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Old 25th March 2005, 08:25 AM   #1
samsol
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Default Keris Found From A shipwreck

During excavation in 'Wanli' shipwreck(wanli is the project name and not for the ship), one keris was found. I believed that Portuegese was hired a Malay as a pilot on the ship before it sunk. The ship was sunk in Malaysian waters around 1630 and a lot of porcelain included kraak ware was found from the ship. Please help me to identify this keris and thank you in advance for your helps.
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Last edited by samsol : 25th March 2005 at 09:47 AM. Reason: add pictures
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Old 25th March 2005, 08:49 AM   #2
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Hi Samsol,

You need to post some pictures in order for us to help you ID the keris. You can do so using the "Attach Files" function when you post a new message.
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Old 25th March 2005, 09:13 AM   #3
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Default Keris from Wreck

This is exciting. I've always wondered what a dateable blade from that period would look like
Hope the pictures come up soon
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Old 25th March 2005, 04:08 PM   #4
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Samsol,

Is that the keris mentioned in this press release?

http://www.terengganutourism.com/press%20release3.htm

Been waiting to see pictures of it and it doesn't seem "long" as mentioned in the releases (described as a "long keris"). What are the measurements? Looks a touch of Bugis?
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Old 25th March 2005, 04:45 PM   #5
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So far, I've only seen Sumatran kerises with rattan bound around the lower part of the batang. But without seeing the original sampir (corroded away) and the blade, its really a big question mark.
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Old 25th March 2005, 05:40 PM   #6
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Why is it believed that this ship was made in the Philippines? Is these any way to post the X-rays & any dimensions of whatever possible. When first found they were refering to this as a sundang, now a keris, which for all purpose is the same, I guess. Seems from what is available to be more a Moro Kris or Bugis Sundang.
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Old 25th March 2005, 06:18 PM   #7
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Cool! Combines two interests of mine at once, Archeology (especially marine) and, of course, keris. I think Blu might be on to something with a Sumatran attribution, but the blade could very well be a Javanese one in Sumatran dress. Not much to go on from the illustrations.
I agree with John that it doesn't appear particularly long, but the pictures could be deceptive. It doesn't appear to be a sundang. Bill, do you have a link to the releases that referred to it as such? I would have to disagree that a sundang and a keris are the same thing for all purposes, as you say. Kissing cousins, perhaps. Also, i don't see anywhere where the ship is said to have been made in the Philippines. Is that also from the early report you saw?
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Old 25th March 2005, 07:38 PM   #8
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Well, I'll admit I'm confused.

That third illustration looks like an x-ray view of a 9 or 11 luk blade inside the sheath. Am I the only one who sees it? All the comments I'm reading suggest that either no one else is seeing the posted pictures, or that I'm interpreting the last two in a dramatically different way than everyone else is.

What does everyone else see in the last two images?

Fearn
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Old 25th March 2005, 07:45 PM   #9
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Think this must be the wreck that was mentioned awhile back, when it was first announced, it was mentioned in this forum. Seen the "Keris Sundang" label quite abit, think its even on a Malay postage stamp. Wonder why its being refered to as a Portuguese ship built in the PI, not doubting the experts, just interested in, why? Seems more likely the Portuguese would have seized the ship in an engagement or outright pirated it, than commissioned it. In this time period Spain & Portuguese had a treaty dividing the PI for Spain, & Celebes, Spice Islands to the later; but they both constantly violated thier agreement. Early Bugis did rely on the PI for its boat building so it does make sence the Portuguese in Celebes might do the same.
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Old 25th March 2005, 10:18 PM   #10
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Hello Kerislovers,

its nice to see an old dateable keris but the seawater doen`t left much. From our old collections of the so called curiosity chambers of the nobles of good old Europe we have keris blades and sheaths in almost new condition from the 17th century. A must therfore is the book of:

