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Old 11th April 2005, 10:31 PM   #1
BSMStar
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Default A Plastic Keris? for comment.

Well not exactlly a plastic keris, just the clothes or furniture are plastic.

Any ideas on the age of the keris?
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Old 11th April 2005, 10:32 PM   #2
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I am thinking about re-etching and staining this keris.
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Old 11th April 2005, 10:38 PM   #3
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Close up of the keris (blade)
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Old 12th April 2005, 03:52 AM   #4
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Any way to test if they are plastic, short of shoving a hot needle? I have one hilt that's supposedly horn, feels heavy but seems to melt against a solodering iron. No, I didn't test it... it was accidental. Does horn melt like that?
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Old 12th April 2005, 04:37 AM   #5
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Rahman, horn will not melt. It will, however burn, and gives off a strong odor of burning hair.
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Old 12th April 2005, 06:12 AM   #6
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BSMStar, etch it please. It sure will look stunning (i think).
Soaking the blade in lime or pineapple juice for a day should roughly show an outline of the pamor.

Good luck and have fun...
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Old 12th April 2005, 12:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rahman
Any way to test if they are plastic, short of shoving a hot needle? I have one hilt that's supposedly horn, feels heavy but seems to melt against a solodering iron. No, I didn't test it... it was accidental. Does horn melt like that?


Hi rahman,

When you tap it with your finger, it sounds like hitting plastic. It is light in the hand. On close visual examination, you can see the imperfections (hollow bubbles) from casting the higher density plastic (the areas that are brown in color). The "sliver" pendok is plastic (I believe it is styrene like model cars) that is "chrome" plated (like on a model car) and then blacked... the front looks good but they don't do as good of a job on the back (see the picture). There is no metal used in the pendok. The Mendak is the only metal and cheaply made.

I don't think there is any need to test with heat. Andrew is right on... Horn is not that different from fingernails (which are modified hair) with a bony interior, (it doesn't melt, but it will burn with enough heat). It is more dense (heavier) than the material this is made from.

The keris does not fit the sheath quite right (it doesn't feel right)... so pulling and replacing the Keris is a bit loose until it is full inserted. Then it is a proper or "tight" (not loose) fit.
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Old 12th April 2005, 12:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info. I'm relieved that while the hulu did show some burn marks, there was no melting. Yes, there was a weird smell but not that of burnt plastic.

If we have hulu made in plastic, it must point to a fairly widespread distribution of fake plastic. These things require fairly sophisticated injection moulding technology, and you'll need to have some level of mass production to make it worthwhile.

I guess we'll have to be on our guard.
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Old 12th April 2005, 12:49 PM   #9
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So will be talking about etching plastic blades soon?
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Old 12th April 2005, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rahman
Thanks for the info. I'm relieved that while the hulu did show some burn marks, there was no melting. Yes, there was a weird smell but not that of burnt plastic.

If we have hulu made in plastic, it must point to a fairly widespread distribution of fake plastic. These things require fairly sophisticated injection moulding technology, and you'll need to have some level of mass production to make it worthwhile.

I guess we'll have to be on our guard.


Hi Rahman , this has been going on for some time . Back when I was young-(er) and very ill informed I bought a keris that had a Madura ukiran . It looked great online but when I received it turned out it was made from the material they use for dental casting .

I keep it today as a constant reminder .

