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Old 16th May 2019, 05:59 PM   #1
mariusgmioc
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Default New Keris for info

Hello,

Another newly aquired keris I would like to know more about.
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Old 16th May 2019, 08:30 PM   #2
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I'm not so sure the Tajong hilt goes with a Sumatran style execution keris, but that blade...Ö. oh my, I like that.
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Old 16th May 2019, 09:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I'm not so sure the Tajong hilt goes with a Sumatran style execution keris, but that blade...Ö. oh my, I like that.


That's EXACTLY what caught my eye and made me buy it! The pamor of the blade.
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Old 16th May 2019, 09:17 PM   #4
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Gorgeous blade and a lovely hilt, but to paraphrase Rick, it is not a match made in heaven.
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Old 17th May 2019, 07:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
That's EXACTLY what caught my eye and made me buy it! The pamor of the blade.



Very beautiful blade, is it pamor tambal?
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Old 17th May 2019, 05:04 PM   #6
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I'll jump on the band wagon here Marius.
Yes, that's a beautiful keris penyalang (or panjang). Looks like it is really nicely crafted. But the tajong hilt is completely wrong for this style keris. Below i have posted a number of styles that would be far more appropriate and if this were mine i would replace it with one.
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Old 17th May 2019, 06:04 PM   #7
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Thank you very much for the very interesting information.

So the pamor is?!

For the time being I have no replacement hilt and I will have to keep like this at least for a while.

Anyhow, I have seen at least another long keris with a similar hilt so maybe they are not that unusually wrong?!
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Old 17th May 2019, 07:45 PM   #8
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IMO not only the hilt is not appropriate but also the sarong with a notch on the back side in Palembang style? Yes, the blade looks nice with the patches of pamor tambal but I wonder whether this is an old piece as old panjang/ alang/ bahari blades have no visible pamor? Please also compare the fine greneng carving with the one on David's blade which is typical of such old blades.
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Old 17th May 2019, 07:52 PM   #9
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It does look rather fresh Jean, still I'd take that blade in a heartbeat.
It looks nicely executed (no pun intended) .
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Old 17th May 2019, 11:59 PM   #10
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Several things.

Pamor is koro welang tambal. This is a popular pamor in Jawa and Madura.

The greneng appears to be more Javanese than anything else.

Keris panjang were made in Central Jawa after, probably, 1850, and certainly in the PBX era. Some of these keris did carry pamor, but I have never seen nor heard of a complex pamor miring in one of these Javanese keris panjang.

Pamor koro welang is a complex pamor miring.

I have both owned and seen quite a few keris panjang, both with and without pamor, in various styles of dress. These styles include several Javanese styles of dress and Bugis/Peninsula styles of dress. I have never seen a keris panjang in Balinese dress.

There is a distinct tendency amongst present day collectors to want blades that are identifiable as coming from a particular geographic location to be dressed in wrongko and hilt from that location. Taken as a guiding principle this could possibly be acceptable. But in the real world it ignores the way things truly are in keris bearing societies.

For many & various reasons keris blades move around the entire keris bearing world, and indeed, far beyond the keris bearing world. Javanese blades were exported all over S.E. Asia, and as far afield as Sri Lanka, as far back as the 15th century.

We can routinely expect to find keris blades from one area in old keris dress that is associated with another area. In fact, when we move away from centers of population, and areas that were under the influence of one royal house or another, we will find genuine, old, highly regarded keris in a mixture of dress that the previous owners have used, and that reflects the changing fortunes or associations of the previous owners, rather than any geographical influences. For a broadly based collection, perhaps the very best criterion is one of quality.
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Old 18th May 2019, 12:29 AM   #11
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I had assumed this was indeed a more contemporary blade Jean, and can't really use that as a criticism against this keris. I don't think Marius presented it as an antique. I just find it beautiful and well crafted.
As for the dress it is presented in, yes Alan, we can indeed find keris in old keris dress associated with other areas. But what we have here is a keris panjang that you see as possibly having Javanese origins dressed in a Palembang sheath with a Malaysian Tajong hilt. Firstly tajong keris have their own cultural norms as to the form of the sheath as well as the type of blade they contain. So now we have this Malay hilt form on a keris panjang. The panjang is in a Palembang sheath that is of the panjang type so if it is fitted properly i think we can consider that a good match. But this is not an regular keris. Unless i understand the form incorrectly a keris panjang designates a certain status, does it not? Certainly we do find genuine, old, highly regarded keris in a mixture of dress, but where would a status keris like a panjang be considered appropriate with a tajong hilt? It seems far more likely to me that this keris was dressed with what was available in the dealer's closet than for any authentic usage. I would still be looking for a replacement hilt if it were mine, but it is still a nice keris to look at as is.
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Old 18th May 2019, 01:20 AM   #12
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David, I have absolutely no critisism of this keris at all.

