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Old 15th August 2020, 03:08 PM   #1
sirek
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Default keris palembang

I'd like to share some pictures with you from one of my Palembang keris, for your enjoyment / feedback….

A sepokal blade with Pamor: keleng, and a sharply defined ada-ada running full length of the blade.
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Old 15th August 2020, 09:11 PM   #2
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Text book Palembang, however, if we saw this blade alone, by itself only, no dress, what classification (ie, tangguh) would we be forced to give it?
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Old 16th August 2020, 10:46 AM   #3
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Looks like a Balinese blade to my eyes ... But my beginning opinion could surely be wrong hahaha
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Old 16th August 2020, 12:00 PM   #4
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No, not Bali.
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Old 16th August 2020, 12:04 PM   #5
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Not a sepokal blade anyway IMO
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Old 16th August 2020, 12:24 PM   #6
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True Jean, it is not, I'd give it as Sinom Robyong, but the interesting thing is the tannguh that it is not, but in a different suit of clothes, would be.
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Old 16th August 2020, 01:25 PM   #7
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Thank you for the comment, I already understood that a keris from Palembang is not easy for me me to understand , as mentioned in an older post with a similar blade:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...light=palembang

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Palembang is in South Sumatra, it had and has long time political and cultural ties with the House of Mataram in Central Jawa, and was also influenced by Banten. Because of these associations the keris that come from Palembang very often have features that resemble either Banten keris, or Central Jawa keris.
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Old 16th August 2020, 09:01 PM   #8
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Yes, Palembang is difficult.

The tangguh system that I use is the one I was was taught by Mpu Suparman. It addresses major tangguh classifications only. However, minor tangguh classifications can be accepted. The overriding requirement to give any blade as a tangguh classification is that it should be a style that can be regarded as representative of a geographic area or of a period of time, an era.

The problem with Palembang is that keris made in the area of Palembang were made in a number of styles that were copies of styles from other areas and other eras. For Palembang there is no hard-core dedicated style that we can associate only with Palembang. For this reason it is in my opinion impossible to have a "tangguh Palembang", but in recent years dealers in Jakarta, and I guess other places as well, have wanted to describe keris as "tangguh Palembang".

So this keris under discussion could resemble a Banten keris, or a keris from Central Jawa, but Banten keris seem to have a stylistic variation that might prevent classification as "tangguh", and keris from Central Jawa have several different tangguh classifications.

Any ideas about what might be appropriate for this particular keris?
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Old 17th August 2020, 07:57 AM   #9
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The dapur of the blade looks Javanese but it may rather be from Palembang for the following reasons:
. The blade looks rather short, less than 35 cm?
. Pamor keleng
. Shape of the greneng, jenggot, twin lambe gajah, and gonjo (top view).
. The fitting of the blade into the scabbard is so neat that it looks original.
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Old 17th August 2020, 08:01 AM   #10
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Hello Alan,

Well, the square blumbangan points to the Mataram line (including extant offspring substyles). The ron dha are very crisp - most old blades will exhibit worn down and restored greneng.

From the excellent state of preservation, I'd guess that this blade entered a colonial collection right after manufacture; there even seem to be some working scratches left at the base.

I believe that this blade got crafted in Palembang following old Mataram style; if the ri padan were not sharp on the inside curve (difficult to establish from the posted pics - an angled view would help), this would support the notion.

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Old 17th August 2020, 08:23 AM   #11
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Hello Jean,

You beat me to it! Seems we agree pretty much.

Quote:
The dapur of the blade looks Javanese but it may rather be from Palembang for the following reasons:
. The blade looks rather short, less than 35 cm?
. Pamor keleng
. Shape of the greneng, jenggot, twin lambe gajah, and gonjo (top view).
. The fitting of the blade into the scabbard is so neat that it looks original.

Palembang blades of this style can be very small to really large.

Pamor keleng is also not unheard of with keris Jawa that focus on garap; thus, I'd prefer to leave pamor out of the equation.

Yup, most Palembang blades seem to approach gonjo of nyirah cecak style. (Except for those keris Palembang which are obviously Bugis-influenced or based on Sumatran styles, pretty much all prabot details seem to be borrowed from keris Jawa or keris Sunda.)

Yes, the crosspiece fit seems original; however, it could have been crafted for an imported blade, too.

