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Old 27th August 2009, 09:47 AM   #1
mykeris
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Default Tajong-viewing plesure & comments.

Another Tajong for your viewing pleasure. Hope this would help to release work tensions and clear up the mind. Feel free to comment. Hope some one could help to identify age of the hilt, motif and what kind of wood is it. Could it be Kenaong, Kemuning Hitam or something else. I really take note and enjoy all your comments.
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Old 27th August 2009, 09:55 AM   #2
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Happy viewing
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Old 27th August 2009, 09:59 AM   #3
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Rgrds, Mykeris.
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Old 27th August 2009, 10:27 AM   #4
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Amazing hit with a beautiful sarong Hard wood seems to have a nice patina
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Old 27th August 2009, 12:00 PM   #5
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Ohh, this bright and guilty high-end world!
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Old 27th August 2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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This is an interesting newer tajong Sampir made from graham is not found in the older tajong, as are the silver works on the batang and linking the daun-daun, which probably are separate pieces due to limitation of raw material. The hilt needs to have a broader head to look nicer, nose is a bit too long. The tajong spiral needs to be more centralized on the makara. For this style of hilt, the janggut should be more prominent, I feel. The carver needs to sharpen his carving knife more often while carving. Quite a number of spots where the line is not clean, prob due to the knife dulling. Overall, pleasing to the eyes though.

Last edited by BluErf : 27th August 2009 at 01:48 PM. Reason: added more details.
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Old 27th August 2009, 01:42 PM   #7
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Another point - the carver should have spent more time polishing the hilt. It looks a bit rough like that. He definitely has potential to be much better, and I hope he does, to perpetuate the art of tajong!
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Old 27th August 2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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Sorry for multiple posts - the batang needs to be longer. The traditional aesthetics of a tajong shd be taller and lankier, like the blade. Shd really lose the silver works... A nicely grained batang made from kayu sena would be much classier.
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Old 27th August 2009, 02:36 PM   #9
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Hi Kai Wee. Would you be able to define some of these descriptive terms as they apply to the tajong hilt form. I know a few, but not all of them as tajong is not as much an area of concentration for me as it is for you. If you could provide a diagram with the parts named that would be awesome, but if not, just a explanation of terms would be helpful.
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Old 27th August 2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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Default Creative Art Of Carving

Interesting, points taken. But don't you think Tajong has inherited many style of carving methods and versions by different carvers? Would you agree that this is a 19th Century hand work hilt? Would you think that this hilt was carved prior to the birth of Nik Rashideen?
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Old 27th August 2009, 11:47 PM   #11
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Hi Mykeris,

I agree there are many different styles of tajong, and individual carvers also add their style to it. However, I was not referring to an individual's style when discussing this hilt. I was touching on the 'archetype' style.

This hilt is apparently going for the "late stage" form of the tajong in which the body is big and full, head is broad, prominent crown and janggut, with body covered in vegetative motifs. And yet, this hilt is on the slim side. A good source of old tajong hilts is the Spirit of Wood. We can refer to pg 121 for a view on how the hilt evolved. Pgs 125-127 show more older hilts from various eras, which I generally agree with the age attribution, except for the one which has lost its swasa nose and eyes and being attributed to pre-18th century (I think that hilt is 19th century style, maybe earlier part, but just in bad condition).

As to why I thought this hilt was recent - the older hilts I have seen are carved with clean clear lines, and all parts are meticulously finished. There are hardly any unsure lines or rough edges, motifs are defined. In short, the carvers spent a lot of time carving and finishing the hilt. That was understandable, because a good tajong hilt could be worth a small piece of land, and were carried by people in higher society who could afford them. In recent years, there had been carvers of the tajong hilt, but they do not follow the same strict expectations of standards as the carvers of old. We see more and more tajong hilts these days like that, with carvers flouting basic rules like sharpening their knives constantly! When one is carving hard wood like kenaung or kemuning, sometimes, sharpening is required every few strokes. This was not observed, even at the so called tajong school in Southern Thailand, where students pump out substandard tajongs.

I'm not saying your tajong hilt is bad; in fact, the hilt is overall good and has the effect of impressing viewers. The carver is talented and has an understanding of the tajong form and motifs, but he could have been brilliant if he spent more time.

I'm quite frank on this subject, and you would have noted that I have posted favourable comments on some tajong you posted earlier. So, I am focused on the subject, not collectors or fellow forumnites. Hope you understand. Thank you.
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Old 28th August 2009, 02:53 AM   #12
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I agree with Bluerf, the hilt is a later period of tajong. Also the silver mounts would be polished as well. I do like the fossil molar. Would you post pictures of the silver work?
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Old 28th August 2009, 07:17 AM   #13
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No probs Bluerf, keep it up, points taken. I would appreciate if our Moderator could kindly consider removing those scribbled photos of mine . I would suggest a proper diagram for proper explanation.! Dont worry about your negative comments, I like honesty and constructive comments..Some samples would be good, Bluerf.
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Old 28th August 2009, 01:12 PM   #14
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Ok, found 2 great diagrams in Spirit of Wood. Added my scribbles.
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Last edited by BluErf : 29th August 2009 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 28th August 2009, 04:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykeris
No probs Bluerf, keep it up, points taken. I would appreciate if our Moderator could kindly consider removing those scribbled photos of mine . I would suggest a proper diagram for proper explanation.!

