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Old 29th May 2019, 09:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
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.

Marius, i don't feel that i can make any comments on the quality of you tajong hilt or even say for sure that it is a Javanese copy based solely upon the photos that you have presented. Other here more familiar with the form do seem to have been able to say more. That said however, i will say that the tajong form at the peak of its craft can be extremely high end in its carving and detail. I would recommend the you get a hold of the book Spirit of Wood if you are interested in seeing what i mean. While the carving on you hilt probably is very nice i would suspect that it probably is possible that there are indeed tajong hilts that are at a much higher quality level than the one you have on this ensemble.
But it would be nice to see some better, more detailed photos of it if you feel you would like to post some. They might help determine the actual origin of the hilt better than what you have already provided.
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Old 29th May 2019, 11:42 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
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David, I do not regard the mix & match thing with keris as a "homogenising" trend, this is not recent, it has been like this for a very long time, probably hundreds of years.

Where we get the influence of a kraton, or perhaps even of a large group of people, we find a certain standardisation of dress, but even when dress becomes standardised, blades can come from anywhere.

I'm not talking about Marius' keris here, my remarks are directed at keris in general.

From at least Majapahit times, keris and other weapons were exported all over SE Asia as items of trade. For 2000 years or more people have moved from one place to another all over SE Asia.

I have had a keris interest for around 65 years, and I started my interest with a small collection that had been put together beginning in about 1919. At age 30 I had put together around 3000 keris. Over all the time I have been interested in keris and have collected them I have regularly found blades that are identifiable with one area, in dress that is identifiable with a different area.

It is of course true that we can only see the result of component parts of a keris being mixed, we do not know who actually did the mixing. Frankly, this does not trouble me in the slightest, the heart of a complete keris is the keris itself, the wilah, the blade, the dress is only that which covers it, exactly the same as clothes cover a man. The scabbard is female in nature, the hilt is protective in nature.

In my thinking, if a man is free from societal restriction, how he dresses his keris is totally up to him. But the question remains:- who did the mix? This of course generates another question:- why should it be important if the mix was done in one place or another, or by one person or another?

For a student of the keris the only really important thing is the keris itself, not what covers it.

Because of its protective nature the hilt can also be important.

But the scabbard, or wrongko, or warangka, or sarung is a female element, it means no more than a wife does to a man. A man might have a number of wives, either all at the one time or serially. If a man has, say, 4 wives at the same time, he will normally select the most suitable wife as his companion depending upon the need. If he has married serially and has had, say, a Swedish wife, then an Irish wife, then a Javanese wife, and then a Chinese wife, he has simply changed his wife in accordance with his changing needs in life.

It is the same with a keris:- the dress we find a keris in has been given to it to suit its needs, and since that keris is virtually certain to have a much longer life than its scabbard, when eventually the present scabbard is changed for a new one, the new scabbard will fit the need at that time.

It may seem strange to draw a parallel between a man and keris, but it is not.

The keris represents the male element, just as the scabbard represents the female element. Do we value a man less because he has an Italian wife rather than a Japanese wife? I would hope not. Do we value a keris less because it has a Balinese scabbard rather than a Javanese scabbard? Again, I would hope not. As with people, the things that really count are quality and fitness for purpose. In both cases.
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Old 30th May 2019, 09:06 AM   #33
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Again thank you for the very educative comments!

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