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Old 18th November 2018, 12:02 PM   #1
chiefheadknocker
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Default Ivory hilted keris for discussion and id please

Hi all , I picked this keris up this morning at a local antique fair , I believe the hilt is ivory , as you can see its been nicely carved but sadly has a crack through it which has been badly glued back , any information regarding age and origin would be gladly accepted .
Thanks
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Old 18th November 2018, 02:04 PM   #2
Jean
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Hello,
The ivory hilt is in donoriko style from Madura and probably about 100 years old. The scabbard is in Solo (Central Java) style, and the blade looks Javanese.
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Old 18th November 2018, 04:12 PM   #3
chiefheadknocker
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Hi jean thanks for your reply , im a real novice in this area , would you say that the hilt is original to the blade and scabbard also there are gem stones of some type attached ,are this precious stones or just coloured glass maybe ?
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Old 18th November 2018, 04:58 PM   #4
GIO
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The stones attached to the metal cup (called MENDAK) are most probably made of glass. At the best low quality natural stones.
The blade is very well preserved. I would estimate that it has much less than 100 years, but Jean is more experienced and knowledgeable than I.
Nice keris b.t.w.
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Old 18th November 2018, 06:10 PM   #5
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Hi gio , thanks for your info , the blade does look well preserved but when I first pulled it out its scabbard the blade was covered in what looked like a type of grease that had set almost hard i expect this has stopped it rusting over the years
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Old 18th November 2018, 08:20 PM   #6
A. G. Maisey
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Jean, I'm going to vary a little in my opinion of this keris.

I will reserve comment on the hilt.

The blade is not Javanese, it is Madura, the tells are the kembang kacang, the relatively long point, the greneng, the way in which the material has been handled, the pawakan. It is fairly recent, I think possibly 1980's, but it could be +/- 1900 - 1940. Not any older, unlikely to be any younger. Yes, stylistically it is reminiscent of a Javanese blade, but it is not of Javanese manufacture.

The wrongko is certainly Solo in overall form, but this form has now become more or less the Indonesian national form, I believe this wrongko was made in East Jawa, probably Surabaya, the pendok is from the same area.

As to the question of "originality" , this is a concept that is really only of any importance to collectors in the western world. For keris, and especially keris in Javanese society, it is completely irrelevant. It is nice if we can have a keris where the blade fits well to the top part (gambar) of the scabbard (warongko), but even that does not guarantee that the warongko (wrongko) was made specifically for that keris. Then there is the fact that many keris, particularly high quality keris, highly regarded keris will have a number of wrongkos, each to fit a particular purpose, and along with those wrongkos, hilts (jejeran, ukiran) to accompany the various wrongkos. We need to understand the way in which to think about this situation. In the Javanese mind, only the blade is the keris, only the blade encapsulates the masculine element. The scabbard has a feminine nature, the hilt has a guardian nature, neither male nor female, but both. Just as a man has a number of women, so the keris can have a number of scabbards, and some of those scabbards may have previously belonged to a different keris, just as a beautiful or intelligent woman may have previously belonged to a different man.

We cannot think about keris in a similar way to the way in which we think about other weapons.
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Old 19th November 2018, 01:06 AM   #7
Anthony G.
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nice keris
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Old 19th November 2018, 08:47 AM   #8
Jean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
The blade is not Javanese, it is Madura, the tells are the kembang kacang, the relatively long point, the greneng, the way in which the material has been handled, the pawakan. It is fairly recent, I think possibly 1980's, but it could be +/- 1900 - 1940. Not any older, unlikely to be any younger. Yes, stylistically it is reminiscent of a Javanese blade, but it is not of Javanese manufacture.


Hello Alan,
Thank you for your detailed expert opinion, I was not certain about the Javanese origin but the blade features were not specific enough for me to assume that it could be Madurese. I concur with your age estimate although I also could not tell myself.
Regards
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Old 19th November 2018, 09:19 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your comments ,some great insight into this piece , just one question is that the ivory hilt does look older than the blade do you think is the case or maybe made at the same time ? I have added a few more pics of the hilt
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Old 19th November 2018, 11:16 AM   #10
A. G. Maisey
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I reserved comment on the hilt because of one very specific reason:- I am not able to judge just how old, or how genuine this hilt might be from a photo.

One thing that is done with old ivory hilts is that they are re-carved --- ie, the original carving is deepened and "refreshed", then the hilt is artificially patinated. I cannot see the tells for this in a photo.

The far more dangerous falsification is something that has been going on spasmodically for a long time, I mean like more than 30 years, maybe longer, and that is that bone, and occasionally ivory, but mostly bone is very carefully joined to hide the porous ends, and then it is carved in old style to a very high standard and artificially patinated. I've been fooled by both these things when I've had the hilt in my hand, I would not even consider giving an opinion from a photo. I don't get fooled any more, because I've seen a lot of these falsifications now, and I know what to look for, but there is no way I would give an opinion either one way or the other on the basis of a photo.
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