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Old 8th June 2023, 05:22 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default An important keris Kamardikan for our records

I want to save this keris Kamardikan for our records!
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Old 8th June 2023, 08:53 PM   #2
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Nice looking Mahesa Kanthong blade. I like the sunggingan as well. Is this just something you ran across on the internet or do you own it. Kebo/Mahesa keris are another special interest of mine.
What makes it "important" to you?
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Old 8th June 2023, 09:39 PM   #3
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Nice looking Mahesa Kanthong blade. I like the sunggingan as well. Is this just something you ran across on the internet or do you own it. Kebo/Mahesa keris are another special interest of mine.
What makes it "important" to you?
Hello David,

Thank you for your comment! And no, sadly I am not the owner of this keris but have handled it many times. It is now in Saudi Arabia with a person who don't will know about this keris.
The importance I will exemplify a little bit later, I hope that Alan will recognize this thread and I am curious what he thinks about this keris.
One thing I can tell before, the wrongko and the sunggingan are the work of the people who work to this time for the keraton Solo.
And we seems to have some similar interests, I also have a special interest in Kebo/Mahesa blades.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th June 2023, 09:56 PM   #4
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Looks like a Keris from Jitar.
(Which means Djeno or his relatives, but this really looks like Djeno or Yosopangarso.)

High quality indeed.
Perhaps except for the Mendak, but the fit of it is good.

Last edited by Gustav; 8th June 2023 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 8th June 2023, 11:03 PM   #5
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Looks like a Keris from Jitar.
(Which means Djeno or his relatives, but this really looks like Djeno or Yosopangarso.)

High quality indeed.
Perhaps except for the Mendak, but the fit of it is good.
Wow, Gustav, you have a very good eye!

This keris was ordered 1990 by Dietrich Drescher by Djeno and when I remember correctly 5 years later finished and fetched by Wolfgang Spielmann and was until his death in his possession. The wrongko is from cendana but by carving a little fault pops up so it gets its sunggingan.
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Detlef
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Old 8th June 2023, 11:52 PM   #6
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Yes Detlef, I have noticed this thread, but I cannot really contribute much.

In 1990 the man who was recognised as probably the best sunggingan artist in Solo, and some people believed that he was one of the best of all time, was an artist from Pajang, just next to the rail crossing, his name was Legiman.

I have looked closely at the sunggingan work on this wrongko, and to my eye it does not appear to be Legiman's work.

I have a number of wrongkos that were painted by Legiman, and in fact, he was the only artist that I ever used for sunggingan work. When his eyesight started to go I stopped ordering from him, and any sunggingan work I acquired after that was not bespoke, but purchased from a dealer.

I am uncertain if Legiman was still working at his best at around 1995, when it seems that this keris was dressed, but if the work was not done by Legiman, I would have no hope of identifying who might have done it.

I do not know who might have painted this wrongko, nor who might have made the wrongko itself.

The keris itself certainly does look like the work of Djeno. I will not comment on this blade because the indicators that I have been taught to use in the appraisal of quality vary very widely from the ideas of collectors in the Western World, & for that matter from the ideas of most people in Indonesia who are outside Solonese society.
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Old 9th June 2023, 01:30 AM   #7
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It looks like someone has allowed some rust to slip in on the gonjo of this important keris.
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Old 9th June 2023, 06:09 AM   #8
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It looks like someone has allowed some rust to slip in on the gonjo of this important keris.
Yes, I've noticed this. Wolfgang Spielmann lives his last years on Bali and after his death his wife don't will given this keris the care it needs.
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Old 9th June 2023, 12:45 PM   #9
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Yes Detlef, I have noticed this thread, but I cannot really contribute much.

In 1990 the man who was recognised as probably the best sunggingan artist in Solo, and some people believed that he was one of the best of all time, was an artist from Pajang, just next to the rail crossing, his name was Legiman.

I have looked closely at the sunggingan work on this wrongko, and to my eye it does not appear to be Legiman's work.

I have a number of wrongkos that were painted by Legiman, and in fact, he was the only artist that I ever used for sunggingan work. When his eyesight started to go I stopped ordering from him, and any sunggingan work I acquired after that was not bespoke, but purchased from a dealer.

