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Old 11th September 2020, 04:27 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default I'd Like to Learn More About This Peninsula(???) Keris

Keris Forum Members,

I recently attended a swap meet where I picked up some very unique (to my eye) kerises. I am hoping you can help me learn more about what I am assuming here is a peninsula keris. It has some unique features including added sterling silver quality inserts on the handle and silver ganja, along with a nicely worked silver pendoko. The blade is non-contrasting pamor steel.

I will show the others I picked up in later, separate, threads.

Thanks for any input on this keris type.
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Old 11th September 2020, 04:38 PM   #2
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http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26140

A starting point. I would love to know more as well.
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Old 11th September 2020, 05:36 PM   #3
Peter Andeweg
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Interesting keris,
Coming from Sumatra. The antropomorphic hilt is called Jawa-Demam and typical for the Palembang and Minankabau region. The scabbard and blade are in Panjang style, usually called execution keris. The shape of the blade, the wranka and lower end of the gandar. The silver ganja is quite unusual.
The ornamentation on the hilt seem to be of a kind of silver allow which is riveted on all corners? Usually these hilts are decorated with carved floral motives or limbs, but not with this many added decoration, which could be of slightly later date in order of the fashion of the owner.

All the best, Peter
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Old 11th September 2020, 09:23 PM   #4
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Old 11th September 2020, 11:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Andeweg
The scabbard and blade are in Panjang style, usually called execution keris.

Peter, i'd like to know the blade length. I suspect this keris might well be anak alang, not panjang.
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Old 11th September 2020, 11:23 PM   #6
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Sorry fellas, I did not realize that this keris had already been examined in a previous thread.
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Old 11th September 2020, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Sorry fellas, I did not realize that this keris had already been examined in a previous thread.

No worries Charles.It was fairly recently actually. You should scan our forum more often. LOL!
I could simply merge the two threads.
In the meantime i'd still love to know how long the blade is.
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Old 12th September 2020, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
In the meantime, I'd still love to know how long the blade is.


Thanks for your input, David. The blade is 16in. overall, and like you, I do not believe it was meant to be a panjang.

Last edited by CharlesS : 13th September 2020 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 12th September 2020, 11:29 PM   #9
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I remember this keris from a recent auction.

I too am curious.
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Old 13th September 2020, 12:28 AM   #10
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The terms "keris panjang" (ie, "long keris") & "executioner keris" are a western collector invention.

A "keris Bangkalan" is a keris from Bangkalan that has a blade between 49 - 68cm.

These Bangkalan keris were copied by makers from Bangka, Belitung and Kampar, but these copies were shorter than the Bangkalan keris and usually only measured 42 - 45cm. These Bangkinang keris and especially the copies were taken into Sumatera by salesmen (pedagang), Bangkinang was a transit point/crossroads for salesmen from Sumatera and Malaya. It is possible that some were made locally in Sumatera, but looking at the record of keris blade manufacture and usage in Sumatera this seems unlikely, it is more likely that blades were taken into Sumatera and dressed there.

These copies became very popular with seamen and because of this they came to be known as "Keris Bahari" --- "bahari" is an Arab word that means something associated with the sea.

In Brunei and some other parts of SE Asia these "long keris" were known as "Keris Penyalang". I used to know a gentleman from Brunei who understood a "Keris Penyalang" to indicate a keris used in executions, but I do not know the meaning of "penyalang", it seems to indicate something crossways or at an angle.
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Old 13th September 2020, 07:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
T
A "keris Bangkalan" is a keris from Bangkalan that has a blade between 49 - 68cm.


Hello Alan,
Bangkalan or Bangkinang? (a city in the inland Riau province).
Regards
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Old 13th September 2020, 08:04 AM   #12
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I may be wrong, but I seem to recall words like "transfix" and "piercing through" in association with "penyalang". It's possible I read this in some 19th-early 20th C. journal of the Malaysian branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. It was a graphically detailed eyewitness account, written by an Englishman, of a trial conducted by Malay "chiefs" on a hill called Penyalang, and the keris execution which followed. I've only ever encountered the word "penyalang" in the context of execution by keris, or in reference to a keris panjang.
Just as an aside, Google Translator gave "crossword puzzle" as the English translation of "penyalang" from Malay.