None.

The blade is indeed finely crafted. No dispute about that at all.

Yes, it could be a dealer's montage, and in this day and age, that applies to many more things than just keris, and it possibly goes without saying that with virtually everything we look we need to have this idea in the back of our minds as we look.

Yes, in the society of origin, the keris panjang probably did have a status level attached to it, but did this status level transfer, along with the keris form, to other societies where the form appears? In so far as Central Jawa is concerned, I can pretty definitely say that it did not.

In respect of this particular complete keris, my assumption is that it has been put together at some time during the last 100 years, it certainly does not look pre-1900 to me.

If that is the case, I personally would be reluctant to tag this keris as anything other than what we can see. I would not assume a dealer's meddling, I would not assume the actions of a private owner in a keris bearing society, nor would I assume the tastes of a collector.

To me this keris is exactly as it is, and able to be described in terms of its individual elements. Anything other than that is pure assumption.

Then, of course, we have the long and continuing association of Palembang with Central Jawa. I personally do not find it strange for a blade from anywhere at all to be presented in Palembang dress.

But is this dress Palembang? To me, it looks Palembangish, ie a Sumatran style of dress that has some echoes of Palembang, and the hilt also looks more like an echo than an original --- not that I am specialist in this field of Sumatra, nor of kingfisher hilts, so don't take these comments of mine as being even verging upon gospel. Perhaps others may care to look just a whisker more closely at the images?

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Old 18th May 2019, 07:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

But is this dress Palembang? To me, it looks Palembangish, ie a Sumatran style of dress that has some echoes of Palembang, and the hilt also looks more like an echo than an original --- not that I am specialist in this field of Sumatra, nor of kingfisher hilts, so don't take these comments of mine as being even verging upon gospel. Perhaps others may care to look just a whisker more closely at the images?


Yes, Palembangish sarong, Tagongish hilt, newish panjangish/ Javanish blade, and tambalish pamor! A nice piece but not suitable for an old-fashioned colector like myself...
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Old 18th May 2019, 03:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
David, I have absolutely no critisism of this keris at all.

None.

The blade is indeed finely crafted. No dispute about that at all.


Yes, in the society of origin, the keris panjang probably did have a status level attached to it, but did this status level transfer, along with the keris form, to other societies where the form appears? In so far as Central Jawa is concerned, I can pretty definitely say that it did not.

Alan, do i understand you correctly to say that keris panjang from Central Jawa made post 1850 and in the PBX era did not have any special societal applications as it did in Sumatra? Just anybody would order and carry a keris panjang in that society and time?
BTW, when i spoke of criticism of the blade i was directing my comment specifically to Jean's comments, not your own.
Frankly you seem far more generous with possible age than i would be here. to my eye this blade, though finely crafted, seems more likely to be a contemporary one, though, of course, an in-hand examination might make me decide otherwise. And if, as Jean and yourself point out, "the Palembangish sarong, Tagongish hilt, newish panjangish/ Javanish blade, and tambalish pamor", it seems far more likely to be that this ensemble came together more recently than not. 100 years ago i do not believe people were carving "Tagongish" hilts, were as today we find many carvers in both Madura and Jawa having a go at that style. Though admittedly i am not enough of an aficionado of tajong style to know if this hilt is a true Tajong hilt or not.
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Old 18th May 2019, 09:40 PM   #15
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This is not a genuine Tajong hilt - very likely an Indo copy.