I am uncertain if Legiman was still working at his best at around 1995, when it seems that this keris was dressed, but if the work was not done by Legiman, I would have no hope of identifying who might have done it.

I do not know who might have painted this wrongko, nor who might have made the wrongko itself.

The keris itself certainly does look like the work of Djeno. I will not comment on this blade because the indicators that I have been taught to use in the appraisal of quality vary very widely from the ideas of collectors in the Western World, & for that matter from the ideas of most people in Indonesia who are outside Solonese society.
Hello Alan,

My memory regarding the painting can be wrong.
And I know that you have a different view about the work from Djeno.
But I have posted this keris because I think that Dietrich Drescher who ordered this keris plays a great rule that the keris is still alive. And only a few people have seen the work from Djeno, this was my intention.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th June 2023, 12:50 PM   #10
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Detlef, thank you for posting it, without doubt it is a valuable reference.

Do you have information on who did the Wrongko and painting?
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Old 9th June 2023, 02:04 PM   #11
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You are absolutely right about Dietrich, Detlef.

There would perhaps not have been a keris renaissance had it not been for the involvement of Dietrich.

The story I have is that there was an article published, probably in a German publication that told of Djeno & his brothers who were descendants of one of the last keris makers in Jawa. Dietrich learnt of their existence from this, and then set out to find them.

In 1972 when Dietrich located them he then encouraged them to begin making keris again. Dietrich himself had a lot of theoretical knowledge about pattern welding and he passed this on to Djeno & his brothers. This story came from an American who was also involved in the early days of the revival.

The story I have from a number of Javanese informants is that Dietrich never stopped trying to pass his understandings to Javanese craftsmen. He was unceasingly enthusiastic about informing & advising the pandes he came in contact with.

These are stories. I have them from other people, American & Javanese, I do not know how accurate they are. But it is certain that Dietrich was the catalyst that brought Javanese keris manufacture back to life, everything else flowed from that point.

I have seen five or six keris made by Djeno, several of these were keris that were ordered by various people and that I was asked to collect for them. One was for a gentleman from Malaysia, the others were for people in Europe and one (?) for a gentleman in USA.

Then there is the story of a Canadian professor who ordered a keris from Djeno, & made the mistake of bargaining on the price. He paid the reduced price agreed to after negotiation, Djeno completed the keris & sent it to him. When it arrived in Canada it had a big hole drilled right through the middle. It seems to me --- and to the buyer --- that Djeno removed a part of the finished keris to compensate for the lower price.

Although Dietrich & Djeno are the widely known & acknowledged beginning, there were at least two other people who had made keris in Jawa after the end of WWII and before Djeno began making keris again.

However, Garrett & Bronwen Solyom must not be forgotten. Had it not been for their enthusiasm and efforts in promotion of an understanding of the Javanese keris by way of the exhibition (1978?) at the East-West Center in Hawaii & the catalogue that was published in conjunction with this exhibition ("The World of the Javanese Keris"), the flame that Dietrich lit might have sputtered & died.

Garrett & Bronwen first became aware of the keris in about 1966 and immediately identified this Javanese cultural icon as a fertile field for further research. Garrett's mentor was Panembahan Harjonegoro (Alm.) (at that time his rank was Raden Tumenggung) who was a member of the family that provided the bupatis for Boyolali, he went to school with the man who later became PBXII, & they were life-long friends. Harjonegoro was also instrumental in the support of the keris renaissance.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 9th June 2023 at 10:06 PM. Reason: replace word
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Old 10th June 2023, 01:39 AM   #12
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Other Keris collection of Dietrich Drescher:

https://ificah-blog.com/dietrich-dreschers-collection/
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Old 10th June 2023, 04:34 AM   #13
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Other Keris collection of Dietrich Drescher:

https://ificah-blog.com/dietrich-dreschers-collection/
Hi

Thank you for sharing, these are awesome works
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Old 10th June 2023, 07:27 AM   #14
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Hi

Thank you for sharing, these are awesome works
You are welcome Anthony.

Those Keris were made by Mr(s) Jeno, Joso, Haji Duraphik, Subandi, Suyanto and Yantono.

