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Old 23rd July 2018, 03:03 PM   #1
Bjorn
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Default Hierarchical ranks in the Surakarta keraton

In earlier threads, Alan has shared the colour coding of Surakarta wrongko sunggingan and pendok as they pertain to the keraton of Surakarta. I have copy-pasted the relevant section from another thread.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunggingan:-
Colour means the base colour:-
White or yellow --- bupati or the royal family
Gold --- pangeran
Sea blue --- penewu
Light green --- mentri

Pendok colours:-
Red --- royal family or a bupati
Green --- penewu or mentri
Dark grey --- lurah
Black --- jajar and may also be used by all ranks, and for wear at a funeral

Court clowns can wear any colour sunggingan or pendok, but must wear it with a rojomolo ukiran
Cantung balung have same rules as clowns, but usually wear poleng motif.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now my question is, what exactly do these titles mean (I've underlined them in the copy-pasted segment above)? As I recall, a bupati is a district governor (head of a kabupaten). But what about the other ranks? What were people in these positions responsible for, and how many - if any - people did they govern. I seem to recall that a penewu was responsible for some 1000 people, but I could be remembering this incorrectly.
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Old 23rd July 2018, 11:07 PM   #2
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Bupati --- a regent, the highest ranking administrative officer in a regency, but also there are 'inside" bupatis and outside bupatis, the outside bupati is the regent, the inside bupati is a very highly ranked officer working within the Karaton itself.

Pangeran --- prince , it is the title for the son of a ruler

Penewu --- literally it means an officer in charge of 1000 men, in olden times, when a kingdom was at war, the peneqwu would have been in charge of 1000 men, but in more recent times that title has been used as a middle ranking ranking official, in 21st century terms, a "middle manager", "Sewu" mean "one thousand".

Jajar --- lowest rank for a karaton official

Cantung Balung --- this is not translatable, and to explain fully would need a 5000 word paper. The Canthung Balung can be thought of as humourously fierce cross between warrior and clown who precedes some traditional Surakarta Karaton parades.

Lurah --- usually understood as the chief, head, administrator of a village or small administrative area, but can also be the person appointed to supervise other people in the carrying out of specific duties. This is the same idea as the Bupati, an inside lurah, and an outside lurah. Working in the karaton he is a supervisor, appointed outside the karaton he is a village head. They used to be appointed as village heads by the Ruler, Sinuhun, in Surakarta, the Sunan or Susuhunan, these days they are appointed by the government.

Mentri --- this is a confusing word. There are several spellings used, I understand the correct (if there is such a thing) Javanese romanised spelling is "mantri", but in Javanese both vowels and consonants can be subiect to change by the user of the word. In Javanese "mantri" can have several meanings, but in the context of karaton hierarchy it should be understood as "an official", in other words a fairly low ranking official in charge of a certain function, not a highly ranked administrative official. The word comes through into Bahasa Indonesia as "menteri', which is a government minister.

Poleng motif is black and white squares, it can be thought of in the sense of "good/bad", "day/night", the idea of opposites necessary to balance all in the cosmos.

Sunggingan is painted, but specifically the painted ornamention on furniture, a form of ornamentation that was very popular in Europe in past times.

Pendok (pendhok) is keris specific

Rojomolo --- another 5000 word job, but quickly and simply, the water spirit of the Bengawan Solo

Ukiran --- a carving
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Old 24th July 2018, 12:46 PM   #3
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Thank you for taking the time to write that down, Alan. It's nice to have a better idea of what these words actually refer to.
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Old 26th July 2018, 12:02 PM   #4
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If we consider these Sunggigan krisses as being used for formal events then there is no difference in the dress code for a Gayaman versus Ladrang as opposed to the unpainted versions?
Here is one with a black back ground?
Decorated with Kala and one eyed Bintulu creature (along the opening of the blewah).
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Old 26th July 2018, 01:04 PM   #5
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Paul, there are events of varying natures. The style of dress, and the style of keris dress can vary according to the nature of the event. In some instances it may be acceptable for some people to wear gayaman keris dress, but not for other people. The answer to what is acceptable when, where and by whom is really a question that can only be answered by an authority on the protocol that applies in a particular kraton or social setting. My knowledge does not extend that far.

Black is the colour for a jajar.
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Old 26th July 2018, 01:33 PM   #6
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So it is better to buy a white sunggingan scabbard in ladrang style than a black gayaman!
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Old 26th July 2018, 08:34 PM   #7
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A kris for a Jajar based on the pendok (or the main black colour of the scabbard) but what if the pendok was a red one initially?
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Old 26th July 2018, 11:07 PM   #8
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Conflict in colour combinations can indicate a couple of things, it could be a case of an hereditary entitlement and an administrative or military entitlement for the same individual, or it could simply be a case of incorrect mixing by somebody who did not understand the rules.
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Old 27th July 2018, 04:36 AM   #9
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Can we as collectors indicate which pendok is correct just by looking at the scabbard? Impossible I guess because of the possible entitlements.
Second: I have seen Sunggingan with bunton pendoks but was told they actually should wear a blewah. Is that the tumb of rules?
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Old 27th July 2018, 06:38 AM   #10
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The table in post #1 gives a clear indication of what is correct.