Postscript:
http://prpm.dbp.gov.my/cari1?keyword=penyalang

Kamus Bahasa Melayu

penyalang

[pe.nya.lang] | ڤڽالڠ

Definisi : ; keris ~ keris yg digunakan utk menyalang; tempat ~ bahagian di antara tulang selangka dgn leher (tempat menyalang). (Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat)

The English translation of the above (according to Google Translator):
Malay Dictionary

Penyalang

[pe.nya.lang] | ڤڽالڠ

Definitions:; kris ~ kris used for crossing; place ~ the part between the collarbone and the neck (crossing place). (Fourth Edition Board Dictionary)

From: https://ceb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukit_Penyalang
Bungtod ang Bukit Penyalang sa Malaysiya.[1] Nahimutang ni sa estado sa Melaka, sa kasadpang bahin sa nasod, 90 km sa habagatan-sidlakan sa Kuala Lumpur ang ulohan sa nasod. 53 metros ibabaw sa dagat kahaboga ang nahimutangan sa Bukit Penyalang.[saysay 1]

English translation of the above text:
Bukit Penyalang is a hill in Malaysia. [1] It is located in the state of Melaka, in the western part of the country, 90 km southeast of Kuala Lumpur the country's capital. Bukit Penyalang is located 53 meters above sea level. [Citation needed]

According to https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q30612166
The location of Bukit Penyalang: 2°27'4"N, 102°10'59"E

Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
Vol. 29, No. 4 (176) (1956), p. 80
k. penyalang, "executioner's", usually straight, originally used for capital punishment in Java, Sumatra and the Peninsula states.

And finally, thanks to MandarinMansion.com, the eyewitness account of a keris execution in:
Thomas John Newbold; Political and statistical account of the British settlements in the Straits of Malacca, Vol I, J. Murray, 1839. Pages 236-238.

"The last sentence of death passed by Abdul Syed (or Dholl Syed), the ex-Panghúlu, was on a Quedah man, named Sali, in 1805. This Malay had carried off from Malacca two Chinese slaves, a man and a woman; meeting some resistance from the former, he murdered him with his kris, in the forest of Londu, and proceeded with the woman to Pila, in Srimenanti, where he sold her as a slave.

The present superintendent of Naning, Mr, Westerhout, who was an eye-witness, described to me the ceremony of his trial and execution. The criminal was conducted, bound, to Bukit Penialang, or "Execution Hill," near Tabu. The Panghúlu, the Ampat Suku, the twelve Panglimas, the Bandahara, and the Makdum, were all seated in judgment, under a cluster of Tambuseh trees, on the skirt of the hill.

The witnesses were brought forward, and examined by the Panghulu himself. The evidence against the prisoner being deemed conclusive, according to the forms of the Mohammedan law, he was sentenced, agreeably to the Adat Menángkábowe, to pay one Bhar, equivalent to 24 Sp. drs. 30 cents.) or to suffer (salang) death by the kris.

Being unable to pay the fine, preparations were made for his immediate execution. The grave was dug on the spot, and he was placed, firmly bound in a sitting posture, literally on its brink. For further security, two panglimas sat on each side, while the Panglima Besar Sumun unsheathed the weapon that was to terminate the mortal existence of the trembling wretch.

On the point of the poniard, the kris panjang, the panglima carefully placed a pledget of soft cotton, which he pressed against the man's breast, a little above the right collar-bone. He then slowly passed the weapon's point through the cotton, on which he kept the fingers of his left hand firmly pressed, in a direction obliquely to the left into his body, until the projection of the hilt stopped its farther progress. The weapon was then slowly withdrawn, the panglima still retaining the cotton in its place by the pressure of his fingers, so as to staunch effectually all external effusion of blood.

The criminal, shuddering convulsively, was immediately precipitated into the grave; but on making signs for water, was raised. He had barely time to apply his lips to the cocoa-nut- shell in which it was brought, when he fell back into the grave quite dead. The earth was then hastily thrown over the body, and the assembly dispersed."
J.B. Westerhout, 1805

Last edited by Mickey the Finn : 13th September 2020 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Additional information; grammar.
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Old 13th September 2020, 09:17 AM   #13
A. G. Maisey
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Yes Jean, that is so.

and

Thank you Mickey.

