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Old 14th August 2018, 02:59 AM   #1
David
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Default Keris Videos (Malay Peninsula)

I found this three part video lecture that is focussed on Malay keris and Peninsula nomenclature. They may seem a bit dry in their presentation, but i find the lecture interesting because it seem very much a Peninsula perspective and i like hearing the alternative names for keris and keris parts as well as the spoken language and hearing the words aloud (something you never get just reading books and forums.)
If you like the name game this is a must for you and there seems to be some good information along the way. Since my focus tends to be more on Jawa/Bali/Madura/Sumatra a bit of this is new information for me. Hopefully others will find value in it. I have not watched all the way through yet (hope i don't regret that) so i cannot fully attest to perfect accuracy here (nor would i know for sure in some cases) and i trust there is nothing offensive to be found within, but now that the links ate posted i can find this easily to finish watching. Hopefully it will raise some discussion questions amongst the members as well as, perhaps, some answers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74gPl4RA81c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PzZldHywSY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZPRScCAi5c
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Old 14th August 2018, 08:39 AM   #2
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Thank you for posting this David.

I have watched it all, there is nothing offensive in it if we accept the generally accepted idea of what could be offensive, but there are some rather irritating comments, and one comment in particular is likely to cause a degree of offense to some Javanese keris enthusiasts.

I prefer to reserve further comment on the contents of this lecture.
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Old 14th August 2018, 01:56 PM   #3
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As i stated Alan, i only watched a little bit into each of these to determine the direction of the lectures so i did not see anything offensive. I'll watch them completely through today and see if i need to delete anything.
But coming from the Peninsula perspective i would not be surprised if there is information in here that runs against the grain of common Javanese keris understanding.
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Old 14th August 2018, 02:43 PM   #4
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OK Alan, i made my way all the way through. I can certainly see how aspects of this might come across as annoying to Javanese keris enthusiasts since this entire lecture seems to disregard the Javanese origins of the keris in general and speaks of it purely from a Malay perspective. We have often had conversations about belief as it applies to the keris and i think that without a doubt their are many keris enthusiasts who would accept this lecture word for word. For me, and no doubt yourself, there is much to debate in this lecture, but it seems important to me that we present all cultural perspectives of the keris and this is most certainly one of them.

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Old 14th August 2018, 08:17 PM   #5
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I watched the entire videos and agree that there are some aspects which are questionable like the origin of the kris, blade poisoning, etc. but I enjoyed the information about the various types of Malay krisses and hits especially, which cannot be found easily in any book written in English language except Gardner (but incomplete). I also noticed that the lecturer mentions the warangan treatment of the blades with arsenic, contrary to some statements made earlier in the Forum.
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Old 15th August 2018, 01:08 AM   #6
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If anyone asks me, my stand and perception is that I always felt that keris is originated from Indonesia and spread to other regions in SEAsia etc.
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Old 15th August 2018, 03:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
I also noticed that the lecturer mentions the warangan treatment of the blades with arsenic, contrary to some statements made earlier in the Forum.

I noted that as well Jean and thought about our discussion not too long ago about whether or not warangan was a known practice in Malay keris culture.
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Old 15th August 2018, 03:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony G.
If anyone asks me, my stand and perception is that I always felt that keris is originated from Indonesia and spread to other regions in SEAsia etc.

Anthony, i believe it is generally accepted, even to many Malay keris collectors, that the origin of the keris is not just Indonesia, but specifically Jawa. This gentleman apparently holds a minority opinion.
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Old 15th August 2018, 05:10 AM   #9
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I have not watched the the vids except for the first few minutes of the first one where he mentioned about the keris spreading from malaysia to the rest of the 'nusantara' and I stopped there, so I can not make much comments. One shouldn't take the speaker's words as gospel of course, and it is quite possible that he made inadvertant mistake in term of properly articulating what he really meant?

