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Old 20th January 2021, 09:52 AM   #1
Gonzoadler
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Default Kujang for comments

Hello,

I received this Kujang, your comments are welcome. The handle is carved in the shape of a tiger, the scabbard is decorated with a tiger's head and a paw as tip. The blade shows a nice pamor pattern.
dimensions: total 45.5cm; without scabbard 36.5cm; blade 22.5cm
I have some questions about it:
- How old could it be? I think it is not very old, but I'm not sure.
- Was this weapon only used by the Sundanese people?
- My Kujang blade has 7 holes. In this thread I can read that this refers to the seventh month of pregnancy: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=kujang
Is this right or are there other possible interpretations?

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Old 20th January 2021, 09:53 AM   #2
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more pictures:
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Old 20th January 2021, 09:55 AM   #3
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the picture from the thread that refers the holes to the months of pregnancy:
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Old 20th January 2021, 03:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
Hello,

I received this Kujang, your comments are welcome. The handle is carved in the shape of a tiger, the scabbard is decorated with a tiger's head and a paw as tip. The blade shows a nice pamor pattern.
dimensions: total 45.5cm; without scabbard 36.5cm; blade 22.5cm
I have some questions about it:
- How old could it be? I think it is not very old, but I'm not sure.
- Was this weapon only used by the Sundanese people?
- My Kujang blade has 7 holes. In this thread I can read that this refers to the seventh month of pregnancy: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=kujang
Is this right or are there other possible interpretations?

pictures:

Your kujang is fairly recent. I could say exactly, but i would image the oldest it could be is late 20th century, but it could well have been made yesterday.
Yes, this is a blade that is generally considered specific to the Sundanese people.
I find most of the lore that surrounds these blades to be relative new. If you have a kujang that "refers to the 7th month of pregnancy" i'm not really sure what that even means exactly in any practical or even spiritual sense. That is not to say this incorrect information, but someone would need to expand upon that greatly to make it useful information in my opinion.
So it looks like a nice new kujang with an attractive dress.
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Old 20th January 2021, 04:19 PM   #5
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I'd agree with "recent" as well as with its being a very handsome piece of work.
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Old 20th January 2021, 10:04 PM   #6
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With regards to the meaning of the eyelets and just about anything else to do with features, knowledge and beliefs on Sundanese bladed objects, something to consider is that they were not as important to spiritual and social life as the keris was in Jawa culture. Secondly there are no longer any centres of influence and cultural regulation through which knowledge and standards are disseminated from a source of legitimacy. By this I mean there are no longer any functional keratons or a court culture There is no keraton in Sunda which has cultural legitimacy in the same way that Surakarta Hadiningrat or Yogyakarta hadiningrat has. Of course not everyone is under the influence of these courts and a keris enthusiast, student or collector who is outside of that influence doesn't have to adhere to the keraton's rules, but my point is that they are institutions of legitimacy and influence which can conserve knowledge about these things and by their very existence can act as somewhat of an anchor against outright fabrication. It doesn't stop the fabrication or even people from believing it, but it means that there is a source to which people can refer or even follow and they would not be considered wrong or in an errant stream. Or at least my naivety deems it so.

This doesn't seem to exist in Sunda. You can just about make anything up and someone will believe it if the shoe fits the needs of the mental foot. The same goes probably for Java, but as I said above, in Jawa at least there are sources of legitimacy (not to be confused with infallibility).

Among the explanations for what the eyes mean, I have seen:
- that they are in relation to numerology and the numbers meaning can be deciphered using the Qur'an
- the configuration of eyes holds meaning about the nature of god or the supernatural. e.g. 3 eyes on the spine of the kujang plus 1 on its front signify that the Hindu triad of Brahma, Wisnu and Siva have been refined and amalgamated into Allah, the one true god.
- that their true meaning can be found at certain sites of spiritual significance, like certain mountains and caves, because either the ancestors or Prabu Siliwangi had crafted them in mountains and boulders.
- that the number of eyes, and also the type of kujang, designates the holder's position in society (e.g. teacher, diplomat, priest, farmer, nobleman etc.).
- that more eyes = higher social status


