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Old 13th August 2019, 12:11 PM   #1
jagabuwana
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Default Keris luk 9 - inviting comments

I won this in an auction very recently. It wasn't my first pick but through my other preferences which I did not win, I learned that I had painfully expensive taste. I suppose this is a good sign for my keris journey, thanks to you lot who have corrupted me

Anyway, I quite liked this one and unlike my other picks it ended up falling within my comparatively modest budget. The other keris with luk that I have is Balinese and I was looking for a Javanese one to add to my small collection.

Among what I like about it is the atasan which has some nice chatoyancy going on and it appeared to me to be good work as far as the form and carving goes. The greneng in particular was quite pleasing to me. It feels quite heavy and solid in the hand.

Would love some more commentary on what you see, especially an ID on the dhapur and pamor.
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Old 13th August 2019, 11:09 PM   #2
A. G. Maisey
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Nice quality, recent, the blade is upper level Kemardikan.

The wrongko is bespoke, it was carved by the tukang wrongko Agus Irianto of Nusukan (Nusu'an) about 30 years ago.This is a very good wrongko, at that time in Solo there was nobody better than Agus, he was a master from a long line of m'ranggis.The wood used is not a Javanese wood, it is imported into Indonesia I do not know what it is.

The selut does not belong, get rid of it, the jejeran looks as if it is tayuman baru and was probably carved by Tejo of Boyolali, if not Tejo, then Wakidjo of Jagalan, you can test if it is tayuman baru by seeing if it sinks or floats in water --- just very quickly in & out, don't let it sit in the water, and dry thoroughly immediately you take it out. Tayuman baru will sink. A light hand rub with a few drops of furniture oil until dry then polish with a soft cloth. Work over the cecekan with a soft toothbrush. The mendak is good middle quality pasar, brass with a gold wash.

The pendok is not bespoke, it is upper level pasar, brass, gold plated and lacquer over the gold plate, do not ever try to clean this with any sort chemical, just a wipe over from time to time with a damp cloth, then soft cloth dry.

The gambar is best maintained with a furniture oil, I use O-Cedar or Sheraton, I would give it this oil weekly for a few weeks, then leave it for perhaps two weeks, and wax it with a good quality furniture wax, I use Antiquax.

The blade should be demounted from the hilt, and sprayed with WD40 daily for a week or so, just spray it, and let it drain off then spray again the following day. Then wash it with dishwash detergent under running warm water, use a soft toothbrush, dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth and hairdryer, spray with WD40 again and let it dry, then paint it with fragrant keris oil (NOT coconut oil based) place into a plastic sleeve and store it out of direct light.

Dhapur is Balebang, pamor can be given as several, in Solo, in the trade, it would normally be given as ganggeng kanyut.

You did well with this keris Jaga.
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Old 14th August 2019, 09:01 AM   #3
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According to the book "Keris Jawa" or the EK, dapur Balebang includes 7 waves (or possibly 5 according to the EK). As this blade has 9 waves I would rather identify its dapur type as Sempana Robyong (greneng above the kembang kacang). Dapur Balebang also includes a twin sogokan unlike this blade.
Regards

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Old 14th August 2019, 09:02 AM   #4
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Fascinated by your appraisal and very grateful for the tips, Alan - thank you! Happy to hear that I've picked up a good piece.

Yes the selut is probably what I'm least partial to in this whole arrangement. I feel that it's quite distracting. I'm inclined to remove it as you suggest. I'm also not mad about this pendok, though it seems to work. I may consider swapping it out.

I have a question which I hope isn't too broad. What is it about this wrongko that tells you it's made by Agus Irianto, or the jejeran by either Tejo or Wakidjo? Is this a case where you're so familiar with their work that you simply know it when you see it, or are there signatures or particularities in the end-product that you can attribute to them that we might be able to pick out?
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Old 14th August 2019, 09:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
According to the book "Keris Jawa" or the EK, dapur Balebang includes 7 waves (or possibly 5 according to the EK). As this blade has 9 waves I would rather identify its dapur type as Sempana Robyong (greneng above the kembang kacang). Dapur Balebang also icludes a twin sogokan unlike this blade.
Regards


Thank you, Jean. What is “the EK” that you refer to?
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Old 14th August 2019, 09:53 AM   #6
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Jaga, I sold this keris to the gentleman who had owned the collection that was auctioned last Sunday. In fact many of the S.E.Asian items in this collection had come from me.