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Old 18th May 2019, 10:22 PM   #16
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Pretty much so David.

During the PBX era, and I think beginning perhaps a little before that, those in the upper levels of society were collecting keris art, and weapon art. Pakubuwana X himself was a very enthusiastic collector, he liked unusual hilts, unusual keris, and he had his palace craftsmen copy weapons from Europe, the Indian Sub-Continent, and other places.

There is no place in Javanese society for a keris that falls outside the normal mode of wear. A great long keris that was unable to be worn in a style that was regarded as acceptable in Javanese society had no place in that society. Javanese nobles could not wander around the streets skewering people lower down in the societal hierarchy in order to test their new kerises, as reportedly the nobles of old Malaya did.

So, although there definitely were long keris made in Central Jawa, they did not form a part of the dress code.

It was not a matter of "just anybody" who could possess a long keris, it was more a matter of who had sufficient disposable income to own a keris for which there was purpose other than to make the possessor feel good. Pretty much the way we operate today. In 19th century Jawa, the whole thing of weapons as art and collectables appears to have begun in the kraton, and from there was picked up by others lower down in the pecking order.

The pamor on this keris is not a pamor that resembles a tambal pamor, it is a tambal pamor, and one of the names for the pamor contained in the applied patches is "koro welang", others might give it as "pandan iris", and there are possibly other names in use also.

However, the component parts of the dress seem to me to resemble the representative styles rather than to be authentic productions of those styles.

As to age of the blade, and separately, age of the complete keris.

I do not consider that I have been generous with my estimate of age, I have given a window of 100 years , beginning yesterday and continuing backwards for 100 years or so. That 100 years encompasses the revival period, which began in about 1975 and was in full swing by the 1980's.

I regard "current era" as the period that is identified by some as "Kemardikan" . I personally do not like this designation of Kemardikan, and if I'm out of step with most others, so be it.

If we are to place origin of this blade into Jawa, we need to identify a possible place of origin, and I cannot. If we regard Madura as a part of Jawa, yes, we can identify a possible place of origin. But I am reluctant to give this keris as a Madura, current era production, for the simple reason that I have not seen a similar keris that I knew had been produced in Madura, and this is the benchmark that I personally use when I give something as "Madura, current era". I prefer to be conservative, rather than to say something is so when I it might not be so.

However, all that said, the surface of this blade does look a lot like a blade that has been treated during the current era.

As to age of the dress. I'm not particularly interested in this. No matter when the dress was made, it is no more than something to house the keris. I doubt that the hilt and wrongko come from the geographic locations that generated these styles, but my measure of their desirability would be their quality, and I cannot really judge this from a photograph.

If one is an antique collector who likes keris, well, obviously the age and authenticity of dress is important, but if one is a collector and student of the keris, age and authenticity of dress comes a very distant second --- something to be considered , perhaps, and often, not even that.
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Old 19th May 2019, 09:53 AM   #17
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Thank you very much for this very interesting and very educative discussion!
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Old 28th May 2019, 02:18 AM   #18
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Greetings guys,

I tend to agree with Kai. Am pretty sure that the Tajong hilt is an Indonesian copy, and thus, fairly current.
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Old 28th May 2019, 09:49 AM   #19
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Thank you for all the comments!

I am a novice in terms of knowledge about the keris. However, I noticed very often that kerises we see today are in most cases mixtures of different elements and influences, to the point it becomes very difficult to point the origin of a keris. So, we have "Balinese" kerises that are in fact Javanese but in a Balinese dress, we have "Buginese" kerises made in Solo and so on...

So a Sumatran keris with a Tajong style hilt, shouldn't come as a surprise.

Or am I wrong in my conclusion as it is based on my ignorance and a flawed observation?!

PS: I am certain this is a fairly new keris (maybe around 50-60 years old as it was in a collection for the last 40+ years).
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Old 28th May 2019, 12:08 PM   #20
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Marius, the component parts that make up a complete keris have always been a case of "mix & match". Always.