The first two are known Empu from Yogya, the last three I believe what Alan called ďAnak-anak ASKIĒ.

Haji Duraphik, Iím not sure but probably from Madura.
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Old 10th June 2023, 10:05 AM   #15
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I can understand quite well a blade in Ngentho-Entho style is esthetically very far away from Surakarta canon, and this blade is a textbook Ngentho-Entho, a very good one at that.

It is also not mine favorite blade style, but I very much appreciate the coherent, clear stylistic idiom this blade embodies, together with the surface workmanship and a nearly perfect distribution of Pamor over the body of blade, on both sides. This blade really is alive, a true Keris.

On Keris renaissance and Jitar. For the years starting with 1973 until beginning of 80ties the more important of the brothers, head of the family, and one can say, the true master, also in quality of Keris making, was Yosopangarso. Of course they all worked together, but Yosopangarso left his character on blades they produced, an old style Javanese person. No wonder Keris making process Solyoms documented was done by Yosopangarso. Later Djeno started his own thing and was clearly more interested and talented in promoting his work.

Sadly even some of these early blades, which sometimes are almost impeccable, are now known as made by Djeno. This is a very good example for how a later fame overwrites and changes the past.

Last edited by Gustav; 10th June 2023 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 10th June 2023, 03:03 PM   #16
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There is more than a little bit of confusion and variation in reporting of the early years of the keris revival.

How many brothers did Djeno have?

Were all of them smiths?

How many Yosopangarsos were there? One, or two? Did one die in 1940?

Was the Yosopangarso who worked with Djeno through the 1970's his elder brother, or his uncle?

Was the keris produced in 1974 really the first keris that Djeno was involved in the production of, or was it the one that Djeno & his father (Empu Supowinangun) made in 1945?

Whoever the Jitar Yoso was, he was hierarchically superior to Djeno, and thus it became his responsibility to perform the rites attached to production of a keris, even though both Yoso & Djeno worked together on both Dietrich's 1974 keris and Garrett's 1976 keris.

It would appear that prior to the involvement of Dietrich, none of the Djeno family were actually working as smiths, it was Dietrich who got them up & working with fire & iron again.

However, be the back story what it may --- and there is a lot more to this back story that must remain unreported --- the fact is it was Djeno who was the active member of the clan & the driving force.

I do not believe that keris literate people have forgotten Yoso or the other people involved, its just that Djeno was around for a lot longer, made many more keris, and got a lot more publicity than anybody else.

The full story behind the 1976 keris is one that will never be told, but if it ever were to be told, a lot of myths would be blown away with the wind.
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Old 10th June 2023, 04:19 PM   #17
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Alan, I see you have done your homework and read the article by Jimmy H. This article, its BI twin and at least one website with information allegedly provided by Djeno himself is, let's say it politely, not always following the Western style "objective reality". A blatant example is the 1940 thing, which most probably is based on an unbelievable misreading and combination of two passages in an article on Djeno by Linus Suryadi from 1990:

After death of Empu Yosopangarso in middle of 80ties "Sedangan dua kakaknya yang lain, Genyo Dihardjo dan Wignyosukoyo, tidak melanjutkan tradisi warisan tersebut karena alas-alasan yang bersifat primer, langka pemesan, ongkos pembuatan tinggi, dan pekerjaan berat."

And "Selama kurang lebih 30 tahun antara 1940 sampai 1972 kehidupan Jeno Harumbrojo selaku empu keris praktis mandeg. Hal serupa tentu saja juga dialami kakaknya Yosopangarso, almarhum."

Which becomes "Djeno membuat keputusan ini setelah saudaranya, Empu Yosopangarso, meninggal pada tahun 1940, diikuti oleh kematian saudara laki-lakinya yang lain, Genyo Dihardjo dan Wignyo Sukoyo. Pesanan keris yang makin sedikit, ditambah biaya bikin keris teramat tinggi untuk ukurannya, membuat niatnya bulat untuk berhenti menempa keris."

This is how history is written.

The same can be said about IFICAH information that Yosopangarso was Djeno's uncle.