I am not working from a blank canvas here, I know exactly what I'm looking at, I know all the craftsmen involved, Agus Irianto I knew for around 15 years, he was a friend of Empu Suparman, as his father was also. In the early 1990's he went to work for Tommy Suharto.

It would be a very bad idea to "swap out" the pendok. This keris is perfect and beautiful as is --- after you get rid of that garbage level selut. The pendok may be pasar quality, but it is very good pasar quality, you will not get one of equal quality in a pasar these days, to get anything better you will need to go to a bespoke one from a Solo craftsman, and for brass that will cost you around as much as this entire keris cost you. Additionally, this is good quality gold plate, to get quality as good as this now is impossible in Solo, you would need to get it plated in Sydney, and again, you'd be looking at a cost greater than the cost to you of this keris. You have something very nice and very good. Leave it alone and just look after what you have.

Jean, please see page 60 of the Surakarta Pakem. Balebang has two legitimate forms in the Surakarta Pakem, luk 7, luk 9.

There is something else too that we must not forget Jean:- dhapur, pamor, and just about everything else about the keris is not graven in stone, what one considers to be so is only correct in one specific dimension. The dimension I choose to use is Surakarta/Solo. I use this for a number of reasons, it is the senior branch of the House of Mataram, most of what I have learnt about keris has come from Solo, in a slip-sliding world of illogical, unfounded keris opinions, at least Surakarta/Solo stays consistently illogical, it does not change when the wind blows from a different direction.

Haryo Haryoguritno (Alm.) wrote a book, true, it is probably the best reference for Javanese keris that we have, but it is very, very far far from perfect. Never forget that Haryoguritno was a collector of information as well as keris, he collected from many people, but his world was the world of the collector, not the world of the dealer.

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Old 14th August 2019, 10:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagabuwana
I won this in an auction very recently. It wasn't my first pick but through my other preferences which I did not win, I learned that I had painfully expensive taste. I suppose this is a good sign for my keris journey, thanks to you lot who have corrupted me

Anyway, I quite liked this one and unlike my other picks it ended up falling within my comparatively modest budget. The other keris with luk that I have is Balinese and I was looking for a Javanese one to add to my small collection.

Among what I like about it is the atasan which has some nice chatoyancy going on and it appeared to me to be good work as far as the form and carving goes. The greneng in particular was quite pleasing to me. It feels quite heavy and solid in the hand.

Would love some more commentary on what you see, especially an ID on the dhapur and pamor.



What a beautiful keris. I am green with envy.
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Old 14th August 2019, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, please see page 60 of the Surakarta Pakem. Balebang has two legitimate forms in the Surakarta Pakem, luk 7, luk 9.

There is something else too that we must not forget Jean:- dhapur, pamor, and just about everything else about the keris is not graven in stone, what one considers to be so is only correct in one specific dimension. The dimension I choose to use is Surakarta/Solo. I use this for a number of reasons, it is the senior branch of the House of Mataram, most of what I have learnt about keris has come from Solo, in a slip-sliding world of illogical, unfounded keris opinions, at least Surakarta/Solo stays consistently illogical, it does not change when the wind blows from a different direction.


You are correct Alan but the dapur Balebang shown on page 60 of the book "Dhapur" is quite different from the blade in question IMO, especially it includes a sogokan, twin lambe gajah, and kruwingan. As this blade was recently made it is not too surprising that it does not follow the standard pakem.
Jaga, by "EK" I am referring to the Ensiklopedi Keris written by the late Bambang Harsrinuskmo.
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Old 14th August 2019, 10:03 PM   #9
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Jean, I do not have the book you mention, but it would make no difference if did, I always try, insofar as possible to follow the Surakarta line.

If you care to go through the Surakarta Pakem and match the various forms and the names given these forms, to common belief, you will find that more than one Surakarta dhapur varies from common belief. Does this mean that the Surakarta Pakem is often wrong, or does it mean that other people and other writers are often wrong?

Actually, it means neither. Surakarta is always right, within its dimension.