Wayne , to my eye that blade has a very pleasing dapur , I like it very much , but wonder if it's from Jawa .
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Old 12th April 2005, 01:33 PM   #11
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Wow, this is kinda scary stuff. Actually, we have seen this composite material used before. I believe we had a thread on a similar piece a while back. This does create all kinds of problems for eBay buyers. This would be hard stuff to catch unless the photos were really good (are they ever?) and Rahman is right to point out that if there is one like this there are no doubt many. Geez, even the pendok is plastic, eh? Makes buying from a reputable dealer even more attractive.
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Old 12th April 2005, 03:46 PM   #12
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scary, to my bad judgement, it looks pretty good. i would also think there must be a lot more of them out there
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Old 12th April 2005, 04:43 PM   #13
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Not so much bad judgement Bill. This composite stuff DOES look good. I've been buying Asian statues made of this stuff for some time just because they look so good and are so cheap. But i'm sure i don't want my keris dress made out of it. Of course, as we have discussed before, if the item is listed correctly with full disclosure, there is no forgery. This dress is obviously made for the tourist market. My fear is that we will start seeing more of these being sold as horn or other natural materials.Put a mediocre old blade in that dress and it can be even harder to tell. Buyer beware.
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Old 12th April 2005, 05:29 PM   #14
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As I have said in another thread, a very dear friend purchased this keris as a gift for me. He only glanced at it and sent it on to me, not realizing the plastic make-up of the dress (the sheath seems a bit short too). I went "out on a limb" (and a true test of friendship I may add) and explained the nature of the dress being plastic to him. I wanted to make sure that he didn't get ripped off. I believe he was a bit embarrassed (he shouldn't be).

So, I am sharing this keris with the Forumů so that all may be aware that what looks good on the Internet may be sometime else when you get it (like we didn't know that). Otherwise, it would have been an awesome Sumatran dress, no?

The keris looks like an older Javanese Keris (late 19c to early 20c), what do you all think?
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Old 12th April 2005, 05:50 PM   #15
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Hi Wayne , I've been poring over my Tammens and I can't seem to find a real match to any of the dapor he shows in his outline drawings . This , of course doesn't mean all that much coming from me .
It could possibly be a simple Solo blade .

Since the dress is Sumatran , possibly the blade is too ( but only possibly) .
I'll continue poring through the pictures now ...........

The thing that's throwing me a curve is exactly that , the downward curve of the pecetan .

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Old 12th April 2005, 09:38 PM   #16
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Default Non-Destructive Test for Plastic

One of the easiest ways to test an object is to find a smooth spot and rub it briskly with your finger several times and then either sniff it or touch the tip of your tongue to the area.Styrene plastic not only gives off an odor(compare it by doing the same to a plastic model car)but will give a burning sensation to your tongue.
Celluloid(an early type of plastic made with cellulose nitrate,camphor,and alcohol)will give off a vaguely medicine type smell.Bakelite(another early plastic)gives off a very strong smell.Resins are probably similar to styrene(not too familiar with them).
If it is found to be made from celluloid,it should be isolated from other knives as when celluloid breaks down it gives off an extremely corrosive gas that will rust carbon steel very quickly.
I've had this problem with vintage pocket knives and it seems to occur at random.I've had several knives that had the scale on one side crumble and fall apart while the other side remained as new.No one seems to know exactly what triggers the reaction,but when it does the process is irreversible.
Just my two cents' worth.
Cheers
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Old 13th April 2005, 12:08 AM   #17
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To dis-spell if it is plastic or not, here is a close up of the bottom of the face on the hulu. You can see the seam from the end of the beak to the neck, and the many bubbles... sanded seams are everywhere on the hulu and sheath as are the hollow bubbles (you can see them on the sheath edge here but blurry), but of course it is all painted, or chromed over and the plastic is not directly exposed for testing. I hope the picture helps.
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Old 13th April 2005, 12:19 AM   #18
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Also,

Removing the keris, and looking inside the sheath... it is ruff plastic that has been ground in areas to fit the keris and then plainly painted brown. Where the paint has worn off, it is cream yellow in color.

At a distance, it looks impressive... but up close, it does not stand under scrutiny.
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Old 13th April 2005, 12:26 AM   #19
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More bubbles (they are the lighter color spots in this picture on the sheath edges and some dark ones too).....
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Old 13th April 2005, 12:37 AM   #20
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The back detail is terrible (obviously a casting)! Compare it to the first picture at the top of the page.
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Old 13th April 2005, 01:01 AM   #21
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As for the plastic sheath and hilt. It's hard to tell from these photos.
At first glance, looks pretty real. Only under close scrutiny can you spot it and if the picture is sharp enough.

