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Old 8th May 2008, 09:23 PM   #1
Bill M
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Default Strange Sumatran/Moro keris? kris? dagger? with a Dutch blade?

One of the things I like about Moro kris is the incredible diversity of styles. Dramatically different pieces, extremely personal to whomever had them made, then later embellished the weapons as different owners made them more "personal."

BUT

This has GOT to be one of the most unique, one-of-a-kind I have ever seen.

The blade has been identified as a Dutch VOC Rotterdam. Sandwich welded in place.

Very well made and solid. Age patina indicates it has been together for a long time.

Overall length - 48 cm or 19"
Blade width - 2.4 cm or 7/8"
blade length - 35 cm or 13 3/4"
Thickness of blade at handle - 1.4 cm or 1/2"
Handle length - 11 cm or 4 3/8"
Width at ganga - 7 cm or 2 1/2"

Your opinion?
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Last edited by Bill Marsh : 9th May 2008 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 8th May 2008, 09:24 PM   #2
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Ok, here is where it gets unusual!

Note size next to a more "common Moro kris"
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Old 8th May 2008, 09:37 PM   #3
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Congratulations Bill on a rare find!
That's a really strange combo of 3 different sword styles.
Which of course makes it very interesting.
Based on the sorsoran, handle and sheath I would guess Peninsular Malaysia?

Michael
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Old 8th May 2008, 10:00 PM   #4
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Bill

That is an interesting kris. Seems like the base comes from a broken Sumatran panjang keris with this top part of the blade being that of a European blade?


Lew
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Old 9th May 2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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I saw this Kris last month. It's a beauty. The seller thought it was Moro. It looked Indo/Malaysian to me. Congrats on a good acquisition.
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Old 9th May 2008, 12:34 AM   #6
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Congratulation for having one very rare keris. Very strong peninsular Malaysia influence. As VVV mentioned, it has a close resemblance of Sumatran keris panjang/anak alang or bahari at the sosoran and greneng (base) and no kembang kacang. Could it suggest a 'kapit' blade ??? fusing 2 pieces of blade metal??? Very interesting.
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Old 9th May 2008, 02:00 AM   #7
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Thanks for the compliments!

I wonder about the hole through the blade? Just below the VOC. Could this be the hilt of the original blade where a rivet or some attachment pin came though?
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Old 9th May 2008, 02:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Marsh
Thanks for the compliments!

I wonder about the hole through the blade? Just below the VOC. Could this be the hilt of the original blade where a rivet or some attachment pin came though?


Bill

I'm afraid the hole may have been drilled into the blade for mounting and display purposes I have an old African sword with a hole in the blade and hilt where some previous owner used it to mount on a wall.

Still a very nice kris Congrats.

Lew
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Old 9th May 2008, 02:04 PM   #9
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Lew,

This is certainly a possibility and I have seen pieces with holes made for hanging the piece on a wall.

However I am curious about the possibility of it being a rivet hole. I am not familiar with VOC blades, so I would like to pose a few questions for those people who have studied them.

How far from the VOC marking is the hilt, usually?

Is it near the hilt or further up the blade? In some swords, like kaskaras, the markings (crescents) are a distance from the handle.

Most others have them near the handle. This is why I am suggesting that the blade and tang could a major part of the blade we see here.

Why are there numbers and a difference in the blade showing a fuller-like depression below the hole?

This could also indicate the numbered part with the "fuller-like depression is part of the original tang, enclosed by a handle, and is now part of the blade.

No big deal either way. I am just curious.
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Old 9th May 2008, 03:49 PM   #10
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Congrats Bill !
These pictures are better than the ones you had before.

Also nice to see the size next to a normal sized Moro keris.

The makers of this keris picked only a very small piece of a VOC blade.
VOC swords where not very big/heavy but certainly bigger that what remains within this hybrid keris.

Normally VOC markings are not placed under the tang. So This hole is not a original hole for attaching the hilt.

By the way, this reminds me of a thread by Antonio Cejunior, where he introduced a contemperary Moro / Tanto hybrid knife.
Some forumites where pretty nasty on his creation.

In this case the maker of this odd Sumatra / Moro / VOC mix is not amongst us. That must be the reason of absent criticism. not ?
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Old 9th May 2008, 04:21 PM   #11
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Nothing to add.
Just: COOL.
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Old 9th May 2008, 05:11 PM   #12
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Hey Bill, Thanks for showing us yet another fantastic and unusal blade. You really must have me over sometime for tea (which i will unobtrusively slip a very strong sleeping preparation into ).
hmmm....did i just think that or did i actually say it out loud?
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Old 9th May 2008, 07:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
The makers of this keris picked only a very small piece of a VOC blade.VOC swords where not very big/heavy but certainly bigger that what remains within this hybrid keris.