Where pendok colour varies from the table it is as per comment in post #5.

You can very easily know if a gandar was originally made for a blewah pendok because there will be traces of the blewah.

If we are talking only about sunggingans the motif will indicate if it should have been continued down the front of the gandar.
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Old 28th July 2018, 07:50 AM   #11
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Sorry for my poor understanding but I still don't understand which scabbard should wear a certain (colour) pendok.
Post 1 is just a listing of what we can find.

As to the continuation of the motif: if I bunton pendok is added which is glued than it is of course hard to find out (but probably suspect!).

As to ukiran (apart from rojomolo motif):I have seen painted ukiran (sunggingan), ivory and the ones with selut. My impression is that anything can do as long as it shows a skillfully made ukiran.
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Old 28th July 2018, 01:17 PM   #12
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Paul, a reading of what I have posted will give you the answers you seek if you match the information I have provided.

As to the motif, nothing comes easy, you need to learn the form of the motifs, this requires study.

Yes, the hilt of a keris may be painted, but it is most certainly not necessarily a matter of "anything can do". Again, there is no magic formula, study and research is required and each case must be analysed separately in accordance with the available evidence.

EDIT

Here is the information already presented, but presented again in a different way:-

Royal family, including a pangeran (prince), a bupati (regent):- white or yellow wrongko ground + red pendok

Pangeran (prince):- gold wrongko ground + red pendok

Penewu ( a man in command of 1000 men):- sea blue wrongko ground + green pendok

Mentri (see post 2):- light green wrongko ground + green pendok

Lurah (see post 2):- natural wrongko ground or grey wrongko ground + dark grey pendok

Jajar (see post 2) :- black wrongko ground+ black pendok

All ranks at a funeral, or a commoner:- natural ground+ black pendok


Hilts can be painted en suite with the wrongko, but they can also be left as natural

Where an administrative position conflicts in rank with a military position, and/or an inherited position (FX:- a prince who is a penewu) the higher position will normally indicate the colour code, but it may not, the colour code in such an instance could be decided on a case by case basis, or a contextual basis.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 28th July 2018 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 29th July 2018, 10:26 AM   #13
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Thanks Alan that clarifies a lot more.

2 Other examples fitted in black pendok and wonder if these are correct or examples of colour code exceptions.

* The Ladrang clearly shows a white base and so a royal piece. The black pendok is replaced, it had a mossgreen one. A red one would be common?
+ The Gayaman has a golden base or what?
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Old 29th July 2018, 01:02 PM   #14
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Paul, what I have provided is correct colour coding within the Surakarta Karaton environment. There is no law that prevents anybody at all from creating and wearing any colours they wish, if those people are not members of the Surakarta Karaton hierarchy.

These examples you are have provided are quite nice examples of sunggingan work, but they do not seem to my eye to be the style of sunggingan dress that I would expect to see worn by a member of the Surakarta Karaton hierarchy. The sunggingan work is reasonably well done, but the motifs are not executed in a way that would permit identification with a karaton rank, and these motifs seem somewhat confused.

The ladrangan might have a white base, or it might have a gold or yellow base, in the photo it appears that the two colours alternate, I have not seen this style of confused colour coding, and I am not at all sure that such a thing is legitimate.
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Old 29th July 2018, 01:26 PM   #15
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It might be useful to post photos of sunggingan pieces with a proven provenance. That way everyone can observe the use of colours - and motifs - on actual keraton pieces.

Now the question, of course, is whether there are people who have such photos available.
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Old 29th July 2018, 01:38 PM   #16
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Alan, what about the first (black base) Gayaman kris. That's a 'genuine' kraton kris as being identified for a Jajar. Would be most interested to know about that one as that is the one from my own collection. The others are not.
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Old 29th July 2018, 10:30 PM   #17
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What did you need to know Paul?
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Old 30th July 2018, 04:19 AM   #18
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If post #4 is done according the pakem rules and if it is worn by a member of the Surakarta Keraton hierarchy.
The handle is a recent (decent) replacement.
Old blade (Adeg pamor) fits flush.
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Old 30th July 2018, 05:36 AM   #19
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No Paul, not necessarily.

Hilts can be natural, hilts can be painted, they can be one or the other.

As for the idea of "replacement" keris fittings get changed all the time, depending upon the circumstances.

For example, the hilt + selut on your black keris, if this keris was intended to be worn at at evening function, and the owner had a selut stel, he would very probably prefer to use it rather than a hilt which did not have a selut.

The stones in a selut catch the light at night and throw out flashes.
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