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Old 27th January 2007, 04:09 PM   #1
Lew
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Default Bugis Keris For Comment

Hi All

Just picked this up on ebay. The interesting thing is that the blade seems to have lost a small section of the center of the blade a couple of inches down from the tip on one side only?

Lew
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Old 27th January 2007, 08:19 PM   #2
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Hi Lew,

Nice looking keris; I wonder if the missing piece is the result of a forging flaw loosened by warangan staining .
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Old 7th February 2007, 05:00 AM   #3
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Here are a few pics of the keris I took tonight. The hilt is wood and horn? The missing piece looks like a forging flaw to me.

Lew
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Old 7th February 2007, 06:32 PM   #4
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Hey Lew. I was watching this piece too. I decided not to bid mostly because there was no sheath, but i like this blade, even with the missing chunk at the tip. The hilt looks like a good one with a nice patina. Wouldn't mind seeing better pictures of that. Are you saying that you can't tell if it is horn or wood or that it is both horn and wood?
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Old 7th February 2007, 06:56 PM   #5
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David

The darker material is horn closest to the mendak and the brown part is nicely figured wood one hilt made from two separate materials.
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Old 7th February 2007, 08:11 PM   #6
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Nice!
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Old 7th February 2007, 08:59 PM   #7
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This use of horn probably indicates a repair. These handles are very subject to splitting, checking, cracking, and the way they were, and are repaired is to make a new "selut" out of horn.
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Old 7th February 2007, 09:48 PM   #8
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Very possible explanation Alan. Still, it makes for a nice look.
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Old 8th February 2007, 02:16 PM   #9
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The use of horn for the buah pinang may not be always for repair. Usually, such hilts come from Sumatra, and I've not seen a similar combination in Malaysian hilts. I have seen a few such hilts with the horn carved as the outer ring, fixed to the inner ring, which is the wood from the hilt. The wood is not cracked or broken. It may be a matter of aesthetics.
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Old 8th February 2007, 02:31 PM   #10
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Here's the hilt from my collection. It used to be on a giant Sumatran Bugis sepokal which it was separated from. I don't know where the keris is. I just bought the hilt because it looked very good. Notice in the 2nd shot that the wood forms the inner ring on which the outer ring of horn is affixed.
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Old 8th February 2007, 03:41 PM   #11
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Default A similar bugis hilt with horn base

David, it make a nice two-toned piece hilt.

Alan, agreed that most likely its a repair. In most cases, the hilt have some significant value or reason to keep it, (be it mystical or sentimental).

Kai Wee, I have a hilt in my collection with similar works.
Mine was a salvaged piece. The sheath is a replacement.

http://alamshah.fotopic.net/p32019268.html


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Old 8th February 2007, 03:45 PM   #12
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I think then the horn is original to the hilt and not a repair. Thanks guys


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Old 8th February 2007, 04:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
I think then the horn is original to the hilt and not a repair. Thanks guys

Lew
Can we see a picture from the base up, like Kai Wee's picture?
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Old 8th February 2007, 04:22 PM   #14
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If the horn buah pinang are repairs, I have one question - why repair with horn and not using similar wood?
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Old 8th February 2007, 08:40 PM   #15
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Yes, certainly it could be original. If you are not there watching at the time it is done, anything is possible.

However, it is a recognised method of repair, and the way in which it is done can vary from craftsman to craftsman, and in accordance with the nature of the defect. It is not exclusive to this style of handle, but can be found on other handles as well, for example, Javanese handles.

The reason horn is used rather than wood is twofold:- firstly, it is an artistic principle that when you must disguise or eliminate a flaw, one of the most effective ways to do so is to make a virtue of that flaw, thus, when you remove the checked wood, you do not try to blend and hide, you highlight the replacement as a feature.

The second reason is that horn is stronger and more stable than wood. If you cut a selut from a piece of wood it is very probable that the replacement wood will crack and split in a very short period of time. With horn you are actually improving the handle, both in strength, and in beauty.

The reasons that this repair is done are that it is much, much cheaper to make a selut than it is to make a new handle, additionally, if a handle has a particularly nice grain, why would anybody get rid of it, if it can be effectively repaired?

When this part of a handle checks, the opening of the crack on the outside of the handle is very much wider than it is on the inside, next to the hole for the pesi, in fact, sometimes by the time the crack gets down to the pesi hole, it is virtually non-existant.