MyKeris, i have removed the images that Kai Wee used to illustrate terminology.
Kai Wee, perhaps you can do something similar with some tajong hilts that you own so that this thread will still carry this info. Thanks.
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Old 29th August 2009, 03:32 PM   #16
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Here's a tajong hilt I've shared on a few occasions previously. I'm taking it out again as an example of what a properly finished tajong hilt look like. Notice how clean and sure the carvings are, and the consistent polish on the surface. This is the old (gold) standard for tajong hilts. Hope the new carvers can aspire to reach that standard.

The second pic depicts the proper proportions for a tajong keris. Pls ignore the Bugis style pendoko; it has since been replaced by a proper tajong pendoko.
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Old 30th August 2009, 02:20 AM   #17
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Thanks Bluerf, good explanation by the book and we should keep it for future reference. However, reading and viewing those photos alone, would not help to acquire 100 % understanding of what the book trying to say. I think, its good and more practical to observe how they are being made at sites and explained through keris workshops. Viewing your photos (it may be wrong because -not holding or seeing it for real) I still say that your hilt is under ''New Make' based on wood patina and refined material using modern tools. I have seen few of these materials in Patani and Kelantan, however, I could be wrong. Buying through runners or collectors are even worst still now a days. Their knives are even sharper than yours and mine! Another question, How would you authenticate an old carved tajong hilt as compared to new ones? Appreciate if you could post some existing samples for learning.

Last edited by mykeris : 30th August 2009 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:34 AM   #18
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Hi Mykeris, you are right that you cannot fully understand everything through pictures and forum discussions. However, that is the limitation we have on this forum. Not everyone can go to N. Malaysia/S. Thailand to see and handle these things.

I know what you mean about buying through runners, but I would say ultimately, it is how discerning we are in selecting the gems from the dross. If you know whoever is making tajong of the quality I have posted, please let me know, I would like to buy more of them. I don't have an issue with people using modern tools, but even with modern tools, can the carvers these days turn up hilts of such quality? Or the bigger question - do they want to spend the time?

The Spirit of Wood illustrates some of the best examples of very good old tajong hilts. I highly recommend everyone who has an interest in tajong to look at it. Look at it enough, and you shd be able to tell what makes a good old tajong, vs a new made rougher one. Again, I'm not discriminating against new work. If it is done meticulously, it is worthy of accolades. If it is done roughly, then, it is just another piece of commercial work.

What is defined as 'old'? I don't want to make any representations about how old my hilt is, and I have used the words "older", "newer", as a general separating descriptor for what is churned out in the present compared to those made carefully in the past, which could have been not too distant (e.g. pre-WWII?).

If you do know whoever can make hilts of this quality, let me know! Thanks in advance.

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Old 30th August 2009, 03:43 AM   #19
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Speaking of patina, I leave it to fellow forumnites to judge.
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Old 30th August 2009, 01:55 PM   #20
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Default hulu Tajong?

Hi Bluerf,
Folowing your information I turn to "Spirit of Wood" to try to identify the below shown Hulu. In spite of the many pictures and nice drawings, (what a marvelous book) I am not able to conclude that this Hulu is a Tajong, a Coteng, or a Bangsa Agung. For me it looks as a mixture but not a classical design in the Tagong family:
The sculpture is not as deep and sharp as the one you have shown and the polish not to the same level.
What is your opinion.
Regards
Michel
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Old 30th August 2009, 03:00 PM   #21
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Removed. See posting below.

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Old 30th August 2009, 04:05 PM   #22
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Hello Michel,

This hilt of yours, unfortunately, is an 'imitation' hilt made in Java/Madura. It is not from N. Malaya. Hence, you were not able to identify what it was. Java/Madura has been making 'imitations' of tajong and even the silver coteng hilts for quite some time. Some of them look proper from the side, but do not look correct from any other angles, because these people worked on photographs taken from the side angle only.
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Old 30th August 2009, 07:41 PM   #23
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Default Hulu Tajong ?

Thank you Kai Wee,
I had some suspicions as I bought it in Jogjakarta.
No problem with your frankness, it is the right way to enable us to learn. Now, you identify this imitation due to the fact it is not corresponding to the rules of Tajong or because it is not sculpted as neatly and precisely as Nik Rashidin use to do !
Thanks again and regards

Michel.
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:37 PM   #24
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Thanks for posting the diagrams Kai Wee, that's exactly what i was hoping for. I should have know to look in Spirit of Wood since i do own a copy, but i haven't looked throught it in a while and these diagrams slipped my mind.
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