This is because just about everybody in Malaysia ( and the speaker himself I believe ) agree that Keris originated from Indonesia.

the speaker is a farly well known keris enthusiast and have written 2 small books on keris which are rather cursory and general in my opinion. One of them is "Keris Melayu Semenanjung: Rupa bentuk keris mengikut negeri . (trans: Malay peninsula keris: forms according to states)

As to warangan, my belief is that it is Indonesian (and not even the whole regions) practice primarily. Even the word "warangan" is a borrowed word and does not appear in Malay.
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Old 15th August 2018, 07:22 AM   #10
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This comment is only relevant to the word "warang" or "warangan".

The word appears in Wilkinson, compiled prior to 1900, it was a word in common usage in Malay at that time, but Wilkinson gives origin as Javanese.

The word appears in Old Javanese and has several meanings, none of which relate to arsenic or realgar.

It is actually an interesting word, which possibly deserves further research by historical linguists, the entries in Zoetmulder seem to raise some interesting possibilities:- a relationship to colour?, to illness?, to a keris scabbard (warangka)?

It seems entirely possible that the application of the word to keris staining is something that might only have arisen in Modern Javanese, ie, since mid-17th century.
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Old 15th August 2018, 12:36 PM   #11
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Malay is essentially a very simple language. Migrant workers from South India or Nepal for example can pick up the language within 3 months without any formal training course and merely by interacting with their fellow malay co workers.

A great majority of malay words are borrowed from other languages. Primarily from sanskrit and later from arabic when the people became muslims and in the modern era a lot of words are taken fro English such as bas (bus) gelas (glass) komputer (computer) etc...It is not inconcievable that warang/warangan has been adopted by the malay keris community since early days but this word is never used in other situations by general population and if you ask any malays who do not delve in keris , it is almost certain that he will not know the word.

Having said that, and as an aside, it is to the great credit of Soekarno the late president of Indonesia who decided to use malay as the basis for 'bahasa Indonesia' and adopt it as the national language of Indonesia and bind the disparate people of Indonesia that speak all sorts of languages.
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Old 15th August 2018, 02:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
I have not watched the the vids except for the first few minutes of the first one where he mentioned about the keris spreading from malaysia to the rest of the 'nusantara' and I stopped there, so I can not make much comments. One shouldn't take the speaker's words as gospel of course, and it is quite possible that he made inadvertant mistake in term of properly articulating what he really meant?

This is because just about everybody in Malaysia ( and the speaker himself I believe ) agree that Keris originated from Indonesia.

the speaker is a farly well known keris enthusiast and have written 2 small books on keris which are rather cursory and general in my opinion. One of them is "Keris Melayu Semenanjung: Rupa bentuk keris mengikut negeri . (trans: Malay peninsula keris: forms according to states)

As to warangan, my belief is that it is Indonesian (and not even the whole regions) practice primarily. Even the word "warangan" is a borrowed word and does not appear in Malay.

I suppose it might be difficult to definitely assess what the lecturer's deeper thoughts on keris origin are simply by watching these videos. I do agree with you Green that the vast majority of keris collectors across the board tend to agree that Jawa is the origin of the keris. However, after watching this entire presentation i find hard to believe that there was not some purposeful intention it present these basic lessons about Malay keris completely devoid of any reference whatsoever to Javanese origins. Does the good Professor actually believe the keris originated in Malaysia? I think we would have to ask him to know for sure. But it does seem that he would like people to believe that is so.
However, with all information about the keris i think it is important not to allow what we might perceive as misinformation color the entire body of information we are viewing. I would recommend a complete viewing before forming any opinions on the over all value of the lecture. Again, i feel a lot of this was very basic information, but from a perspective i do not generally study, so i found valuable.
Regarding warangan in Malay keris culture, we did have this discussion before and it does seem to me that some very strong evidence was presented there that warangan was known and applied to Malay keris at least as early as 1839 if we believe the account written by Newbold at that time in "Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca (...)", 1839, quotation from a Malayan MS on Krisses and process of damasking.:
"Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca (...)", 1839, quotation from a Malayan MS on Krisses and process of damasking.

"How to damask Krises. - Place on the blade a mixture of boiled rice, sulphur, and salt beat together, first taking the precaution to cover the edges of the weapon with a thin coat of virgin wax. After this has remained on seven days, the damask will have risen on surface; take the composition off, and immerse the blade in the water of a young cocoa-nut, or the juice of a pine-apple, for seven days longer, and wash it well with the juice of a sour lemon. After the rust has been cleared away, rub it with warangan (arsenic) dissolved in lime juice; wash it well with spring water; dry, and anoint it with a cocoa-nut oil."