I guess in future bidders should request the seller for the materials used for the
sheath and hilts.?

What will they think of next? "Maintenance free blades" = Plastic blades.
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Old 13th April 2005, 01:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
What will they think of next? "Maintenance free blades" = Plastic blades.


With a flip of the wrist, you have a Balinese keris
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Old 13th April 2005, 07:55 AM   #23
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Hello Kerislovers,

since many years I follow the footsteps of faked and new kerisses but this is an most interesting handle, wrangka and pendok. The question is, are they made for faking ore just using new materials. The artistic quality seems to me not so bad exept the pendok and mendak. The wrangka has an form almost like the one in:

Sharum Bin Yub B.A.
Senjata 2 Pesaka Melayu, Keris dan Senjata 2 Pendek 1967 page 45

The blade may be even older then 19 cent. but age does not make good quality.

In general plastik in Indonesia for handles I have seen the first times in the late 1980ties. As BSMStar wrote about the bubbles are the traitors.


This handle I have found in 1989 in Solo. The black lines indicate the positions of several bubbles. The close up shows better.
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Old 13th April 2005, 12:06 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empu kumis
The blade may be even older then 19 cent. but age does not make good quality.


Hi empu kumis,

Thanks for the feedback. The age of the keris is the area I a weak in... the peski tapers to almost a point from wear, and the wear on the blade (from etching?) lead me to believe this is an older keris. I just not familiar with the dapurs to venture that it is 18c or 17c. It would be interesting to know.

It would also be interesting to know why a keris like this would end up in this condition and in plastic dress. On line auctions prove there is a market for the "low end" keris... why put it in plastic (seems like more work to me than its worth).
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Old 13th April 2005, 02:06 PM   #25
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I think when we move to casting ukirans and scabbards we have lost something essential to the whole ideal of the keris .
Any of those parts could have been made in the U.S. or any other country for that matter . To me an important part of the keris is the HAND workmanship that goes into the ukiran and dress . If we start to accept plastic copies we show no respect for the artisans who labor to make these elements by hand ; therefore an integral part of the keris making process has been lost .
The whole idea is to keep the carver's art alive and well .

Now about the blade ; I have stuck my neck out about possible origins .
Who's next ?
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Old 13th April 2005, 03:31 PM   #26
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The blade reminds me of the "Moro" kris with the deer antler hilt I have posted in the past. Since I think that sword comes from Sulawesi, I'll vote Sulawesi, just my guess. Have to think Sulawesi played a important roll in keris development, but doesn't seem like much knowledge remains to back that up.
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Old 13th April 2005, 05:17 PM   #27
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Empu Kumis asks: "...are they made for faking ore just using new materials." My guess is neither. I think they are made to dress souvenir keris and are originally being marketed as such. The problem arises when someone places an old 18th or 19th century keris into one of these dresses. Wayne has wondered why someone would do this. Because it is a very cheap alternative to using traditional materials. Wayne, there is no extra work involved. These outfits are no doubt mass produced by the hundreds if not thousands. It is much easier and cheaper than commissioning a new wood, horn or ivory one or even refitting an old used one. As for how the keris ended up in that condition, well, frankly, i have seen much worse. As the importance of the keris as a cultural icon rapidly decreases, less and less care is taken for these items. People stop feeding them and oiling them, stashed away in the bottom of a trunk somewhere. It gets past on to someone who doesn't care for such things or thinks they are bad luck and sells them for a bit of cash. Not a real likely scenerio for a royal court piece, but it is probably a very likely fate for many commomer pieces.
I also think your blade has some age and think it may actually be Sumatran work (there Rick, stuck my neck out ) and is probably early 19thC. Though i think a good etch and stain will undoubtable improve this blade it still won't make it a high end item. The seller knew this, so why spend money on real dress if he can make better money sticking it in plastic and hoping to fool someone like your friend?
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Old 13th April 2005, 06:13 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nechesh
Wayne, there is no extra work involved. These outfits are no doubt mass produced by the hundreds if not thousands. It is much easier and cheaper than commissioning a new wood, horn or ivory one or even refitting an old used one.