So as a word "penyalang" is simply the name of type of keris in Malaysia, and a place name, no actual meaning as a stand alone word. This is in accord with my understanding, but the "pen" prefix would seem to permit it to stand alone.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 13th September 2020 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 13th September 2020, 10:38 AM   #14
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It seems to me that the name "keris alang" is used in Malaysia (and perhaps East Sumatra?) to identify a kris similar to the keris bahari (blade length about 30 cm) and the keris panjang (blade length about 55 cm) with a scabbard in dua hari bulan (moon crescent) style, but with a intermediate blade length of about 40 cm. Other opinions from Malaysian members (where are you guys?) are welcome.
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Old 13th September 2020, 11:33 AM   #15
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Great stuff here! Thanks guys!
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Old 13th September 2020, 11:57 AM   #16
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Jean, I am not literate in Malay, you probably know that BI and Malay are mutually intelligible, but when we dig a little below the surface there are differences. Thus, I tend to rely on Wilkinson for clarification of Malay words that I do not understand.

"alang" does appear in Wilkinson and has a lot of applications, one of the Wilkinson applications is:- "keris alang:- a short straight dagger".

So yes, as the K. bahari is somewhat shorter than the original "long keris" I guess you could be right. However, EK gives bahari length as 42 - 45cm, and if a keris alang is only 30cm, then it is shorter again than a bahari.

Incidentally, what i wrote about K. Bangkalan & etc was from memory, I could not recall where I had read it, but I have now found my source, it is EK page 87, and my memory is not so great, because it is a "Keris Bangkinang", not a "Keris Bangkalan", as you so correctly pointed out.

I have no personal opinions in this matter, I have nil field experience in the area from which these keris come, I am only repeating the opinions of others.
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Old 13th September 2020, 01:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

So yes, as the K. bahari is somewhat shorter than the original "long keris" I guess you could be right. However, EK gives bahari length as 42 - 45cm, and if a keris alang is only 30cm, then it is shorter again than a bahari.



Hello Alan,
Yes,the EK page 88 describes the keris bahari as having a blade between 42 to 45 cm long, and on page 64 the keris alang having a blade of about 28 to 32 cm long, so shorter than the bahari and the reverse than what I wrote.
However Harsrinuskmo also writes in the same paragraph of page 64 that "a keris with a blade longer than 32 cm is usually called Keris Java"
Actually the names keris alang and keris bahari may designate the same type of keris but in different areas?
Finally Gardner page 27 describes a long Sumatran rapier kris as keris panjang, a medium one as keris alang, and a short one as keris pendek but his book is also often inaccurate. On page 45 he describes a long keris panjang as keris bahari...
This is why I would like to get the opinion of our Malaysian members
Regards
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Old 13th September 2020, 09:12 PM   #18
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Jean, as we both know, names and everything else about the keris change from place to place, or perhaps more correctly appear to change from place to place.

Gardner's supposed inaccuracies might not be inaccurate at all, they could just reflect the opinions of his informants and perhaps in the places where those informants came from these were the generally accepted ideas. At least Gardner did have considerable contact with the culture & society he wrote about, even if it was from the throne of a colonial officer.

If we think that we can attain some standard of universal "accuracy" in things that are keris related, we are probably trying to study the wrong thing. Keris ideas change all the time, from place to place, from time to time. It is very difficult to be absolutely certain about too much.

Even EK is not all that great. Harsrinuksmo was a journalist who had an interest in keris. Over a period of years he worked together with a gentleman from Jogja named Lumintu, who in Jogja was regarded as an ahli keris. EK was the end result of those years of journalistic information gathering and collaboration with (principally) Lumintu.

Before EK, Harsrinuksmo had produced Ensiklopedi Budaya Nasional (Juli 1988), as well as a number of little booklets that dealt with things like dhapur & pamor.

EBN did not cause much of a stir in Solo, it was accepted as more or less correct --- but if we look hard enough we can find some things that are in general, not acceptable to many people.

However, when EK came out (Jan. 2004) it generated a lot of criticism amongst the highly regarded keris people in Solo. Some of that was possibly just another example of the ongoing antipathy between Solo & Jogja, but other of it was certainly questionable. The two most often heard comments (translated) from authorities in Solo were:-

"where did he get all these names and words from?"

and

"it is a great pity that people do not learn about the keris before they try to write about the keris"

If I open my own EK I can see question marks, crosses and comments on a very large number of pages.

However, and this is the big plus for EK, it has given a common source of reference to people who do not know much about keris. On the ground, in Solo, & I am certain in many other places in Indonesia & Malaysia, we will find variation between the local terms & ideas in those places, and the terms & ideas in EK. But for people in New York, London, Paris, Rome & etc, who have only spent time in the Keris Heartland through books and TV documentaries, EK provides a lexicon that permits these people to communicate.

It is best to be cautious in forming firm opinions when it comes to keris related matters.
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