All the others are also right, within their individual dimensions.

With the keris there are very few absolute rights & wrongs.

This is particularly so when we get to playing with names and that is a foundation stone of my personal philosophy that the names of things are unimportant, that which is important is the understanding, but very few people seem to be prepared tom devote the time necessary to grasp an understanding of the keris.
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Old 15th August 2019, 12:20 AM   #10
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Jean, Anthony - thank you !

Alan - Haha I did say to my partner "I bet half this stuff went through Alan's hands once.." when I saw the auction. There we go.
Understood loud and clear regarding the pendok. Knowing what I know now I no longer have any inclination to remove it.

I should also make clear that my reservations about it were entirely from a personal taste and aesthetic preference perspective (I have a general bias against to gold or shiny things ) , and certainly not on the pendok's suitability as a dressing or its quality. However my personal tastes and preferences have certainly been pliable as far as keris matters goes, so I hope that along the way I can appreciate this pendok more and come to see it in the same way as keris aesthetes.

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Old 15th August 2019, 12:39 AM   #11
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I understand what you're saying Jaga, and I agree, I personally don't much like this "bling-bling" style that was and is popular with many people in Solo, but it is perhaps not correct to over-rule a taste or style that we do not find particularly appealing and substitute a style that we personally like. The substitution might be more pleasing to us, but is it more pleasing to the people of the culture that owns the artifact? After all, we indulge ourselves in "ethnic collection", not in the collection of things that are our own interpretation of what is ethnically pleasing to us.
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Old 15th August 2019, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, I do not have the book you mention, but it would make no difference if did, I always try, insofar as possible to follow the Surakarta line.
If you care to go through the Surakarta Pakem and match the various forms and the names given these forms, to common belief, you will find that more than one Surakarta dhapur varies from common belief. Does this mean that the Surakarta Pakem is often wrong, or does it mean that other people and other writers are often wrong?


Hello Alan,
This is the book in question (my favourite reference about dapur types) and it should constitute or be in line with the Surakarta Pakem which you mention.
I recommend this book to all the members who do not own it yet.
Regards
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Old 15th August 2019, 09:35 AM   #13
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Yes, you're right Jean, speed kills. No sogokan, I should have checked before rushing into print.

What you call the "Dhapur" book, I call the Surakarta Pakem. Its the same book.

Actually, many years ago, some time in the 1980's, I was offered the original of this book with all the hand drawn illustrations and hand written notes, it is a very big book. The price was way beyond me, but I was permitted to borrow it and photograph the pages.

I guess I'd have to go with "diluar pakem", which is the usual for these more recent keris. Pity.

Incidentally, the "greneng above the KK" is called a "jenggot", a beard.
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Old 15th August 2019, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
.. but it is perhaps not correct to over-rule a taste or style that we do not find particularly appealing and substitute a style that we personally like. The substitution might be more pleasing to us, but is it more pleasing to the people of the culture that owns the artifact? After all, we indulge ourselves in "ethnic collection", not in the collection of things that are our own interpretation of what is ethnically pleasing to us.


Well said and a good reminder. Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I guess I'd have to go with "diluar pakem"


Unfortunately I don't have the Surakarta Pakem / Dhapur books to reference, but it seems then that you would disagree with Jean's suggestion that this is dhapur Sempana Robyong. Would I be correct there? If so, I'd be interested to know how a different understanding of this could come about if you both use the same reference that is considered to be canon.
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Old 16th August 2019, 02:09 AM   #15
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Jaga, I do not know sempana robyong, Jean apparently does. I'm not going to debate the matter, Jean has found a source that provides this name, I do not search for sources or references, I run on what is in my head, and there is a great deal that is not in my head. I try to check things before I post, in fact, I usually do, but sometimes I just don't have time to check thoroughly.

Admitted, it always helps if a reference is quoted when we use a reference source, but its OK if we don't. The names are no big deal, really. I like Surakarta, but even there, there are things that I have been taught by knowledgeable people in Solo who do not agree with one another, or with kraton produced references. It is as I have said:- nothing is graven in stone.