Yosopangarso clearly is the eldest brother. On old pictures from 70ties with subject of smithing we see Yosopangarso, Djeno, Genyodihardjo and Wignyosukoyo, so I think, we can say, at some time all brothers were involved in smithing (at least as spectators). Solyom writes "three of the sons (...) had once helped their father make keris.", which is something different.

As I understand, all information about Keris from 1945 comes from Friedrich Seltmann, who visited Empu Supowinangun and his sons in 1962. He nowhere explicitly mentions particularly Djeno's help in making this Keris. Interestingly, Seltmann provides a picture of a drawing of three Keris with three different Dhapur and three different Pamor from 1962, made by Yosopangarso, and Yosopangarso's name in family lineage is Yosocurigo.

Empu Supowinangun died in 1963 (or 1967), and there have been hints that the 1945 Keris (if it exists at all) wasn't the last Keris made by Empu Supowinangun together with his sons.

The maker of 1974 Keris was Yosopangarso, of course with Djeno involved in the process.

It would appear that prior to the involvement of Dietrich, none of the Djeno family were actually working as smiths, it was Dietrich who got them up & working with fire & iron again. - they did not make any Keris or Pamor work, but Yoso still was a blacksmith at the time Dietrich Drescher arrived, his brothers helping him.

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Old 11th June 2023, 04:19 AM   #18
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You're very correct about the "objective reality" thing Gustav, it really does take some getting used to, & it is something that I have needed to manage since 1966. Prior to that I had read about the way information flows in Jawa --- & I guess Indonesia in general --- but I had not personally experienced it.

There are a few elements that contribute to this interesting mode of communication, one is the "Humpty Dumpty" factor, the other major element that I like to think of as the "kill the messenger" factor. I sometimes think that this almost complete lack of objective reality is a product of the pre-colonial social management system, followed by the gentle administrative practices of the colonial years.

This mode of communication is of course the foundation of the variations in belief in respect of many things in Jawa, not only things to do with Djeno & keris. An overriding principle seems to be that we must never let truth stand in the way of a good story.

I believe that we can agree that Dietrich was the motivator in getting Djeno into the business of keris?

However, that is not at all how I heard the story from a few people in Solo. It appears that the generally accepted story of how Djeno got back to the work of a pande and began making keris again is that his father visited him in dreams several times and told him he needed to get back to the work of his ancestors, to stop wasting time and do what he was born to do. Finally, at age 43 Djeno took the hint and did what his dad told him to do. Dietrich was at best just a tool of Djeno's father.

Then there was a more or less general belief that it was not really Djeno who was doing the keris work. No, not at all:- how can a man with no real skills who has spent most of his life working in rice fields, make keris? Not possible! The spirit of his father, or according to others, the spirit of one of his other ancestors had come into Djeno and was using him.

Javanese people see & understand things in slightly different ways to the average bule.

I don't think I can legitimately claim credit for having done any homework Gustav. I have only a slight passing interest in the Jogja participation in the keris revival, even though I do acknowledge its pivotal role. At one time I was much more interested, but as I learnt more of the back story I lost interest.

However, during the period from 1978 through to 2015 I normally spent a minimum of two to three months every year in Indonesia, most of this time was spent in Solo, nearly everything I have come to understand about the Jogja role in the keris revival has come from personal contact with people and from reading Indonesian newspapers, magazines and journals.

Some of the people I know & knew in Solo knew Djeno and the Jogja keris group, a couple knew the man himself very well.

I cannot place "Jimmy H.", but if he is a journo who wrote or writes about keris, I've probably read some of his writings.

Seltman I have heard of, my source here was an American, whom I regard as probably the most reliable & open of the people who knew Djeno and the entire Jogja story. I think I was told that Seltman wrote a catalogue, or a part of a catalogue for a German museum --- it might have been Dresden? --- in any case, I have never seen anything that Seltman wrote.

I don't do the "homework" thing, for one thing I don't have time, and where Jogja is concerned, I don't have much interest, I write from general knowledge & memory --- probably not all that advisable really, my memory is mostly OK, but I find that I tend to forget a bit now & then & need to go back to notes.

Yes, you're right, Yoso was the eldest brother, that is the way it is recorded in Djeno's line of descent, and also as reported by Garrett, but when you hear various stories from various people & you hear those stories from more than one person, it does create confusion.