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Kai
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Old 17th August 2020, 08:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
I'd like to share some pictures with you from one of my Palembang keris, for your enjoyment / feedback….

Just to state the obvious: I believe this is a very neat status blade which is also confirmed by the high-quality timber selected for the scabbard crosspiece. (I can't see much of the stem - this may have been covered by a suasa pendok, anyway.)

My guess is that this keris dates back to the early period when the Dutch took over Palembang. However, the hilt and the selut seem to be much younger and of lesser quality. I'd put these in a box and look for a high-quality Palembang hilt to bring this ensemble back to its former glory. Luckily, Palembang hilts are not terribly rare - make sure to find one with a real Palembang selut and of suitable size to the blade though! (I don't recommend trying to upgrade any keris by default; I'm sure this isn't an original ensemble though.)

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th August 2020, 12:13 PM   #13
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Jean & Kai, I do find your comments interesting, but I do not wish to float my own general comments.

This is in my opinion a keris ( I am speaking of the keris itself, not the keris + dress) from which more than a little might be learnt.

Are either of you prepared to nominate a classification, ie, tangguh, for this keris?
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Old 17th August 2020, 12:24 PM   #14
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Sirek, what is the length of the bade (excluding the pesi) please?
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Old 17th August 2020, 03:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Sirek, what is the length of the bade (excluding the pesi) please?

Hi Jean, the length of the blade is 34cm
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Old 17th August 2020, 04:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Alan,

Well, the square blumbangan points to the Mataram line (including extant offspring substyles). The ron dha are very crisp - most old blades will exhibit worn down and restored greneng.

From the excellent state of preservation, I'd guess that this blade entered a colonial collection right after manufacture; there even seem to be some working scratches left at the base.

I believe that this blade got crafted in Palembang following old Mataram style; if the ri padan were not sharp on the inside curve (difficult to establish from the posted pics - an angled view would help), this would support the notion.

Regards,
Kai


Hello Kai, are these pictures any help?

(and you are absolutely right, the hilt and the selut are of inferior quality and will definitely be replaced in the future )
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Old 17th August 2020, 05:25 PM   #17
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Hello Sirek,

Yes, this confirms my suggestion that this blade most likely got crafted in Palembang (this feature seems to be restricted to blades from southern Sumatra (and, possibly, Sunda).

Thus, we may have a legitimate reason to assign this blade to "tangguh" Palembang/Lampung even if these blades happen to copy several other styles/eras.

I'll try to answer Alan's question which I understand to ask this: "If we were considering this blade as originating from the land of Jawa, which of the major tangguh can it be attributed to?"

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th August 2020, 06:45 PM   #18
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My impression is similar to Kai's that the blade is more probably from Palembang origin than from Central Java, so the tangguh identification may not be relevant? I am excluding the tangguh kamardikan as the blade does not look very recent.
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Old 17th August 2020, 09:24 PM   #19
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Hello Alan,

Ok, let's assume for this mental exercise that this blade really was from the land of Jawa...

We're only looking at the major classifications and being Jawa-centristic pretty much ignore any peripheral origins...

I already stated that the blade clearly is from the Mataram line.

While the garap and some of the prabot may be a tad stiff (lambe gajah, gandik, etc.) and the greneng not cut to perfection, it might still be old Mataram; I'm just trying to imagine 2 centuries of maintenance by acid washing and just about all of these detractions will be pretty much gone for good or restored to current tastes!

The elephant trunk seems to have quite a bit of substance and will tend to loose less material from erosion; however, by modern standards it could be a bit heavier to begin with. This, coupled with a slight slant of the gandik, would make me to also consider Madura Sepuh. If this was an old survivor from any European kunstkammer, I'd need a lot more time for detailed comparisons. Given a more realistic timeframe of about 200 years, I'd be inclined to opt for the old Madura classification.


So, to wrap things up: Do we have a Madurese craftsman living in Palembang and trying to copy old Mataram style?

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Kai
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Old 17th August 2020, 09:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
the length of the blade is 34cm

Sorry, some nit-picking: If really measured from gonjo (at the center of the pesi) to the tip of the blade, it will be in the range of 330-335mm - pretty much average if there is any such thing with Palembang blades.