Mostly we see Javanese blades in dress from various other places, this is so because Jawa was a major exporter of keris and other weapons, but the people of the Archipelago also moved all over the place, traders, farmers looking for land, craftsmen looking for employment, men marrying into a different society, women marrying into a different society, mercenaries hired by lords both great and small. So, movement of trade goods, and movement of people.

The various societies and groups of people did not stay in separate, exclusive little groups. They mixed.

Trade goods moved from one place to another.

Where a society or a group within a society --- such as a kraton and its members --- had influence over a society, keris tended to be uniform in their various component parts, or at least in their dress styles. But the further you get from the influence of a kraton, the greater the variation in the component parts of a keris.

In small, isolated groups of people, such as fishing villages or isolated farming communities you will often find complete keris that have been made up from component parts that come from every point of the compass.

I think that it is perhaps an almost universal desire of keris collectors to have all component parts of a keris matching the geographic point of origin. But in the real world things are a bit different to this.

In Bali, what we find is that the pusaka keris or krises held by a family are quite often Javanese keris, in Balinese dress, certainly, but the blades are Javanese.

This keris under discussion here is not really a very old keris, so what I have just written does not apply to it, but in general terms, and stretching back into time, it is not at all uncommon to see both blades and dress components mixed.
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Old 28th May 2019, 05:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
This keris under discussion here is not really a very old keris, so what I have just written does not apply to it, but in general terms, and stretching back into time, it is not at all uncommon to see both blades and dress components mixed.

I certainly have no argument with anything that Alan has said here, but feel it is important to emphasize this last sentence since, after all, it is THIS keris that Marius has brought to us and asked questions about.
I do really like this blade Marius and yes, i believe it is of the contemporary era. Malaysian keris are not my forte, but since a couple of others have chimed in that they feel the tajong hilt on this keris is relative new and not carved by a Malaysian i will tend to agree with my first suspicion. While Alan is completely correct about how and why various mixed dress keris have come into being over the centuries, i believe what we have here is a relatively new ensemble that has simply been dressed in a mix of relatively new parts that very possibly were all made in Jawa. I think that is quite a different thing from the scenario that Alan has described for keris that have actually seen a societal life in places isolated from centers of keraton power.
One thing i have noted with modern era keris making is a tendency to homogenized keris form across the archipelago. I have seen many new blades that mix elements for different areas of keris making and it is becoming more difficult with some of these new forms to easily identify their place of origin. Frankly i find this a bit sad, but maybe that is just me. I suppose when this keris was assembled that they saw nothing wrong with placing a blade with many Javanese indicators into a sheath that is somewhat Palembang with a hilt that is clearly meant to be a Malaysian form. I know a lot of Malaysian collectors who would particularly scream over this since the tajong form is rather specific to both the type of sheath and blade that it belongs with. And many of them are not too fond of Javanese and Madurese made copies of their traditional Malay hilt form.
All this said, this is your keris now and you should dress it as you will and see fit. For my own personal sensibilities i would probably swap out the tajong hilt for something more appropriate for the keris panjang form as i already showed since that is a pretty easy "fix". But i don't thing anyone would blame you for keeping it as is. It's still a beautiful keris in my eyes.
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Old 28th May 2019, 08:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
A nice piece but not suitable for an old-fashioned colector like myself...


Have to say the same for myself. I think that the keris in question was created in Madura. Like said, not my cup of tea. And I doubt a little bit the age of 40 years.

Regards,
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Old 28th May 2019, 09:29 PM   #23
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Perceptive Detlef, but it is wise not to forget that Madura is a part of East Jawa, and these days, connected by a bridge. Things that at one time might have been thought of in exclusively Madura terms, have, for as long as I have been going to Jawa, and for a considerable period prior to that, perhaps have been better thought of as 'Jawa Timur'.