Other early examples pointing to this knowledge and use were also listed in a thread we had not to long ago. So while we can certainly see this word and process as something that is far more prevalent in Jawa, Bali, Madura and parts of Sumatra, it was certainly not unknown in parts of the Malay Peninsula.
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Old 15th August 2018, 02:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I suppose it might be difficult to definitely assess what the lecturer's deeper thoughts on keris origin are simply by watching these videos. I do agree with you Green that the vast majority of keris collectors across the board tend to agree that Jawa is the origin of the keris. However, after watching this entire presentation i find hard to believe that there was not some purposeful intention it present these basic lessons about Malay keris completely devoid of any reference whatsoever to Javanese origins. Does the good Professor actually believe the keris originated in Malaysia? I think we would have to ask him to know for sure. But it does seem that he would like people to believe that is so.


David,
The good Professor mentions the mythical empu Sarah (unknown to me) from Majapahit as the originator of the kris pandai saras so he does not completely rule-out the Indonesian origin of the kris. And I am not able to fully understand what else he said about the origin of the kris (the translation is minimal, may be Green can confirm) so I give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway it is clear that the Malay kris followed a separate development as compared to Java/ Madura/ Bali since several centuries, but with some Bugis influences in some areas.
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Old 15th August 2018, 04:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
David,
The good Professor mentions the mythical empu Sarah (unknown to me) from Majapahit as the originator of the kris pandai saras so he does not completely rule-out the Indonesian origin of the kris. And I am not able to fully understand what else he said about the origin of the kris (the translation is minimal, may be Green can confirm) so I give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway it is clear that the Malay kris followed a separate development as compared to Java/ Madura/ Bali since several centuries, but with some Bugis influences in some areas.
Regards

Yes, i certainly noted that at times there was more talk than words translated so i am sure i was missing parts of this. I was not aware that Empu Saras (Sarah) was supposed to be of Mojopahit origin so thank you for that info.
Certainly once the keris was established in Malay areas it did indeed take its own route of development and developed its own terminology and customs.
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Old 15th August 2018, 07:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I was not aware that Empu Saras (Sarah) was supposed to be of Mojopahit origin so thank you for that info.


You can find this info after 12 mn and 50 seconds in the first video.
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Old 15th August 2018, 10:42 PM   #16
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Yes green, Malay is recognised as being a simple language, but in my experience, that simplicity only extends to the basic "Pasar Malay", or in my case "Pasar Indonesian". I learnt Indonesian as an adult, and I think it probably took me about 5 years to achieve a level of reasonable competency in Pasar Indonesian. I'm a slow learner, but in my own defence I must add that I found it almost impossible to learn in a classroom situation, and I learnt by writing and during my two and three monthly visits to Jawa & Bali. To move from Pasar Indonesian to the level suitable for official use, or for conversation in polite company, I think it probably took me about 20 years. I will say this:- Indonesian is far more simple than Italian, and infinitely more simple than English.


In fact, the dialect of Malay spoken in South East Sumatra was chosen as the foundation stone of national language, for the soon-to-be nation of Indonesia by the Indonesian Nationalist Movement in 1928. Sukarno as president did not choose Malay as the national language of Indonesia, but since he founded the PNI in 1927, it is likely that he was involved in the choice before he became president.


The choice was a logical one, because low Malay, or Pasar Malay (as opposed to Classical or High Malay) had been the language of trade for a 1000 years or more across much of, if not all, SE Asia, and by some accounts, even further afield. It was the language used to spread Islam and Christianity in Jawa and the rest of the Archipelago.


However, it is important to note that Bahasa Indonesia, ie, Indonesian, is a public language and the only official language, it is not used in the home, it is not used in colloquial exchanges, it is used in news broadcasts, nationally screened TV shows, official exchanges. In my experience, when ordinary people, as distinct from highly educated people, use Indonesian in Jawa, Bali, and Madura, the language that they use bears only a passing resemblance to Indonesian as we hear it in an official or public context. The language that these ordinary people call "Bahasa Indonesia" is so mixed with the other languages that these people speak, that it has become a dialect in its own right.