As mentioned, this doesn't mean much: I've handled Palembang blades of this dhapur from close to 200mm (8") to well over 400mm (16")!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th August 2020, 09:49 PM   #21
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Just adding pics in standard orientation:
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Old 17th August 2020, 11:29 PM   #22
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I think I need to clarify exactly what I mean when I use the word "Tangguh".

Firstly, when I use the word "Tangguh" I am using it in the way that my teachers used it, and that means that it does not mean that just because a keris has been made in a particular place, or during a particular era, that automatically confers upon it the right to use the place where it was made, or the era during which it was made as its "Tangguh".

As an example:- I have made a number of keris myself, I have made a couple in styles other than the Surakarta style, but the only keris I made under Empu Suparman's direction was made in Surakarta style, and most others I have made have been made in Surakarta style too.
Several of these keris have been made in Australia, but does that mean that these keris are "Tangguh Old Toongabbie"? Old Toongabbie, a suburb of Sydney, being exactly where they were made.

No, it does not. These keris are Tangguh Surakarta because they are stylistically Surakarta.

In olden times the style of a keris usually indicated where it was made, so when we affix a Tangguh that relates to a particular geographic location we are basing that affixation of location upon style.

Within the Tangguh system that I was taught, there is room for classifications other than Javanese classifications, in the notebook that records my original instruction I can find Madura, Kupang, Bali, Bugis. If I take this a little further, what I find is that Tangguh Kupang actually does not refer to Kupang at all, it refers to keris that came from the islands to the east of Bali, the people who began to use "Tangguh Kupang" knew that these keris came from East of Bali, they knew Kupang was to the east of Bali, so these "East of Bali" keris got named as "Tangguh Kupang".

Then we have "Tangguh Bugis", and the basis for that Tangguh is the keris that is stylistically Bugis, it does not matter where it was made, what matters is its style.

Same with Madura, if a keris has the stylistic attributes of a keris that is KNOWN to have been made in Madura, that keris is Tangguh Madura, even though it may have been made in Malang, on the mainland of Jawa.

One keris that I made was made in the Surakarta style, but with a Balinese level of craftsmanship and finish. Several ahli keris from Solo commented on it in almost the same words:_"This is a Surakarta keris, but it was made in Bali" actually it was made in Australia, but when I gave it to these men for comment I did not initially tell them that I had made it.

Tangguh is NOT the keris equivalent of "Made in China", or "Made in USA".

Tangguh is an opinion of a keris classification that may or may not TRULY relate to the place where the keris was made, or the era from which it came, and it is based upon the style of the keris.

For example, Tangguh Pengging is often given as "Tangguh Pengging Witaradya(Witorodyo)".

Pengging is a real location, it is near Solo airport in the present day district of Banudono and during late Majapahit it was a small administrative area, probably about equivalent to a kabupaten these days. However Pengging Witaradya or Wikaradya is purely mythical and is probably placed in 9th century Central Jawa.

Tangguh is an opinion that is part of a belief system and to understand what it does mean, might mean and can mean we need to be able to think about the concept of tangguh in a Javanese way.

Now, Kai has decided that my original question relating to tangguh was not phrased sufficiently clearly and he has decided to rephrase it in a form that he feels is more correct. Regrettably Kai was unable to understand my question, which was:-

" --- if we saw this blade alone, by itself only, no dress, what classification (ie, tangguh) would we be forced to give it?"

In the above text I have done my best to try to explain what the concept of "tangguh" is and how we need to consider and apply it.

Anybody feel like answering my question?
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Old 18th August 2020, 07:31 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Just adding pics in standard orientation:


I have impression that tangguh is towards Jawa. Sorry for my poor knowledge. Is gut feel.
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Old 18th August 2020, 08:39 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony G.
I have impression that tangguh is towards Jawa. Sorry for my poor knowledge. Is gut feel.


My guess-timate is tangguh Lombok/Sumbawa, but my knowledge is surely worse than yours.....
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Old 18th August 2020, 09:18 AM   #25
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One complex world indeed.

tangguh Surakarta for what my 10 cents is worth.... although, and I write this without any real classification working knowledge, just a "stab" in the dark so to speak.... I'd say compared to the example presented, the Surakarta are with a subtle narrowing in the middle where as this example seems to taper more over its whole length.... but its as good as my references and working knowledge go...

Gavin
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Old 18th August 2020, 12:38 PM   #26
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Well Gavin, you're not bad.