Karsten Sejr Jensen 1998 Den Indonesiske kris - et symbolladet vaben

written in Danish ISSN 0108-707X. The evidence of their age are the old records of aquisition. On page 113 and 119 there are identical rattan binding of the sheath. The practice of rattan binding of goloks is still used inTorajaland. But I don`t believe this kerisses coming from Sulawesi. We just dont know how the Javanese kerisses before the 17th cent. has been looking. The blades are much better then the blades from Sulawesi or Sumatera and I`m almost sure they came from Java. The most interresting collection is in Dresden, Germany, Stockholm, Sweden, the Medici collection in Italy, Ethnographical Museum and in the Deutsch Orden Museum in Vienna, Austria. Al together I guess in Europe we have about 60 pieces from the 17th and 18th century and all well preserved. We have tried to find out about kerisses in Portugal but failed. But I know there are some. Its time for the proffesionals to make a real research.
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Old 25th March 2005, 11:45 PM   #11
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Fearn, if you look at the very bottom of the initial post you will see that the photos were not added for a couple of hours after the first posting. The first respondents did not, indeed, see the pics before posting. I think we all see the keris outline in the x-rays now.
Bill, a keris sundang is a very particular type of keris and i don't think this is one. While the linked article states they believe the ship was Portuguese, i see no mention of a PI origin there. Where are you getting this reference from?
Empu Kumis makes a good point that we don't really know exactly what the dress on really early keris looked liked. Rattan wrap wrongko may have been all the rage in Jawa at the time.
Also, i'm not sure finding this blade aboard is necessarily evidence that a Malay salior was onboard. This keris could very well have been collected by a Portuguese salior as a keepsake or prize.
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Old 26th March 2005, 01:19 AM   #12
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http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.asp...rticleid=132029 think this must be the same wreck, several news items have been released about it. Malays did sail on the European ships, both as pilots & translators. Many were "slaved" when needed, but doubt that they would be allowed a keris. Is the drawing from an X-ray? Would it not be better to cut the sheath in half & see what could be preserved of the blade or is it just going to crumble. Length of the sheath would be nice.
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Old 26th March 2005, 02:19 AM   #13
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Default x-RAY FILM

Thank you for all coments and views. This is the x-ray film taken by Malaysian Institute For Nuclear Technology Research.
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Last edited by samsol : 26th March 2005 at 03:03 AM. Reason: edit size picture
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Old 26th March 2005, 02:32 AM   #14
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Default Measurements of the keris

this is the picture taken before and after clearance.
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Old 26th March 2005, 02:55 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting the pics. If that is around 33cm, its not all that long. The X-ray makes it look like rattan all the way to the end, as well the X-ray pic makes the sheath look even more Bugis like. Any good sites with details of the work?
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Old 26th March 2005, 03:02 AM   #16
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The sogokan depan and belakang and the style of the luk made the blade look quite Javanese...
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Old 26th March 2005, 03:43 AM   #17
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Dear Samsol,

Could you tell us where the wreck is located? It will give a clue as to the Malays on the ship. Also has the nationality of the wreck been identified? Is it Portuguese? Dutch? This too can give a clue as during that time in the 17th Century the Portuguese and Dutch were at each other throats and they had Malay Allies - Johor was very closely allied to the Dutch while some Sumatran States were allied to the Portuguese. So knowing these things can help us with a little pin-pointing.

Was the hilt found? I would assume that you took note of all the items on site - was there any two - three inch statue like carving of wood or ivory near the keris or remnants of it? That would be really interesting to see. Hopefully it's there but mislabeled. That too would be an important clue.

I read the article Bill posted but what makes the interviewee say it's a ship built in the Philippines and by the Portuguese at that. The Portugese may have explored part of the Philippines but I think they never settled there. They went to Ternate (Moluccas) and Ambon - further south - unless he is referring to a Spanish galleon built in the Philippines. But I always thought that the Spanish ships crossing the Pacific were built in Mexico.

Eupu Kumis recommendation is really good - The Karsten book - it's really great in giving us a window into the keris of the 16 - 17th century. But - Empu Kumis - why do you say we don't really know what the javanese blades look like. If Karsten is an example of Keris in the 17th century I think we have a good view. The keris of the 17th century look broader and much studier than present day keris. In fact some of the pieces in Karsten - If I did not know their origin, I would swear are Peninsular pieces - which leave me the theory that Malay and Balinese keris give a more accurate view of what the old keris are like in that given that the Malay world and Bali was in conflict till the early 20th century - there was much less modification to the battle-worthiness of keris design as compared to Java which was pacified by the Dutch from the Early 18th century. empu Kumis - remember the Sendai keris in Japan.