If you believe it, it is real.
If you have been taught it by your teacher, it is true.
If you have been taught something else by another teacher, that is also true.
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Old 21st January 2021, 07:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for your comments.
The reference of this holes to pregnancy months was also a little questionable to me. I don't understand what that should mean exactly. Maybe they were just a decoration element in the past and all cultural or religious interpretations are new or fantasy.
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Old 21st January 2021, 08:44 PM   #8
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In fact if anything is believed by sufficient people, it is true, and even if it is believed by only one person, for that person, it is true.

Belief is a powerful force.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 06:49 AM   #9
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Hullo everybody!

I'm sorry to say I can't trump that.

Best,
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Old 22nd January 2021, 09:40 AM   #10
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Truth is only momentary.

See:- Samuel Arbesman
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Old 22nd January 2021, 12:46 PM   #11
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There are some who believe that a simple majority [no matter how ill-informed, misinformed, disinformed, wilfully blind, hopelessly benighted, or flat-out wrong that simple majority may be] shall rule [make decisions governing the whole group and/or "lord it over" the minority]. There are some who have resorted to force of arms to propagate this belief and/or system of governance among those who are differently minded.

On a different note: I've seen a few kujang kamerdikaan in "generally similar" dress. Some of the renditions I've seen and others which I own are not quite in the same league as the one shown in the original post.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:36 PM   #12
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For comparison an old one I've bought some time ago.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:03 PM   #13
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The handle looks like from a javanese Keris.
But the Kujang is javanese, so it makes sense.
My new Kujang has no big similarities to a Keris.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
The handle looks like from a javanese Keris
But the Kujang is javanese, so it makes sense.


Hello Gonzoadler,

It's only geographical Javanese, ethnograhical it's Sundanese.

Also when I've seen them sometimes with keris handles I doubt that is the original handle but since I've found it like this and that it seems that it was quite long with the blade it will stay with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzoadler
new Kujang has no big similarities to a Keris.


A kujang has nothing to do with a keris, so no surprise!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:38 PM   #15
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Yes, geographical javanese. What I mean is that it explains this combination very well. That has nothing to do with the ethnographic origin.
Regards
Robin
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Old 23rd January 2021, 05:15 PM   #16
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2 Other old Kujang for comparaison one with 4 holes and one with 3 holes:

Old Kujang
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Old 23rd January 2021, 10:02 PM   #17
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Detlef, what material is filling that first hole on yours?
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Old 24th January 2021, 09:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Detlef, what material is filling that first hole on yours?


Hello David,

It's some sort of white non ferric metal, maybe silver or mamas. And I bet that the two other holes were filled with metal originally, I will take some close-ups later. The kujang is at the moment in restore status.
The filled hole and the original old appearance of it was the reason I bought it.
I only will remove the rust, a little bit polish and a new etch of the blade. The mendak was broken in parts after removing the handle, it will get an other old one.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:20 AM   #19
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Just noticed that I don't need to take new pictures, I can use the good seller pictures. You can see why I think that the other holes were filled once also.
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:28 AM   #20
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Two other ones from my collection.
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey the Finn
On a different note: I've seen a few kujang kamerdikaan in "generally similar" dress. Some of the renditions I've seen and others which I own are not quite in the same league as the one shown in the original post.


In this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=kujang is shown one in an old/antique dress. I have handled this piece personally, it was sold to Paolo from Wolfgang Spielmann.
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Old 25th January 2021, 04:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
In this thread: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=kujang is shown one in an old/antique dress. I have handled this piece personally, it was sold to Paolo from Wolfgang Spielmann.

hmmm....what leads you to believe this dress is antique? While it shows some age i would not have thought this to be pre-WWII, though certainly the blade is.
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Old 25th January 2021, 04:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
hmmm....what leads you to believe this dress is antique? While it shows some age i would not have thought this to be pre-WWII, though certainly the blade is.


