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Old 2nd October 2015, 12:43 AM   #1
A. G. Maisey
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Default Keris Holders

some people may find this of interest:

https://www.mhsl.uab.edu/dt/2010m/castillo.pdf

it is an academic paper and as with many such papers is a little difficult to read, word by word, but it is about keris holders, and contains perhaps the best collection of photos of keris holders that i have come across.

if you can persevere with the reading, you will benefit
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Old 2nd October 2015, 01:00 AM   #2
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Excellent Alan, thank you. Yes, i do find these interesting and like to pick them up when i can find them at reasonable prices. I have bookmarked this and will read it soon.
We have had a couple of threads dedicated to these. If anyone has any they haven't posted yet perhaps they could do so here.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...=keris+holders

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...=keris+holders
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Old 2nd October 2015, 02:35 AM   #3
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Yes, pretty obvious where most of these were mined from, isn't it?

I'd forgotten that thread.

The big stumbling block with acquisition is the "reasonable price " parameter, David. In Indonesia, decent old ones cost an arm and a couple of legs, and they are invariably very, very heavy, which makes the transport of them a considerable cost.

I reckon "buy local" is the only way to go with these things.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 02:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
The big stumbling block with acquisition is the "reasonable price " parameter, David. In Indonesia, decent old ones cost an arm and a couple of legs, and they are invariably very, very heavy, which makes the transport of them a considerable cost.

I reckon "buy local" is the only way to go with these things.
Yes, prices on the true antiques can be quite high and if it is being shipped overseas the extra costs can be very high. Personally i am not so concerned about age of the holder as much as artistic expession. The oldest one i own might be from the 1970s. All were bought from sellers in the States though.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 03:27 AM   #5
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Yes, I understand what you're saying, and my attitude is pretty similar. In fact, I buy any decent one I see, provided I can afford it. I've only got two old ones though, they're probably early 20th century, maybe late 19th century, they both weigh a ton, they cost me small fortune to buy, and another to get home to Australia, but they are the only truly old, good ones I've ever seen for sale.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 06:20 AM   #6
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So i guess i'm a little slow even though i posted the link.
I just have to say that considering Cynthia's mining of this forum for information as well as the visual contribution made by various EAAF members, she really dissed us not making any mention of the forum in her opening acknowledgment.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 06:48 AM   #7
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Yeah, it could be read as disrespect, but being the kind hearted person I am, I'd prefer to read it as marketing: the way in which she presented her attributions gives the impression of long and diligent research, much more impressive to the people who would evaluate the paper than attaching the attributions to an internet Forum.
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Old 2nd October 2015, 04:42 PM   #8
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I would guess that: 'I got it off the Web' is probably the kiss of death to papers such as this .
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Old 2nd October 2015, 05:03 PM   #9
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Sorry, she acknowledged her "friends and family". She could have very easily added "and my friends at EAAF" without giving much away on that front.
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Old 3rd October 2015, 12:01 AM   #10
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Thank you Alan for posting this academic paper.

I like figure 2 ;-). Pretty weird to see that I am a Australian collector.

I agree that referring to the forum would have been a nice gesture, but would on the other hand indeed be "the kiss of death" and bring the thesis back to a high school project level.

I am surprised to see 2 estatically very very poor statues in this paper with full credits and including a link to the website of a commercial trader.

But otherwise, I am very happy to see this new thread combining this thesis with other interesting threads, indeed showing a lot of very fine examples.
Thank you Alan and David.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 3rd October 2015, 01:22 AM   #11
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Willem, my 16 year old grandson tells me that he is only permitted a rather low percentage of material sourced from the net in his projects, they have to actually use hard-copy material and give full references. Looks like the teachers have woken up, at least in some places. I remember 15 years ago I knew candidates for Masters and PhD degrees who were getting most of their material off the net.

I thought that overall the holders shown were quite representative of the body of this form. Yes, certainly there were a few roughies there, but very often the genuine old ones are not major works of art. There were a few that were done for the tourist trade too.

In fact virtually all the old ones that I have seen with ordinary families had been carved by members of the family, not professional artists. I believe that this is, in general, the case with these holders.

The art and craft that we currently associate with Bali is principally the result of input to the Bali craft ethic during the 1920's and 1930's. A good place to see what Balinese painting looked like prior to the early 20th century is the Palace of Justice in Klungkung. Its all "wayang style".

All decorative art prior to the puputans was either religious or royal, the common people did not employ professionals for the purpose of ornamentation, they did it themselves, and carving from this grass roots source looks exactly like what it is:- folk art --- at best.