You know what "diluar pakem" means, but does that include all pakems? In any case, any pakem is only a guide, it is not any sort of Holy Gospel. The reason it is regarded as "gospel" in western keris collecting circles is because it was produced within the Surakarta Kraton and published under the aegis of the kraton, but many Javanese ahli keris will disagree with some of the stuff in it.

Collectors in the west, and for that matter, within Indonesia, but not a part of the Central Javanese circles, tend to believe that if something about keris has been written by an Indonesian then that must be so. However, in Solo we constantly hear respected ahli keris bewailing the fact that the people who write about keris have failed to learn anything about keris before writing. The big name "Keris Experts" who have published books about keris in Indonesia, do not get nearly the same level of respect from genuine ahli keris in Solo that they get from Western collectors and people from Jakarta and Surabaya.

But why argue about it? It is far, far easier to agree with what is generally believed than to fight a battle about every minor difference. For example, the names I use for pamors, dhapurs, ricikan and so on when I post here, or produce a catalogue are names that I believe most people who read what I write will understand, but they are not necessarily the same names or words that I use in conversation in Solo.

The names are not important. The understanding is. I've said or written this more times than I can remember, but still all that anybody wants to do is to talk about empty, arguable, names. This is not keris knowledge and it is not keris study.

The misunderstanding was entirely due my haste and probably also to Jean's haste. I remembered the dhapur "Balebang", your keris is 9 luk, it looked like Balebang to me, I went straight to luk 9 keris in the pakem, glanced at the Balebang pic, confirmed my memory, continued writing, I noted that there were two versions of Balebang. But I missed the lack of sogokan.

When I write these posts I allow at most a few minutes for one, nearly everything comes out of my head, but I try to check before I write. Sometimes I'm not careful enough, and/or my memory has holes in it.

I'm guessing that Jean did something similar to me, but he missed the cross reference to the two types of balebang.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:30 AM   #16
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Jaga,
Interesting discussion and I will explain how I have arrived at my conclusion.
Your blade includes the following ricikan (carved details): Kembang kacang, jenggot, jalen, lambe gajah, pejetan, greneng sungsun or robyong (full greneng on the wadidang and ganja). Sorry for these terms but I believe that you are familiar with them or can find them easily in any kris reference book.
These ricikan exactly match with the description of dapur Sempana in the EK and book "Keris Jawa" with the exception of the jenggot (greneng above the kembang kacang) and the greneng on the wadidang, however in the book "Dhapur" dapur Sempana does not include greneng.
Because there is no sogokan I could exclude dapur Balebang for this blade. By the way dapur Balebang also exists with 5 waves according to the EK, and 11 or 13 waves according to the book "Keris Jawa"....
Because your blade basically meets the specifications of dapur Sempana with the exception of the jenggot and greneng robyong, I called it dapur Sempana Robyong although this dhapur is not a recognized one, but the term robyong is frequently used for describing the blades with jenggot, especially in Bali. You can check on page 86 of the book "Keris Bali bersejarah" for instance (dapur Sempaner Robyong, dapur Sinom Robyong).
Regards

PS: I would not mind to consider the dapur of this blade as "diluar pakem" (outside the standard) which is very common for contemporary blades. I have noticed the very deeply carved jenggot and greneng and the odd lambe gajah which are not typical of Java, maybe Alan knows the maker? The pamor pattern is very nice.

Last edited by Jean : 16th August 2019 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:45 PM   #17
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I found this specimen of kris Sempana Robyong Luk 9 on page 251 of the Bali kris book mentioned earlier so this dapur name is actually used at least in Bali.
Regards
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Old 18th August 2019, 02:12 AM   #18
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Thank you Jean and Alan for taking the time to give me your insights
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Old 20th August 2019, 01:32 PM   #19
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I'm sorry I was not able to get back to this discussion earlier, I've been away from computer access for a few days, putting holes into things.

Jean, thank you for that illuminating post concerning the way in which you decided that the dhapur of this blade must be Sempana Robyong. This post is very educational, because it demonstrates to perfection exactly why it is that we cannot rely upon any written , or indeed, any spoken word, as being an absolute authority on any of the various names that form parts of any keris belief system. These systems are simply not standardised.