The bottom of the sampir of the keris do match the examples in Karsten and what is interesting is that only the examples identified as Markarssar (The Bugis) in Karsten have the Rattan. Given the fact that at that time they were active competitors with the Dutch - they would have helped the Portuguese once in a while so we could be seeing an early bugis piece - but it should not distract from the fact that it could also be Malay. What is interesting is that present keris with Malay style sampir and dress but with rattan at the bottom are consider work of the Bugis dispora or very heavily influenced by the Bugis. You don't see much rattan in pieces from Suluwesi now.

We have a really great item here. The keris is a lok 13 - though this keris seems to have more slender proportions than those in Karsten. Very interesting.
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Old 26th March 2005, 04:45 AM   #18
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This is from the link John posted; {Department director-general Datuk Dr Adi Taha believed the ship belonged to the Portuguese and was heading from China to either Johor, Malacca or Batavia (present-day Jakarta).

He said this was based on the discovery of two broken pieces of a square porcelain bottle with the Portuguese coat-of-arms painted in cobalt blue.} I would think this would only mean that the ship was heading for a Portuguese Port, would think the porcelain would have to of been "ordered" & prepared for shipment previously. If the cannon are Portuguese they could have been gifts, trade, or provided for a ship that is sailing for Portuguese interest. If the ship is proven to be made in the PI, it doesn't seem like a Philippine group would be sailing for the Portuguese, but it is quite possible the Bugis would have had a ship built in the PI, & that they might be sailing for trade with the Portuguese as partner or customer. Will certainly be interesting what will ultimatly be found.
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Old 26th March 2005, 05:58 AM   #19
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Dear Mr Paul de Souza,
The wreck was sunk in Dungun, Terengganu, around 5 nuatica miles from the shore. The wreck was believed as a Portuegese ship .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul de Souza
Dear Samsol,

Could you tell us where the wreck is located? It will give a clue as to the Malays on the ship. Also has the nationality of the wreck been identified? Is it Portuguese? Dutch? This too can give a clue as during that time in the 17th Century the Portuguese and Dutch were at each other throats and they had Malay Allies - Johor was very closely allied to the Dutch while some Sumatran States were allied to the Portuguese. So knowing these things can help us with a little pin-pointing.

Was the hilt found? I would assume that you took note of all the items on site - was there any two - three inch statue like carving of wood or ivory near the keris or remnants of it? That would be really interesting to see. Hopefully it's there but mislabeled. That too would be an important clue.

I read the article Bill posted but what makes the interviewee say it's a ship built in the Philippines and by the Portuguese at that. The Portugese may have explored part of the Philippines but I think they never settled there. They went to Ternate (Moluccas) and Ambon - further south - unless he is referring to a Spanish galleon built in the Philippines. But I always thought that the Spanish ships crossing the Pacific were built in Mexico.

Eupu Kumis recommendation is really good - The Karsten book - it's really great in giving us a window into the keris of the 16 - 17th century. But - Empu Kumis - why do you say we don't really know what the javanese blades look like. If Karsten is an example of Keris in the 17th century I think we have a good view. The keris of the 17th century look broader and much studier than present day keris. In fact some of the pieces in Karsten - If I did not know their origin, I would swear are Peninsular pieces - which leave me the theory that Malay and Balinese keris give a more accurate view of what the old keris are like in that given that the Malay world and Bali was in conflict till the early 20th century - there was much less modification to the battle-worthiness of keris design as compared to Java which was pacified by the Dutch from the Early 18th century. empu Kumis - remember the Sendai keris in Japan.

The bottom of the sampir of the keris do match the examples in Karsten and what is interesting is that only the examples identified as Markarssar (The Bugis) in Karsten have the Rattan. Given the fact that at that time they were active competitors with the Dutch - they would have helped the Portuguese once in a while so we could be seeing an early bugis piece - but it should not distract from the fact that it could also be Malay. What is interesting is that present keris with Malay style sampir and dress but with rattan at the bottom are consider work of the Bugis dispora or very heavily influenced by the Bugis. You don't see much rattan in pieces from Suluwesi now.

We have a really great item here. The keris is a lok 13 - though this keris seems to have more slender proportions than those in Karsten. Very interesting.
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Old 26th March 2005, 08:10 AM   #20
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Hello Kerislovers,
Dear Paul,

I don`t have forgotten the keris of Sendai but I said we don`know the kerisses before the 17th cent. All we have are the oral tradition which I do not trust very much. The construct of tangguh has many questions and could only taken as as an circumstantial evidence not as full evidence.

