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Old 1st August 2014, 12:00 PM   #1
RSWORD
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Default Unusual figural hilt

I shared this example on the figural hilt thread. Unusual handle with spiral body and head. Blade has seen its better days. Scabbard seems to be in the Balinese style but the blade is too short for the scabbard so I presume this to be a mismatch. Would be interested in any thoughts or comments about this piece.
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Old 8th August 2014, 12:02 AM   #2
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David,

When I posted this one on the figural thread I had tagged it Balinese but you didn't think so. Don't know if the additional pictures sway you in any direction but what do you think?
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Old 8th August 2014, 12:31 AM   #3
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Personally I doubt that it is a keris hilt.

A ferrule like this is very, very non-typical for a keris hilt. But it could be a keris hilt, a person who was outside the mainstream may have carved and fitted it.

It looks more like nondescript knife/dagger/tool handle than a keris hilt.

If I could handle it I could form a better opinion, from a photo these things are always difficult.
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Old 8th August 2014, 01:42 AM   #4
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Agree, I think it is a repurposed handle; something about the carving of the face says more Java than Bali to me .
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Old 8th August 2014, 08:50 AM   #5
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I agree with Alan and Rick. Any opinion about the blade origin, javanese or older balinese?
Regards

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Old 8th August 2014, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
David,

When I posted this one on the figural thread I had tagged it Balinese but you didn't think so. Don't know if the additional pictures sway you in any direction but what do you think?

Well, the sheath is certainly Bali. Not sure on the blade, especially given it's current condition. Of course, even it the blade AND sheath are Bali that would not preclude a hilt being placed on this keris from a different origin. Happens all the time. I am somewhat of the same mind as Alan though that this is possibly not originally meant to be a keris hilt at all. It also seems that it is missing a ferrule ring which may or may not have provided a clue to its origin.

Last edited by David : 9th August 2014 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 8th August 2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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Yes, the ferrule itself is missing, but it has been cut so deep that I cannot envisage anything that belongs to a keris being with it.

The blade looks like it might be Balinese, again I'd have to handle it to be relatively certain, especially in the condition that its in.
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Old 8th August 2014, 06:02 PM   #8
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Thank you Alan and David.
I attach the pic of one old (kris?) hilt specimen with a deeply carved base and fitted with a ferrule for whatever reason (damage?). The Solo nunggak semi hilts fitted with a selut also have a recessed base (but less deeply cut) for inserting the selut.
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Last edited by Jean : 9th August 2014 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 9th August 2014, 11:55 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it.
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Old 10th August 2014, 12:52 AM   #10
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Jean, that hilt that you have shown would originally have had one of those Cirebon style iron seluts.

The usual Central Jawa older selut has a scalloped rim. I have only ever seen cheap modern Jogja seluts with a straight rim.

Do we know of any hilt anything like this one from Cirebon?

Do we know of any Balinese hilt that uses a selut that would require deep cutting into the hilt?

If we do, then maybe we can give a "possible" to this hilt as a keris hilt, but the geometry of it looks much more like a generic sword/knife/dagger/tool hilt than a keris hilt. The only handle I've seen that looks something like this is a Lombok pelecok handle, but this hilt is not from a pelecok.
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Old 10th August 2014, 08:05 AM   #11
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Thank you Alan.
The iron ferrule fitted on my hilt is old, do you expect it to be original or is the type of Cirebon selut which you mention a different model?
I will check my old balinese hilts as I have few pieces with a quite deeply cut base for inserting the selut like this one (freshly repainted).
And you are right that the old Solo hilts with selut have a scalloped rim.
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Old 10th August 2014, 12:33 PM   #12
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Jean, I'm not quite sure where we're going with this discussion.

My assessment of the hilt on the Balinese keris that began this discussion was this:-

Personally I doubt that it is a keris hilt.

A ferrule like this is very, very non-typical for a keris hilt. But it could be a keris hilt, a person who was outside the mainstream may have carved and fitted it.

It looks more like nondescript knife/dagger/tool handle than a keris hilt.

If I could handle it I could form a better opinion, from a photo these things are always difficult.


Nothing I have written since I posted that assessment has altered my original assessment.

Nothing that others have written since my original assessment has altered the available evidence, thus my opinion remains the same:-

1) this type of ferrule is non-typical for a keris hilt; non-typical does not mean that such a thing cannot exist, it means that it is unusual for it to exist. I could also post photos of hilts that have a square cut recess to accept a square top on a selut, however, in the absence of the original selut this would prove absolutely nothing. We know that some seluts do have a square top, but in the case of this particular hilt, do you think a selut would be appropriate? Sketch in a selut and see what it looks like:- the already awkward geometry will become even more awkward.

2) the hilt under discussion does not look like a keris hilt, certainly, this is a very subjective judgement, however, my personal collection of keris hilts numbers in excess of 400 and I have undoubtedly seen and handled many more keris hilts than I have collected. I cannot recall having seen a keris hilt with the geometry of this hilt. However, I have seen many knives and pedangs with similar geometry.