Normally VOC markings are not placed under the tang. So This hole is not a original hole for attaching the hilt.


I think that I need to make a picture of what I am asking to better clarify my question.

I am not suggesting the VOC marking was underneath the hilt, but that it was adjacent to, but just above the hilt. In this case the hilt would have covered the hole while also covering the numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
By the way, this reminds me of a thread by Antonio Cejunior, where he introduced a contemporary Moro / Tanto hybrid knife.
Some forumites where pretty nasty on his creation.


Antonio makes some beautiful art. Enough said. And, I like him and his passion for art.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
In this case the maker of this odd Sumatra / Moro / VOC mix is not amongst us. That must be the reason of absent criticism. not ?



Well, you know he may be lurking somewhere, ready to spring from some darkened niche! Dressed as a Sumatran/Moro, yelling in Dutch!


And thanks David. Two ferocious dogs and a lion guard this!

I am suggesting that the blade started off as either a dagger, or the blade was broken off and a tip reground.

OK I have tried to be more explicit. See picture below where I have (crudely) drawn a black hilt on this (leaving a space to show the location of the hole). Maybe, just maybe, it could have had a rivet????



Does anyone have any idea about what was the blade configuration before this was made?
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Last edited by Bill Marsh : 9th May 2008 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 9th May 2008, 10:23 PM   #14
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Bill: Albert an I did see this blade at the Eugine Knife Show. Congratulations on a great find. This is the kind of thing that comes along sometimes once in a collecters liftime. I was going to buy it until i found out the price. I thought it was a little steep so i passed. Kinda sorry i did. Oh well........at least its still in the "family"............Dave.
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Old 9th May 2008, 10:23 PM   #15
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Hello Bill,

Congrats again - this is really a unique combo! While the VOC blade got recycelt, I'd guess that the bahari-like gonjo as well as the Malay keris sundang hilt were crafted for this piece.

The numbers visible on your kris are the last 2 digits of the year - if you ever get access to a specialized lab, I'm fairly confident that the hidden century (1?46) can be revealed!

Actually, the markings of VOC blades are not close to the hilt - the hole is certainly not original to the European blade; I also see no reason for a keris/kris to have this hole. I don't think this is much of a distraction - pieces of history tend to be not in mint condition...

Here's a recent thread showing 2 badik with recycled VOC blades:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6291

I'm attaching the relevant blade pics below:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...achmentid=29040
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...achmentid=29039
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...achmentid=29062

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th May 2008, 10:33 PM   #16
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2nd try...

(Pics courtesy of Alan and Dominique.)
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Old 10th May 2008, 01:12 AM   #17
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Thank you DaveS and Kai. Phillip Tom also saw it.

Dave, in the unlikely event I ever let it go, I will let you know first.

Especially thanks to Kai for the explanation of the VOC markings on the blade. I really have no problem with the hole in the blade, just curiosity.

If only these pieces could talk! What stories!

Kai, what kind of specialized lab would find the missing digit?
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Old 10th May 2008, 08:11 AM   #18
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Quote:
Well, you know he may be lurking somewhere, ready to spring from some darkened niche! Dressed as a Sumatran/Moro, yelling in Dutch!


Well Bill,

I like tribal art and tribal weapons because every object is different and indeed it makes one curious for the past of an object.

In that aspect this is one of the most interesting pieces i have ever seen.

Once more congrats !

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 10th May 2008, 04:42 PM   #19
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Yes this is a fascinating puppy - almost got it when I saw here in Louisville....
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Old 10th May 2008, 05:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Yes this is a fascinating puppy - almost got it when I saw here in Louisville....




GOD! This piece has gotten around more than my ex-wife!!

But thanks, all. It is an interesting piece. Should I go hang it on a nail?
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Old 10th May 2008, 06:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Well Bill,

I like tribal art and tribal weapons because every object is different and indeed it makes one curious for the past of an object.

In that aspect this is one of the most interesting pieces i have ever seen.

Once more congrats !

Best regards,
Willem



Thanks, Willem,

I have two Batak swords I'll be posting soon. I bet that you like at least ONE of them also!
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Old 10th May 2008, 08:40 PM   #22
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Hello Bill,

Quote:
Should I go hang it on a nail?

Better use a screw with one of those weird heads - that will help more than the lion to keep it in place...

I'm not sure what would be the best approach to reveal the missing digit which is hidden below the forge weld. There are ways to examine wether a steel has hidden flaws and some of these should also work for this task. (I'm assuming that remnants of that digit are still present since the welding seems to be less than perfect which should make this fairly easy in the hands of an expert.)