In respect of Jaga's keris, as I have already stated, I was too quick on the trigger, I should have taken more time to check before rushing into print, so let's accept that Jaga's keris is not Balebang. However, if we are to follow traditional belief systems, rather than modern opinions, then we must also accept that this keris of Jaga's is not Dhapur Sempana, and most certainly not Dhapur Sempana Robyong.

It is very obvious why it cannot be Sempana:- it has a jenggot.

Now, Jean has taken the line that because it has a jenggot, and he knows that some other keris with a jenggot are referred to as "robyong" then because Jaga's Sempana keris has a jenggot, it is OK to name it as "Sempana Robyong".

Well, I guess it all depends upon what school one went to, and how much one's teachers understood.

We cannot find Sempana Robyong in the Surakarta Pakem. Frankly, I'd be happy to leave it at that, and just give Jaga's keris as "diluar pakem", ie, "outside the pakem", in other words it does not comply with the pakem that I prefer to use.

But if I am not going to agree with Jean, then it is only simple good manners to explain why I cannot agree, so I'm going to go just a little deeper into the belief system known as "Tangguh" than we usually go.

Let us start with the word "robyong", the meaning of this word is "a hanging decoration", in other words, it is a decoration that hangs down, it does not stick up, so the placement of the jenggot (jenggot = beard) --- also something that hangs --- is BELOW the kembang kacang, it is not ABOVE it.

In the Surakarta Pakem I cannot find a single dhapur that uses the addition of the word "robyong" in its name. Not only that, but I cannot find a single mention of the word robyong in the name of any dhapur listed in Haryoguritno's "Keris Jawa", except for Sinom Robyong, where the notation states:- "Kembang Kacang berjenggot, greneng bersusun".

I went a little further, and checked all my old pre-WWII texts.
In Raden Tannoyo's "Pedoman Pokok Tentang Keris" I did find a mention, and I have given a photo of that mention below, it does not refer to a specific dhapur, and is not included in the name of a dhapur, what it says in broad translation is this:-

"That which is named "Jenggot" is placed on the bongkot of the Sekar Kacang, its shape is like the Javanese letter "dha"and there also is a jenggot that is double (doubled, above and below) this also is named "robyong"."

Raden Tannoyo's book was published in Hanacaraka, so I am working from a handwritten translation.

Let's get back to Haryoguritno for a moment, his notation for the dhapur Sinom Robyong tells us that the jenggot that is found on dhapur Sinom Robyong is "bersusun" (kembang kacang berjenggot, greneng bersusun). Bersusun means stacked on top of one another, that is two, or three, or more of anything that are placed one on top of the other.

So, for a jenggot to be able to be described as "robyong", the grengeng containing the ron dha on the kembang kacang must be two or more. A greneng with a single ron dha is not sufficient to qualify for the designation "robyong".

But what about the illustration in "Keris Bali Bersejarah"?
Well, the text for that book was written by a man who is a talented craftsman who makes keris, he is also a very talented writer. I knew one of his teachers quite well, and I know that this man, Basuki Teguh Yuwono has a reputation for many talents, but I would prefer not to mention these. Basuki Teguh Yuwono is Javanese, and the text of "Keris Bali" has a decidedly Javanese flavour. The fact that he has described a Balinese keris as dhapur Sempana Robyong cannot be taken as evidence that this term is in use in Bali. In fact, if we are to take any notice of Haryoguritno and Raden Tannoyo, Basuki Yuwono has given this keris on Page 250-251 of keris Bali the dhapur of Sempana Robyong in error. This keris clearly has only a single rondha.

If we are to follow the old tradition of naming, then Jaga's keris does not have a recognised dhapur within the Surakarta Pakem, as far as that pakem is concerned it is diluar pakem. But it could well have a recognised dhapur in a different pakem. According to what I was taught, only a kraton can bestow a dhapur name upon a keris.

However, if we are satisfied to follow the trend that seems to apply in the Modern Era, then anybody at all can stick any dhapur name on any keris.

The road that one follows is entirely one's own choice, but the destination is bound to differ.
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Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 20th August 2019 at 10:23 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 10th October 2019, 03:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I'm sorry I was not able to get back to this discussion earlier, I've been away from computer access for a few days, putting holes into things.

No need, Alan. Been busy myself. Thanks for this detailed reasoning. As usual I learned plenty!
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