David, I am not suggesting that this keris under discussion is not just as you comment. However, in respect of these kingfisher hilts appearing on blades other than one specific form, and with scabbards other than one specific form, I have had, and I think I still do have, examples of complete keris that have been together for lengthy periods of time and that do have this hilt form coupled with other than the correct component parts. The combination in mine, and in others I have seen, is usually with a Bugis style wrongko, and at least in mine, with the hilt firmly in place but back to front.
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Old 29th May 2019, 12:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
David, I am not suggesting that this keris under discussion is not just as you comment. However, in respect of these kingfisher hilts appearing on blades other than one specific form, and with scabbards other than one specific form, I have had, and I think I still do have, examples of complete keris that have been together for lengthy periods of time and that do have this hilt form coupled with other than the correct component parts. The combination in mine, and in others I have seen, is usually with a Bugis style wrongko, and at least in mine, with the hilt firmly in place but back to front.

Alan, i have no doubt that you have keris with a Bugis style wrongko and a tajong hilt. I have also occasionally seen such a combination, though the vast majority of tajong keris i have seen use the more traditional sheath form. And you must admit that just because such a combo may have been married for some time there is no telling exactly how and why this came to be or if such a keris was ever worn in a cultural way or if it simple came together this way in a dealer's back room. I realize that for both you and myself, Keris of the Malaysian Peninsula and Southern Thailand are not our focus of attention, but if you have paid any attention at all to our Malaysian membership on the topic, Tajong is a bit of a serious business and Malaysians tend to be rather critical of such "misinformed" combinations as well as tajong hilts that are made outside if the Peninsula. In fact some seem to view these Jawa and Madura carved tajong as a bit of cultural appropriation. Most tajong keris i have seen that are considered by Malaysian collectors as "real" are indeed dressed with the more traditional sheath and the majority tend to have pandai saras blades, though sometimes some other form of Malay blades do often appear. Though never have i seen such a combo with a panjang. Yes, we all know that strange things do indeed happen across the archipelago, but i don't see how informing Marius of the oddness of such a combination is incorrect simply because sometimes odd combination happen, especially since everything seems to point to the unlikelihood that his combination was ever one that would have been serviceable in a societal context.
I know you are aware of what the proper tajong dress looks like, but here is a link for those who may be wondering.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=tajong
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Old 29th May 2019, 01:05 AM   #25
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Agreed.
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Old 29th May 2019, 04:59 AM   #26
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Very, very interesting!
Thank you again for this very educative discussion!
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Old 29th May 2019, 05:40 AM   #27
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Yes, David, tajong are nobility hilts and expected to come with suitable attire. Granted, also nobility can fall on hard times and tajong scabbards are pretty fragile.

MariusĎ hilt is not a proper tajong hilt though and the whole ensemble may be regarded as modern art. However, the quality of this hilt is quite poor IMHO and a tapa kuda hilt would look much nicer. Considering the blade, a large Sumatran-style planar hilt might be an even better fit - very difficult to obtain though!

Marius, Iím also wondering about the 40+ assertion. Any good evidence?

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Old 29th May 2019, 09:21 AM   #28
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It is interesting to notice how we have become more tolerant or even appreciative with this type of modern & mixed kris over the years. I think that 10 years ago most of us would have designated this piece as a KLO (kris-like object) in spite of the impressive blade.
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 29th May 2019 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 29th May 2019, 10:12 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai

Marius, Iím also wondering about the 40+ assertion. Any good evidence?

Regards,
Kai


No hard evidence.


PS: I haven't seen any other Tajong hilts, but mine is very finely carved, with high detail. I honestly don't think it can go much better than this. Maybe the photos are not good enough but the carving quality of the hilt is top... in my opinion.
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Old 29th May 2019, 08:09 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
It is interesting to notice how we have become more tolerant or even appreciative with this type of modern & mixed kris over the years. I think that 10 years ago most of us would have designated this piece as a KLO (kris-like object) in spite of the impressive blade.
Regards

I guess i must be an old guard traditionalist Jean because i am not being particularly tolerant of this ensemble myself, as you have probably noticed. I actually find this homogenizing trend i believe i am seeing across Indonesian cultures a bit disturbing in fact. This aside from the odd mixes that have always taken place from time to time as Alan has described that actually were actively present on a societal context. This particular mix, however, is one i have a hard time seeing as something that would have found acceptance within any cultural structure.
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