Got no kewpie dolls to hand out, but for a non-keris sort of bloke that's a real good ten cents worth.

Yes, Surakarta.

If we were to work through the indicators one by one we would see that it agrees very heavily with Surakarta. The only questionable indicator is the blumbangan. Kai tells us it is square, but on my monitor it is just marginally elongated. Camera angles and monitors can distort the exact proportions, and it is not the classic long narrow blumbangan that is typically Surakarta.

But putting that blumbangan to one side, everything else is there, however, it is there in what I would call a "comic book" rendition, as if the maker has heard all about what the Surakarta blade looks like, but maybe is not very familiar with them in his hand.

For a Surakarta blade, I could not consider this blade to be high quality work, there is too much variation in the ron dha sections of the greneng. These ron dha are definitely Surakarta and are primary indicators, once we see this ron dha form we then begin to look for something that will tell us that the keris cannot be Surakarta, something that will without argument eliminate Surakarta. In this keris there is no negative indicator that will positively eliminate Surakarta.

The variation that is very obvious in the ron dha sections possibly indicates that there will be considerable variation in placement and execution of the features on opposite faces of the blade. High quality workmanship demands that the features perfectly echo each other on each blade face. Perfect means exactly that:- perfect. Almost perfect is not good enough in this case.

I believe this keris was made in Sumatera, but that does not make it Tangguh Palembang or Tangguh Jambi. However, the entire ensemble is a very nice example of a Palembang keris.

If it were mine I would not change a thing on it, everything hangs together nicely exactly as it is.

There are solid cultural reasons, apart from personal preferences, why men choose to wear humble clothing and non-ostentatious accoutrements, and when such a nice example as this comes our way it is perhaps a little arrogant of somebody who is not a part of the originating culture to take it upon himself to override the taste of the previous owner.

This thread might be of interest:-

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=GINJEI

Gavin, your comments on the overall form of the blade are quite perceptive, a Surakarta blade should ideally have a defined "chest" on the front edge, and on the back edge and placed a little lower, more towards the gonjo, there should be a defined swelling that is the "back". It is not so much a narrowing in the centre but a swelling that protrudes beyond the line of the edge, front higher, back lower.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 18th August 2020 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 18th August 2020, 02:25 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Well Gavin, you're not bad.

Got no kewpie dolls to hand out, but for a non-keris sort of bloke that's a real good ten cents worth.

Yes, Surakarta.

If we were to work through the indicators one by one we would see that it agrees very heavily with Surakarta. The only questionable indicator is the blumbangan. Kai tells us it is square, but on my monitor it is just marginally elongated. Camera angles and monitors can distort the exact proportions, and it is not the classic long narrow blumbangan that is typically Surakarta.

But putting that blumbangan to one side, everything else is there, however, it is there in what I would call a "comic book" rendition, as if the maker has heard all about what the Surakarta blade looks like, but maybe is not very familiar with them in his hand.

For a Surakarta blade, I could not consider this blade to be high quality work, there is too much variation in the ron dha sections of the greneng. These ron dha are definitely Surakarta and are primary indicators, once we see this ron dha form we then begin to look for something that will tell us that the keris cannot be Surakarta, something that will without argument eliminate Surakarta. In this keris there is no negative indicator that will positively eliminate Surakarta.

The variation that is very obvious in the ron dha sections possibly indicates that there will be considerable variation in placement and execution of the features on opposite faces of the blade. High quality workmanship demands that the features perfectly echo each other on each blade face. Perfect means exactly that:- perfect. Almost perfect is not good enough in this case.

I believe this keris was made in Sumatera, but that does not make it Tangguh Palembang or Tangguh Jambi. However, the entire ensemble is a very nice example of a Palembang keris.

If it were mine I would not change a thing on it, everything hangs together nicely exactly as it is.

There are solid cultural reasons, apart from personal preferences, why men choose to wear humble clothing and non-ostentatious accoutrements, and when such a nice example as this comes our way it is perhaps a little arrogant of somebody who is not a part of the originating culture to take it upon himself to override the taste of the previous owner.

This thread might be of interest:-

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=GINJEI

Gavin, your comments on the overall form of the blade are quite perceptive, a Surakarta blade should ideally have a defined "chest" on the front edge, and on the back edge and placed a little lower, more towards the gonjo, there should be a defined swelling that is the "back". It is not so much a narrowing in the centre but a swelling that protrudes beyond the line of the edge, front higher, back lower.