The wooden hull of the ship must be a very clear evidence where the ship was build.

I have forgotten to mention the pictures from the National Museum in Copenhagen.

http://www.kunstkammer.dk/Ostindisk...iske.asp?ID=203

http://www.kunstkammer.dk/Ostindisk...iske.asp?ID=223

http://www.kunstkammer.dk/Ostindisk...iske.asp?ID=224

This pictures are also very important for the handles.
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Old 26th March 2005, 01:13 PM   #21
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As Paul mentioned materials for a possible hilt, if it is Bugis, there would be a good chance that it could have been Buffalo horn. 400 years of salt water would likely have dissolved that.
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Old 26th March 2005, 05:16 PM   #22
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Thanks for the links EK. Nice pictures.
A close examination of the hull construction would give clues as to WHO built the boat, but the materials themselves, including ID of the type of woods used would give a better idea of WHERE it was built.
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Old 26th March 2005, 05:49 PM   #23
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Old 26th March 2005, 07:24 PM   #24
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One thing to note, the division of SE Asia between Spain and Portugal lasted only until Spain bought out Portugal holdings. I dont have books in front of me, but if memory serves me right that was sometime in the mid to late 16th century. Later the Dutch move in and begin to displace this control, knocking the out of the Spice islands by around 1630. However, while national colonies ebb and flow, individual traders often were able to pass through strict lines (hey Magellan was Portugese). So perhaps the Portugese aspect is less Portugal as nation/colonial power, but rather individual commision, which would explain greater freedom to be in Spanish territory (of course this is counting that the ship was indeed built in PI). As for Bugis commissioning a ship in PI, possibly in the SE, eg. oft disputed Sarangani island, but anything more PI proper would have been difficult. Even this is difficult as the 16th century is a period of consolidation for groups in PI. Spain is consolidating its northern island colonies, Mindanao is consolidating under Sultan Kudurat and his father, Sulu's borders are also in flux. There is plenty of turmoil going on to make foreign trade dangerous, though it is not inconceivable a single rich trader could have something commissioned, but then if that trader was Bugis, why all the Portugese hallaballoo symbols. Then again, while the ship may have been built in PI, doesnt mean the crew would have been from PI perse. A rich foreign trader could have brought his crew with him. Also trade ports are full of foreigners, a recruiter would not have had a difficult time finding a crew of individuals who are looking for a way home, and willing to serve on a ship heading in the same direction. Malays from Brunei, ternate, and elsewhere would have been just a common occurence as Bugis. Anyways, just some ideas to chew on.
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Old 28th March 2005, 02:03 PM   #25
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A Philippine, Bugis, & Portuegese connection all seems to be feasible. The Dutch are successfull in Celebes/Moluccas because they are buisnessmen only concered about the bottom line. The Portuegese have a budgit that may vary quite some from year to year depending on the priority of Portuegese government. One of the top trade items to China would be spices, sandlewood, etc from Celebes/Moluccas area. C. Macknight's paper 81 "Early history of South Sulawesi" shows dramatic drop in Chinese tradeware around 1500 (my opinion the fall of Malacca, latter the Spanish attack on Brunei should damage this trade also). I would think early 17thC. goods from Celebes to China would reap conciderable profits. MacKnight's paper also refers to the role the "Bajau" play in early Philippine/Sulawesi trade & suggests regular direct trade. After Dutch rule the Bugis will have boats built by a Mindanao group (Samal?) in Borneo. The Samal have a strong presence already in Celebes, so they may already have competent shipbuilders there or could easily send for them. Seems plausible a Portuegese buisnessman or even a official government venture would put a deal together like this, moderate investment with potential for huge profit.
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Old 28th March 2005, 02:24 PM   #26
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a Makassarese connection may even be more likely as they would have been dominate power early 17thC Sulawesi as the Bugis groups have been in constant wars with each other. The Makassarese also have strong connections with the Philippines.
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Old 28th March 2005, 03:05 PM   #27
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If you have problems with the Danish texts, let me know, and I will give it a try.

Jens
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Old 29th March 2005, 04:18 AM   #28
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Now here is a third twist. Letsay we assume the timber found on the ship is indeed native to PI. Any thoughts on the feasibility that it could have been A. traded lumber (not unheard of, though depending on ship design possibly difficult)
B. a seized ship that was retrofitted for its new owners including nifty new Portugese emblems?
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