The refined carving that we associate with Bali now began its development during the 1920's and by the 1930's was in full swing. As far as I can work out from personal experience, there was another surge of development in the 1960's and 1970's.

The carving on temples and in other public places in Bali is mostly in stone, but it is very soft stone that has a very limited life, so even on the buildings that are quite old, the carved ornamentation is unlikely to be more than around 50-100 years old. The Balinese ethic is that the carving once done does not need to be preserved, it is the act of creation that honours the deity, not the act of preservation.

With keris holders, I very much doubt that any holders that demonstrate a high level of execution are in existence that pre-date circa 1900, and I'm being extremely generous in my estimate here. Something with a high level of execution from the 1930's I would consider to be about as old as we could expect, and then we need to consider if this holder was actually something produced for use in a Balinese household, or whether it was produced for sale to a visitor from outside the Balinese community. But there have been some exceptionally fine holders, and other carvings, produced by Balinese carvers during the last 40 years.
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Old 3rd October 2015, 03:55 PM   #12
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Thank you Alan for transmitting this interesting paper which I read without any difficulty as the style is concise and the wording simple.
I would like to discuss about the figure identification of the second kris holder from the Berman Museum identified as Ravana by the author as I have some doubts about it: She identifies it as Ravana because of the royal crown, the bulging eyes and fangs, the long nails, and the reddish brown colour of the skin. However I observe that the face of the demon apparently includes a third eye linking him to Shiva? The bulging eyes, fangs and long nails are found with other figures like Bima, and the reddish brown colour is a common feature of these holders (I have a similar one not depicting Ravana I think). And I wonder why an evil demon like Ravana would be depicted on a kris holder? What do you think?
On the same subject I own a quite small kris holder statue apparently depicting a Yogyakarta style figure (see pic, the kris is a patrem), the base is missing probably because the wood was severely cracked, what do you think about its origin?
I have 3 more kris holders which I will show later, and other contributions will be welcome!
Regards
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Last edited by Jean; 4th October 2015 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 4th October 2015, 12:51 AM   #13
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Jean, the keris holder you has given a photo of is current Jogjakarta. I've never had one of these myself, but a collector here in Sydney who is a jewellery dealer and who buys in Jogja and Bali has had a number of these made over the last 20 years or so.

In respect of the identification of one of these keris holders as a specific personage, to wit, Ravana.
Jean, Balinese carvers of all things tend to give their own interpretation to the form, attributes and characteristics of personages from sources upon which they have to draw. Sometimes these interpretations coincide with the accepted attributes of a known personage, more often they do not. The carvers themselves are not brahmans who have been schooled in religious doctrine, mostly they are sudra, and have only a very limited understanding of what they are interpreting. In addition, they will frequently add and remove features from a piece of work, based not upon any sort of doctrinal correctness, but rather upon personal feeling.

Perhaps the best known, and most easily recognizable example of this trait is the way in which Ganesha is depicted in Bali. In respect of popular art and craft, I have yet to see a Balinese depiction of Ganesha that would be regognised as Ganesha by any Hindu. Mostly when a mainline Hindu sees a Balinese depiction of Ganesha they will say that it is not Ganesha at all, but some other character that they cannot identify. Even the Candi Sukuh stele that is generally accepted as showing Ganesha will not be accepted as Ganesha by a Hindu. They do not understand that a reference to a deity by depiction of a single characteristic is sufficient if understood in context to refer to the complete deity. The deity exists in the other world as a complete being, and in the mind as a complete being, only the suggestion is needed to bring this forth in the mind.

Come closer to home:- the kembang kacang on a keris is a reference to Ganesha, this single feature is sufficient to bring forth the entire presence of Ganesha when accompanied by the mantra, all the kembang kacang does is to center the mind. This Jawa/Bali attitude is a development of the original mainstream attitude where a devotee needs less and less physical reference to a deity as his intensity of devotion increases. The statues of Hindu deities are intended as an aid to the common people, they are not required by a brahman.

Pande Wayan Suteja Neka is very well schooled in Balinese art. In a recent small booklet that he authored --- "Understanding Balinese Keris" --- he was unable to identify a large number of the personages depicted in Balinese keris hilts, he simply gives a description of "a Royal figure", or "a princely figure", or similar. Very general type descriptions, not specific ones.

So Jean, this is a very roundabout way to respond to your question on Ravana. If we wish to know exactly who this figure is, we need to ask the man who carved it. I gave up trying to work who who Balinese carvers and other artisans were trying to depict years ago. In fact, if they've been getting into the magic mushrooms, they probably wouldn't even know themselves who it was they were carving, they had probably left the room and a friendly spirit was using their hands. When they came back, they could well be as puzzled as anybody else in respect of the figure that their hand had produced.