Regarding Yoso, the way I understand it --- and bear in mind, I am not drawing on published information, I am relating what I have been told by people who knew Djeno & his family --- Yoso's given family name was Yoso Pangarso, but the name given him by the Jogja Kraton was Yosocurigo. This aligns perfectly with the way in which names are given by Javanese kratons, for example Pauzan Pusposukadgo was known as Fauzan until the time he was taken into the Karaton Surakarta hierarchy, he was given a choice of several names & he chose "Pusposukadgo". In Javanese literary usage, "puspo" means "flower", "kadgo" is "keris". His original "Fauzan" name then became the alternate "Pauzan". The same thing happened with Pak Parman:- a choice of several names, and a new choice with each rise in rank, some of the choices incorporated elements of the previous name, all choices included elements that related to the function of an armourer.

Yosocurigo incorporates the word "curigo" = "keris or dagger". Not a family name, but a professional name. I was told that it was given by the Jogja kraton, but it could just as easily have been given by popular usage.

A m'ranggi who did a lot of work for me was named Agus Irianto, he was popularly known as "Agus Warongko", the kraton did not give him this name, it was given him by the people who knew him.

One of the little peculiarities of Javanese naming is that although many, if not most Javanese people use only one name, that name can & does vary, depending upon the field of activity in which the person is engaged. Very often the name shown on an ID card is never used except for official business.

There is one hell of a lot of generally accepted information about the early days of the Javanese keris revival that has several versions, & some of those versions must never be allowed to be made public, they would do a lot more harm than good. This applies to both Jogja & Solo, and from what I can see happening in Bali right now, it seems to apply there as well.
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Old 11th June 2023, 08:33 AM   #19
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Detlef, thank you for posting it, without doubt it is a valuable reference.

Do you have information on who did the Wrongko and painting?
My enjoy Gustav! My memory is stated in #3 but it's just my memory.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th June 2023, 09:11 AM   #20
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Alan, I completely agree, without Dietrich Drescher Ki Yoso and Ki Djeno wouldn't start to make Keris again.

I very well am aware of the meaning of the name Yosocurigo. With family lineage I meant the lineage of Empu family.

I am not sure this name was given by Kraton Jogja. There is a misconception Supowinangun was Empu of Kraton - he wasn't, he was Empu of Kepatihan and his sons were Empu by family descent. I know of no rank given to Yoso by Kraton.

We all know Pak Jimmy very well.

The American - was he sporadically contributing to this Forum a time ago?
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Old 11th June 2023, 09:45 AM   #21
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With the Yoso name, its as I said, he could have got it from anywhere, but it is not a family name, it is a professional name.

I seem to recall there was a split between Djeno's father & the kraton, & Djeno's "empu" designation was a popular one not from HB. I forget all the details of this, probably knew it once, but I've just about used up all the keris space available in my head. I guess a hereditary title makes sense in some sort of way, can't say I've heard of this, but I suppose it could happen.

My understanding of the "empu" or "mpu" designation is that it is an honorific of respect given by a ruler to a notable person, usually an armourer or a literary person. In the old days its use was more widespread and was just an honorific used for anybody notable for whatever reason.

However, it was/is possible for somebody to acquire the designation "empu" by popular acclaim. For example Pauzan Pusposukadgo was always referred to as empu, but although he was a part of the Surakarta hierarchy he would not accept the designation of "empu" from the kraton, his understanding of an empu was that an empu was able to bring life into a keris, and his strong religious faith made the very idea of this abhorrent.

Pauzan's preferred designation was "Pande Seni Keris".

We all might know "Pak Jimmy", but I'm afraid I cannot place the name, I might know him by some other name, but again, its as I said:- if he has written & published about keris I've probably read his writings.

The American gentleman to whom I referred has never --- to the best of my knowledge --- taken part in any online discussion of any kind, I regard him & his wife as good friends, but he keeps himself to himself.
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Old 11th June 2023, 04:32 PM   #22
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Alan, I failed to express myself again, but the matter isn't of so big importance.

I understand now whom you do mean, thank you.

Last edited by Gustav; 11th June 2023 at 06:09 PM.
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