3) we are looking at a photo; if it were possible to handle this keris I could determine if a proper grip could be achieved with this hilt, I cannot do that from a photo.

In respect of the Ganesha hilt of which you have posted a photo. I have not ever seen a Ganesha hilt nor any other North Coast keris hilt that has been fitted with the type of ferrule we find on knives and tools, moreover, the ferrule currently fitted to this Ganesha hilt appears to be an after-thought, or a replacement. The thing is quite simply out of place. Yes, it may be old, but that does not make it correct. What self-respecting man could wear a hilt like this in public? On the other hand, maybe this Ganesha hilt never was fitted to a keris, perhaps it was fitted to a knife or a pedang. There is enormous variation in Javanese weaponry, all we ever see in books is a very tiny sample of mostly items that conform with pre-determined ideas.

Let us not lose sight of exactly what function the keris performs, its primary use as a weapon is in a rapier like fashion, but it is also required to serve as an item of dress, and as an item of dress it represents the wearer.

Let us consider for a moment the type of Balinese selut that has a square top. Yes, it does require a square cut recess to accommodate such a selut, but the actual thickness of the wall of such a selut is not really very thick.

So, where are we going with this discussion?

I agree, the hilt under discussion could be a keris hilt, but personally I can see no way of forming any sort of defensible opinion in this respect in the absence of the physical presence of the hilt --- even then only the possibility of it being a keris hilt could be put forward, and that's exactly where we are now:- yes, possible, but not likely.
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Old 6th February 2020, 06:16 AM   #13
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Here is a somewhat similar unusual hilt referring to the topic example.
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Old 7th February 2020, 01:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Thank you Alan and David.
I attach the pic of one old (kris?) hilt specimen with a deeply carved base and fitted with a ferrule for whatever reason (damage?). The Solo nunggak semi hilts fitted with a selut also have a recessed base (but less deeply cut) for inserting the selut.
Best regards


IMHO such deeply carved base has the purpose of fitting a keris hilt to a pestel for betel nut breaking.
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:28 PM   #15
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Hello guys!

You probably know by now that I don't know almost anything about Indonesian krisses...
... but... I have seen many of them in the many museums I have visited in Indonesia and also in the collecteions of the few Indonesian dealers I have visited...
... but...
that definitely does NOT look like keris hilt!

One can fit almost anything to a keris, but does this make it a keris hilt?

Then what is a keris hilt:

1. something attached to a keris to serve as a hilt or...

2. something purposedly made to serve as a hilt for a keris?!
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Old 7th February 2020, 08:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Personally I doubt that it is a keris hilt.

A ferrule like this is very, very non-typical for a keris hilt. But it could be a keris hilt, a person who was outside the mainstream may have carved and fitted it.

It looks more like nondescript knife/dagger/tool handle than a keris hilt.

If I could handle it I could form a better opinion, from a photo these things are always difficult.


I'd bet it was originally made as a handle for a betel nut chisel.
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Old 11th February 2020, 08:51 PM   #17
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Yeah Rick, it could be I suppose, but to me it seems too big for that. All the handles of those little pestles that I've seen are much smaller, and tend to be sort like a pistol grip style. I think the name for those things is "pelecok" but I'm not sure and I have been unable to confirm.
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Old 24th February 2020, 03:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO
IMHO such deeply carved base has the purpose of fitting a keris hilt to a pestel for betel nut breaking.


Sorry my previous interpretation was wrong. See the pics for possible explanation.
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Old 24th February 2020, 06:01 PM   #19
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Yes, seluts can sit pretty deep, but on this particular hilt it was more likely to have been an iron selut. I've got a couple of hilts with iron seluts, I'll see if I can find them.
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Old 25th February 2020, 08:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Yes, seluts can sit pretty deep, but on this particular hilt it was more likely to have been an iron selut. I've got a couple of hilts with iron seluts, I'll see if I can find them.


Hello Alan,
You can see a specimen of iron selut in my post #8.
Regards
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Old 25th February 2020, 09:28 AM   #21
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I'm sorry Jean, but that is a ferrule, it is not a selut.

I'll try to put up a selut pic tomorrow.
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Old 25th February 2020, 10:31 PM   #22
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Here are some pics of North Coast hilts with seluts & ferrules --- sorry I've forgotten the correct Javanese name for a ferrule used on a knife or keris handle.

The image with 7 hilts has two hilts with ferrules in the middle of the bottom row.

In the image with two hilts both have heavy seluts, one of brass, one of iron.

The image with a single keris hilt & the selut detached from the hilt demonstrates the setback required for this type of selut.

The handle showing a Dutchman is from a pelecok and has a ferrule. This handle is intended as a visual joke:- the Dutchman is working for the user, not the user working for the Dutchman.
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