I also think your blade has some age and think it may actually be Sumatran work (there Rick, stuck my neck out ) and is probably early 19thC.


Hi nechesh,

If they are mass producing these (which makes sense, to recoup the cost of the molds, etc...) then this must be one of the first to hit the market. I have see fake keris in plastic dress sold with a Plaque before, this is the first keris only I have seen (with a real blade). Its seems the basic response has been to this thread, there haven't been very many floating around... I guess we need to get ready for the siege.

It seems to me a twist of irony (and more than random chance) to place a Sumatran keris in a plastic Sumatran dress (unless an inventory of different dress are keep - needing a higher investment... wow, are we going to see a lot of these things if that is the case). I think it would take some knowledge on the part of the supplier to pull that off (verses dumb luck). If one were to mass produce Sumatran dress and use Sumatran keris (assuming that is the only dress made)... the source would be Sumatran??? Or am I connecting too many dots. If we see Javanese keris in Javanese plastic dress... then, where will it stop.

Early 19c... Cool! I know there are good keris and not so good keris... but as Rick pointed out in another thread, " as cultural artifacts they are due a certain amount of respect." I may also add that they are history, little pieces of "frozen time" that you can hold in you hand and look upon with a sense of wonder.. thinking about who made them, how they were made, why were they made and for whom, what did it mean or represent... what has it witnessed over the pass two hundred or so years, the people that have coming in contact with it... the good, the bad and all that is in-between. This is what collecting is all about, other than having a cool looking antique hanging on the wall (yea, that's nice too).

Now if I could only teach the keris to speak (or that I learn to listen).

Last edited by BSMStar : 13th April 2005 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 13th April 2005, 09:02 PM   #29
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Wayne, if you want to hear the keris speak, try putting it under your pillow at night.
As i mentioned before, we have seen these composite sheath and hilts before and had a thread about them. I believe that originally they are being presented with newly made keris as tourist items. I don't believe the original intention of this dress was to deceive or hold your 19thC blade. The ones i have seen previously were also Sumatran dress and it may very well be a Sumatran product. Of course, the Chinese are very good at using this composite stuff and the work might be imported for an Indonesian market.
It seems neither ironic nor by chance that someone would place an old Sumatran blade in this dress if their intention was to fool an unwary buyer. As for the "good blade"/"bad blade" issue, i couldn't agree with you more. Very few of us have either the money or opportunity to collect really high end pieces. And while the keris culture was certainly dictated from the top of the hierachal food chain (i.e.the kraton) it certain permeated the entire culture, from the poorest farmer to the highest courtesan. All keris are worthy in my book, even the simplest of village pieces.They are all cultural artifacts with a history and a story. Of course, that doesn't mean i don't try to collect well made keris, but if a piece appeals to me the quality might at times be secondary.
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Old 13th April 2005, 10:18 PM   #30
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Hi nechesh,

I hope what I said was not offensive (my apologies)... I did not mean to question you. And my second two paragraphs were not intended to be directed toward you. Sometimes I ramble on too much.

I am only curious about the origin of these keris, (my first thought was that they may be coming from China or else were too). It will be interesting to see what, and how many of these plastic pieces "crop" up.

I fully agree with you nechesh. I collect those keris that "sing" or "speak" to me in some deep and meaningful way (and only one of them has been a heirloom quality keris). I have "slept" with each keris that I own (except this one, I will when it is restored)... maybe... just maybe, the experiences we have all had would make an interesting thread in itself? Especially if someone knowledgeable can interpret or "explain" some of the experiences that we have had (I would like to know more about the meaning of some of mine).
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