Awesome Gavin. Thanks Alan for sharing..........
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Old 18th August 2020, 02:55 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I think I need to clarify exactly what I mean when I use the word "Tangguh".

Firstly, when I use the word "Tangguh" I am using it in the way that my teachers used it, and that means that it does not mean that just because a keris has been made in a particular place, or during a particular era, that automatically confers upon it the right to use the place where it was made, or the era during which it was made as its "Tangguh".

As an example:- I have made a number of keris myself, I have made a couple in styles other than the Surakarta style, but the only keris I made under Empu Suparman's direction was made in Surakarta style, and most others I have made have been made in Surakarta style too.
Several of these keris have been made in Australia, but does that mean that these keris are "Tangguh Old Toongabbie"? Old Toongabbie, a suburb of Sydney, being exactly where they were made.

No, it does not. These keris are Tangguh Surakarta because they are stylistically Surakarta.

In olden times the style of a keris usually indicated where it was made, so when we affix a Tangguh that relates to a particular geographic location we are basing that affixation of location upon style.

Within the Tangguh system that I was taught, there is room for classifications other than Javanese classifications, in the notebook that records my original instruction I can find Madura, Kupang, Bali, Bugis. If I take this a little further, what I find is that Tangguh Kupang actually does not refer to Kupang at all, it refers to keris that came from the islands to the east of Bali, the people who began to use "Tangguh Kupang" knew that these keris came from East of Bali, they knew Kupang was to the east of Bali, so these "East of Bali" keris got named as "Tangguh Kupang".

Then we have "Tangguh Bugis", and the basis for that Tangguh is the keris that is stylistically Bugis, it does not matter where it was made, what matters is its style.

Same with Madura, if a keris has the stylistic attributes of a keris that is KNOWN to have been made in Madura, that keris is Tangguh Madura, even though it may have been made in Malang, on the mainland of Jawa.

One keris that I made was made in the Surakarta style, but with a Balinese level of craftsmanship and finish. Several ahli keris from Solo commented on it in almost the same words:_"This is a Surakarta keris, but it was made in Bali" actually it was made in Australia, but when I gave it to these men for comment I did not initially tell them that I had made it.

Tangguh is NOT the keris equivalent of "Made in China", or "Made in USA".

Tangguh is an opinion of a keris classification that may or may not TRULY relate to the place where the keris was made, or the era from which it came, and it is based upon the style of the keris.

For example, Tangguh Pengging is often given as "Tangguh Pengging Witaradya(Witorodyo)".

Pengging is a real location, it is near Solo airport in the present day district of Banudono and during late Majapahit it was a small administrative area, probably about equivalent to a kabupaten these days. However Pengging Witaradya or Wikaradya is purely mythical and is probably placed in 9th century Central Jawa.

Tangguh is an opinion that is part of a belief system and to understand what it does mean, might mean and can mean we need to be able to think about the concept of tangguh in a Javanese way.

Now, Kai has decided that my original question relating to tangguh was not phrased sufficiently clearly and he has decided to rephrase it in a form that he feels is more correct. Regrettably Kai was unable to understand my question, which was:-

" --- if we saw this blade alone, by itself only, no dress, what classification (ie, tangguh) would we be forced to give it?"

In the above text I have done my best to try to explain what the concept of "tangguh" is and how we need to consider and apply it.

Anybody feel like answering my question?

Thanks Alan. This isn't new to me as you have described this many times in the past. But this approach to tangguh is one that seems to be consistently ignored these days. You have laid this out rather concisely and clearly here i believe.
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Old 19th August 2020, 02:46 PM   #29
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Thank you all for the informative contribution!
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Old 19th August 2020, 09:47 PM   #30
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Hi Alan
you mention
Quote:
The variation that is very obvious in the ron dha sections possibly indicates that there will be considerable variation in placement and execution of the features on opposite faces of the blade. High quality workmanship demands that the features perfectly echo each other on each blade face. Perfect means exactly that:- perfect. Almost perfect is not good enough in this case

Am I right in thinking you mean if you flip the blade over the ron dha section should look exactly the same, effectively that would mean that the cuts are exactly level with no taper or tilt OR are you contrasting the right hand side with the left hand side
thanks
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