I should add, that as in all things associated with perhaps any culture, but certainly with the cultures and societies of Jawa and Bali, what I have written above has been written with the current era and its recent past in mind. In the distant past, we cannot use this same interpretation.
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Old 4th October 2015, 09:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
So Jean, this is a very roundabout way to respond to your question on Ravana. If we wish to know exactly who this figure is, we need to ask the man who carved it.
Thank you Alan and I fully agree with your conclusion
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Old 7th October 2015, 10:24 PM   #15
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Want to share this little fellow who came to live with us 2 years ago :-)
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Old 8th October 2015, 09:12 PM   #16
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I really like this character (unfortunately it's not mine)
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Old 17th October 2015, 04:29 PM   #17
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As promised I attach the pics of my 3 kris holders:
. The first piece is balinese and made from hard & dense wood, it measures 63 cm high and it may depict Bayu or Bima. The figure has long thumb nails and a full jewelry set. I acquired it in Jakarta in 1995, note the similarity with the "Ravana" holder described in the thesis from Cynthia.
. The second holder is probably Balinese also and it seems to depict a Chinese gentleman. I acquired it in Surabaya in 1996.
. The third holder seems to be javanese and it may depict the Punakawan Bagong identified from his round eyes, big mouth, and short nose. Bagong is also wearing a hair bun, and there is a trace of a hair tuft on top of the head.
Your comments and pics of other kris holders will be welcome.
Regards
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Old 18th October 2015, 03:04 AM   #18
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Why do you think #3 is Javanese Jean?
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Old 18th October 2015, 10:22 AM   #19
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Hello Alan,
From the style of the black sarong & belt and the carving which does not look like the balinese depictions of the punakawans, and it reminds me of some Loryo Blonyo statues from Central Java. Note the slim support also, contrary to the balinese kris holders.
I bought it from a Dutch collector so I have no proven provenance and I am open to another opinion!
Regards
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Old 18th October 2015, 01:11 PM   #20
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Jean, I've never seen a figural keris holder used in Jawa, and the only figural ones from Jawa that I have seen were quite large and in the form of people in Javanese dress --- like that one in post #12.

It is not impossible that this one of yours might be Jawa, but I must ask myself why it is that in over 40 years of doing the rounds in Jawa I've never seen a Jawa figural keris holder that had actually been made for sale in the open market.
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Old 18th October 2015, 05:50 PM   #21
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Hello Alan,
I also do not remember to have seen a kris stand in Java during my visits so this one should be a museum piece!
Its size is about the same as the one shown in post # 12.
Regards
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Old 18th October 2015, 08:17 PM   #22
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I think no.3 is a recent production. I am not sure when duck faces came into vogue but is not very long ago.
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Old 18th October 2015, 09:43 PM   #23
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Ouch, I just found that we already discussed this subject in the thread "Keris holder for comment" started on 23th June 2012 but I forgot it, sorry!
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Old 18th October 2015, 10:15 PM   #24
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You're one up on me Jean, I don't remember previous discussion at all. To be honest, I very, very rarely go back and look at previous threads, it uses too much time, I just treat each thread as a new one, so I've probably repeated myself hundreds of times.
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Old 19th October 2015, 09:57 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
You're one up on me Jean, I don't remember previous discussion at all. To be honest, I very, very rarely go back and look at previous threads, it uses too much time, I just treat each thread as a new one, so I've probably repeated myself hundreds of times.
Hello Alan,
We don't mind that your precious teachings be repeated, and thanks for your dedication to this forum!
Regards
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Old 19th October 2015, 10:09 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
I think no.3 is a recent production. I am not sure when duck faces came into vogue but is not very long ago.
Hello Willem,
A duck with a red bill and a nose?
I agree that the piece is not old but it was used and patinated before I got it, I would estimate that it was made about 20-30 years ago. If anybody has a similar piece to show us, I would be pleased to see it.
Regards
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Old 19th October 2015, 10:58 AM   #27
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Thank you for your compliments Jean, but please don't spread the bumbu too thick.
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Old 19th October 2015, 04:12 PM   #28
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I purchased this Balinese keris holder representing Twalen some 25 years ago from an Italian guy coming back from a voyage in the Far East. I know nothing more
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Old 19th October 2015, 07:36 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO
I purchased this Balinese keris holder representing Twalen some 25 years ago from an Italian guy coming back from a voyage in the Far East. I know nothing more
Hello Gio,
Nice piece, I like it!
Regards
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Old 28th October 2015, 01:15 AM   #30
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i saw this in the net
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