Another method of repair for these cracks is to bind this part of the handle with silver or copper plaited wire. You most often see this on an ivory handle.

I have had a very large number of handles like this through my hands, and I myself have commissioned this repair to be done many times. As I write I am looking at a badly cracked Bugis handle that will have the same repair done to it in a few weeks time, provided I can get a large enough piece of solid black horn, which is not always that easy in Central Jawa these days.

I agree that there is a possibility that Lew's handle was like this from the day it was made. However, in my experience this is a very slight possibility. The probability is that the horn is a repair.
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Old 8th February 2007, 09:02 PM   #16
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Actually Kai Wee, if you look closely at the picture you posted of you hilt looking up the hole you can see a crack in the wooden central part on the lower right side, so possibly yours is a repair as well. This crack may have been much larger and unsightly at surface level, but leaving it carved back at the center to anchor the selut makes for a much stronger repair.
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Old 8th February 2007, 10:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Maisey
... bind this part of the handle with silver or copper plaited wire. You most often see this on an ivory handle.
An example of another method of repair, more common to ivory hilt, but does appear on wood as well. This is a lower hilt repair, at the buah pinang area.
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Old 8th February 2007, 10:32 PM   #18
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Repaired or not they are all tastefully done and still lovely to behold


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Old 8th February 2007, 11:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Repaired or not they are all tastefully done and still lovely to behold
Lew
I do agree. Btw, your hilt is beautiful, I like it. This form of work are meant to enhance the strength, reinforcing the base whilst being a work of art. To make the 'selut', is no easy task either, (to me anyway).

During the old days, these hilts are mounted on servicable weapons. Surely its user do not wish it to fall apart during use.
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Old 9th February 2007, 12:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Repaired or not they are all tastefully done and still lovely to behold

Lew


Yup, I agree. The repair work was artistically good. One might not have or difficult to obtain the similar wood or material to work on the damages. Alternatively other materials (in this case buah pinang or metal material) were used.
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Old 9th February 2007, 12:55 AM   #21
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In Martin Kerner's Keris-Griffe Aus Museen Und Privatsammlungen, there is a mention on repair works. A Jawa Demam hilt with the woven wire type. (Pg159-161, Fig: G242). "The figure of Jawa Demam ... ivory of a Sumatran hilt split at the base. In a skillful manner it is kept together with woven wire so that it is at the same time a decoration and takes the function of a selut".

Similar to the other example posted of the wire-works type.
Ok, now back to the horn type...
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Old 9th February 2007, 04:51 AM   #22
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Looks like my hilt's repair needs repair.

Hi David, the crack you are referring to goes down about 4mm into the base and stops there. There are many hairline cracks on this hilt but it is generally stable.
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Old 9th February 2007, 05:02 AM   #23
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My mid-period tajong, before the swasa makeover. This hilt's buah pinang has had to major repair done to it, having lost more than half of the original material. Some repairs to the shoulder on the other side too. This hilt is really a "survivor".
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Old 9th February 2007, 10:22 AM   #24
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Arrow Repair needs repair...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
Looks like my hilt's repair needs repair.

Hi David, the crack you are referring to goes down about 4mm into the base and stops there. There are many hairline cracks on this hilt but it is generally stable.
So does mine.
http://alamshah.fotopic.net/p32019268.html
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Old 9th February 2007, 04:13 PM   #25
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After a little discussion with Dave Henkel, he has the following to share:

- The hiltcarver might have replaced the buah pinang with horn because the wood there might have been naturally disfigured or insufficient.

- Another possible reason is because the material added has some talismanic function. Dave has a terengganu badik stupa has a little ring of a separate kind of wood that Mr Nik Rashidee [master carver and owner of the "Spirit of Wood" exhibits] from Kelantan thought was added because the wood had a certain "semangat" (roughly = "spirit") or perhaps came from a special piece of material (wood from a childhood home, or an old keris sheath or something like that).


From my perspective, seeing that both Shahrial and my hilt's horn buah pinang have split while the wood of the hilts are largely intact, is it then reasonable to say that horn is a better repair material then say kemuning wood?
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Old 9th February 2007, 04:18 PM   #26
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Hi Shahrial,

I think the correct picture to use is this:
http://alamshah.fotopic.net/p32019270.html

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Old 12th February 2007, 01:28 AM   #27
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Here's a picture from the bottom.
LOUIEBLADES, is yours something like this or is it differently executed?
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