BTW, the most likely date is 1746. It also could be 1646 but that would be pretty early, indeed. (In the 18th century there were a lot more VOC blades in circulation than in the 17th c.)

I also like those Batak blades - keep them coming!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th May 2008, 01:13 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Marsh
GOD! This piece has gotten around more than my ex-wife!!

You know Bill, come to think of it.......
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Old 11th May 2008, 08:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
By the way, this reminds me of a thread by Antonio Cejunior, where he introduced a contemperary Moro / Tanto hybrid knife.
Some forumites where pretty nasty on his creation.
In this case the maker of this odd Sumatra / Moro / VOC mix is not amongst us. That must be the reason of absent criticism. not ?

I actually see a great deal of difference between Antonio's hybrid knife and this piece. I don't feel that it was the makers intention here to create a hybrid mixing of cultural currents. He was merely making due, for what ever reason, with materials at hand to create a blade that is for all intensive purposes a traditional kris/keris. He may have used the VOC blade because it was taken from an enemy, because he lacked a good source of iron, because .... well, fill in the blank as you wish, we will never actually know. Even so, Dutch and Indonesian cultures where brought together, for better or for worse and it was inevitable that there would be some sharing of form and ideas. Take a look at the European motifs that were adopted by the Madurese in some of their hilt forms for just one example.
My complaint about Antonio's creation is that it brought together two entirely different cultural forms for no apparent reason. There was no historical logic to it for me. And for the record i don't believe that i or any of the other forumites who didn't care for this arbitrary hybrid expressed that in a "nasty" way. We just didn't care for it while a good number of others did seem to like it. We are all free to express such opinions here i believe. That the creator of Bill's kris is long dead has no issue for me. It seems to me to be a true expression of a historical mixing of cultures created in an acceptable (for me) traditional manner to serve as an authentic ethnographic weapon.
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Old 11th May 2008, 08:36 PM   #25
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Bill

I have a keris in my collection that has weld in the center of the blade. There is a weld just to left of that blackened patch.The half to the left of the weld has no trace of pamor but to the right I can see a pattern. Will try and get a clearer pic to post. I remember a story about some of the Malay or Indonesian smiths that were forging keris and tombak from harder steel minus the pamor it made the steel tougher and was able to defeat the body armor that the Dutch were using at the time? Anyone here of this lore besides me?

Btw when I draw this keris from it's scabbard it produces a lovely ringing tone like a tuning fork .

Lew
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Old 11th May 2008, 10:24 PM   #26
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The more I look at this piece the more I see a very strange Sumatran keris masquerading as a Moro piece .

If we removed the handle and blade stirrup what would we have ?

I'd love to know where this composite blade was forged .

Bill, do we have a blade length ?
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Old 11th May 2008, 10:59 PM   #27
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Hello Rick,

Quote:
The more I look at this piece the more I see a very strange Sumatran keris masquerading as a Moro piece .

Nobody here suggested it to be a Moro piece (and I doubt the seller would care to distinguish between a Malay keris sundang and a Moro kris even if this were a full-sized blade!).


Quote:
If we removed the handle and blade stirrup what would we have ?

The scabbard as well as the sorsoran could as well be from the Malay Peninsula AFAIK; the VOC blade does suggest a Sumatran origin though.

Quote:
I'd love to know where this composite blade was forged .

Me too!


Quote:
Bill, do we have a blade length ?

Overall length - 48 cm or 19"
Blade width - 2.4 cm or 7/8"
blade length - 35 cm or 13 3/4"
Thickness of blade at handle - 1.4 cm or 1/2"
Handle length - 11 cm or 4 3/8"
Width at ganga - 7 cm or 2 1/2"

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th May 2008, 11:48 PM   #28
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Hello Kai

This really strikes me as the anak alang* type of blade seen in Sumatra .
I'm not seeing much to suggest this is a peninsular blade .

Maybe I should move this thread to the warung .

Rick

*
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Old 12th May 2008, 06:13 AM   #29
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Hello Rick,

Quote:
This really strikes me as the anak alang* type of blade seen in Sumatra .
I'm not seeing much to suggest this is a peninsular blade .

These are also found on the peninsula. There seem to be minor stylistic differences but I'm not positive that Bill's blade is specifically peninsulan.

BTW, nice blade, Rick!


Quote:
Maybe I should move this thread to the warung .

I was never a fan of separating keris sundang from their cousins - seems like this piece makes an especially good case for moving all keris/kris threads to the Keris Warung Kopi...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 12th May 2008, 07:39 AM   #30
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A difference between Rick's Sumatran blade and Bill's is the characteristic "C" close to the gandik.

Michael
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