with Javanese (or even general Indonesian) culture, the mystical/magical beliefs surrounding meteoric pamor or whether or not a keris can be a "magically charged" object. While it is true that i mention rupiah you may have noted that i also mention dollars and cents. Perhaps i should have been more of a completist and brought lira, pounds, euro and dinars into the equation. My remark was not intended as an indictment of the Javanese way of things. Rather it was a comment on the Culture of Salesmanship. This culture is universal. It has no national origin. Yes, i am well aware of the Javanese penchant of politeness in their tendency to tell others what they believe the questioner might like to hear, mostly because it is a trait which you have repeatedly posted about on this forum many times. I tend to pay rather close attention to the things you have to say on this forum as well as our private conversations. But while this may be a trait of Javanese culture with the root intention towards polite behavior it is also a main tenet of the culture of the salesman with the intent being to deceive and increase sales potential. It may be that you are too deeply involved in the Javanese keris world to see the pervasiveness of sales techniques from keris sellers around the world. For instance, i realize that you don't spend too much time scanning the keris pages of eBay or other online auction sites. But the use of the lure of meteoric pamor as a means to gain higher prices for keris sold by sellers all around the world is a quite common technique. It is part of the reason that misunderstandings about the legendary meteoric pamor are so hard to kill in the keris marketplace. It isn't being brought up as a polite response to a question where one feels the need to tell the questioner what would most please them. It is being pushed as a selling point. I am not being cruel, i am being straightforward and truthful.
And if anyone would like to read Margret Wiener's "The Magic Life of Things" it can be downloaded here:
https://www.academia.edu/2060088/Th..._Life_of_Things
As has been probably mentioned numerous times on these pages, i would also recommend her book "Visible and Invisible Realms. Power, Magic, and Colonial Conquest in Bali".
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Old 23rd July 2019, 07:27 PM   #16
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Tongue in cheek David, I apologise if you thought for one moment I was inferring that you were a modern day Torquemada.

As for my propensity to repeat myself, well, that is in most cases intentional:- repetition fosters learning, and if it appears to me that things I may have said in the past have been forgotten or ignored, and that people for whom I have great respect have been injured because of this, well, all I can say in my defence is that when the lies and carelessness stops, so will I.
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Old 23rd July 2019, 08:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Tongue in cheek David, I apologise if you thought for one moment I was inferring that you were a modern day Torquemada.

Thanks Alan, and also for sending me to my google search. I always enjoy when a conversation leads me to a bit of internet research. I am certainly aware of the Spanish Inquisition and the name did look a bit familiar to me, but i couldn't quite place it.
And no, i did not intend to mean that i was tired of your repetition and understand what you feel the need to repeat such tidbits of information. I was just trying to insure that somebody has indeed been paying at least a modicum of attention to the things you say.
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