Hello David,

Like said, I've handled this piece before it went to Paolo, scabbard and handle has been painted and on all stick out places the wood was visible with a real nice patination, it was 2006/7 old when not antique, I remember this very well since I thought to this time to see a much younger piece but by close examination I have to agree with Wolfgang. He has shown me this thread later and was very angry that some people stated that it's recent. The pictures from Paolo are sadly not very meaningful.
What's interesting is that the handle and scabbard from Gonzoadlers piece have the same overall appearance like this old one. Traditional style??
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Old 25th January 2021, 06:12 PM   #24
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See also http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=kujang

Mine for comparison, it has a fairly large blade, about a foot long.
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Old 26th January 2021, 03:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello David,

Like said, I've handled this piece before it went to Paolo, scabbard and handle has been painted and on all stick out places the wood was visible with a real nice patination, it was 2006/7 old when not antique, I remember this very well since I thought to this time to see a much younger piece but by close examination I have to agree with Wolfgang. He has shown me this thread later and was very angry that some people stated that it's recent. The pictures from Paolo are sadly not very meaningful.
What's interesting is that the handle and scabbard from Gonzoadlers piece have the same overall appearance like this old one. Traditional style??

I have only ever seen this style of dress for kujang as contemporary (meaning post WWII). If push came to shove, without benefit of better photos or hands-on inspection, i would still have to say this dress form is not antique. My apologies to Wolfgang.
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Old 26th January 2021, 07:40 PM   #26
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David, I would tend to agree that this style of dress probably is not particularly old, but my personal opinion is that it could go back to perhaps a bit before WWII, maybe the 1920's.

This is opinion only, not something I am able to substantiate, but I have seen similar styles of dress on various other items of tosan aji that were supposedly, and looked to be, from the late colonial era, ie pre-WWII.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:55 PM   #27
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Thanks Alan, that's good to know.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:51 PM   #28
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Yes, the 1920's is a time frame which is possible for the scabbard and handle from Paolo's kujang.
Wolfgang doesn't care anymore, he is deceased, But I am miffed since you don't believe my words!
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Old 27th January 2021, 04:18 AM   #29
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Detlef, I believe you absolutely, moreover I believe whoever gave you the information that you passed on, but what I believe is that Wolfgang, and the others who were responsible for this information did not provide you with information that they knew was incorrect.

This sort of thing is always a problem, because when we state an age for something that does not have some sort of very clear proof of age, all we are doing is expressing an opinion. Some opinions are perhaps better than others, but I doubt that any serious and well known personage such as Wolfgang was, would deliberately give an opinion that he had cause to believe was incorrect.

So Wolfgang believed in his estimate of age, and you believed him. I believe in my estimate, David believes in his estimate, and really, none of us can prove anything.

So why not just let precise age go and accept that we are looking at something with some age. Forget the "antique" idea, it is a fatuous concept at the best of times, just think in terms of era:- Late Colonial.
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Old 27th January 2021, 05:02 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
So Wolfgang believed in his estimate of age, and you believed him. I believe in my estimate, David believes in his estimate, and really, none of us can prove anything.
So why not just let precise age go and accept that we are looking at something with some age. Forget the "antique" idea, it is a fatuous concept at the best of times, just think in terms of era:- Late Colonial.

Well Alan, "belief" would be a strong word for my "if push can to shove" opinion here. I just have never seen any really old versions of this particular dress form and it is quite popular in contemporary kujangs. I did note that i felt it had some age, but i am not at all convinced of my opinion that it is post WWII and would very easily be pushed towards your term "Late Colonial". When i raised the question with Detlef i had hoped that he or others might be able to provide some images of more examples of truly antique versions of this dress form. I can only form opinions based upon what i know so far, but my mind is certainly not set on the issue. I will still point out that even the 1920s would still only place this kujang on the very cusp of what is generally considered "antique".
More of what was getting at in my opinion is that this form of dress is probably still relatively recent for kujang and not really the kind of dress we are likely to see on old kujang from periods when they were a more active part of Sundanese culture.
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