Relative to the use of the word "warangan", it is as David has already advised, the word "warangan" does appear in 19th century literature relevant to use in Malay. I agree that it is a loan word from Javanese, but once a loan word comes into another language it becomes a part of the lexicon of that language. As for using the test of recognition of a word by a native speaker in order to endorse its place in a language, I regret that we cannot accept that argument. My native language is English, and although I am reasonably proficient in the use of English, there are numerous words that I do not recognise. Just because a word is a part of a technical jargon, that does not exclude it from inclusion in the main body of the language.
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Old 15th August 2018, 10:58 PM   #17
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In respect of Empu Saras/Sarah.

There seems to be no mention of this person in the accepted documentation of the line of descent of Javanese empus to the time of Kartosuro.

This documentation is:- "Silsilah Turun-temuruning Empu Tanah Jawi".

Possibly Empu Saras/Sarah did come from Mojopahit, but perhaps the name used there was different. For Javanese people names can and do vary on a situational basis.
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Old 16th August 2018, 01:52 AM   #18
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Jean,

Sorry, I don't feel very interested to view the whole videos. Even from the beginning I can see a few things that he said that I find questionable, so I don't think it's much value for me to view futher...

Another case in point is when he mentioned that keris maker is called 'empu' in malaysia. This i quite disagree with. Empu like warangan are not terms you generally use in malaysia. He may have meant the term as it is used in Indonesia but he did not make it clear enough .

David and Alan pointed out , warangan has been recorded to be used in Malaysia since as early 19th century... it may well be used by keris communities that have close association or much influenced by Java keris culture. But by and large it is foreign.

Malays never use the the specific word empu for keris makers as far as I can tell, despite what the prof said in the early part of the vid. Actually we (malaysian malays) don't have a specific word for that as far as I can tell.We usually refer to them as tukang buat keris, tukang buat sarong, tukan buat hulu... all general terms with the word 'tukang' in front (tukang= maker).


As to "Pandai Saras"... yes, we have words of mouth alleging that the original Pandai Saras originated from Jawa but like much of malay kerisology, we sadly don't have systematic and written documented primary information unlike the well documented and systematic kerisology of Jawa. Or if they exist they have been lost or hidden somewhere in overseas universities and museums?
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Old 17th August 2018, 07:23 AM   #19
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Green,
Why don't you write a good book or articles about the Malay krisses? These are awaited by the collectors and would be very positively received I am sure.
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Old 17th August 2018, 12:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
Malays never use the the specific word empu for keris makers as far as I can tell, despite what the prof said in the early part of the vid. Actually we (malaysian malays) don't have a specific word for that as far as I can tell.We usually refer to them as tukang buat keris, tukang buat sarong, tukan buat hulu... all general terms with the word 'tukang' in front (tukang= maker)

Well, i don't want to belabor this debate about language and i am indeed sure that you are correct Green, that these words such as "empu" and "warangan" are borrow words from the Javanese. However, i believe it might be a bit imprudent to suggest that Malays "never" use the word "empu" for instance. Certainly we have the good Dr. Abdul Mua'ti, who is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Modern Language and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, using that word in the video along with certain other Javanese terminology. Clearly the words are not unknown and are occasionally used.

Last edited by David : 17th August 2018 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 17th August 2018, 12:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Green,
Why don't you write a good book or articles about the Malay krisses? These are awaited by the collectors and would be very positively received I am sure.
Regards


Jean;

sorry if you take it that way... when i drive a proton saga (malaysian local car) and complain , by your argument i should make my own car
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Old 17th August 2018, 12:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
Jean;

sorry if you take it that way... when i drive a proton saga (malaysian local car) and complain , by your argument i should make my own car

Hi Green. I would be careful about attempting to read a tone or attitude into words written on the internet. In this case it seems that you have taken Jean's words "that way", but i see no indication that he was attempting to be dismissive or snarky based upon what he wrote. Indeed, keris collectors are always awaiting new articles and books on the subject. It might be better to take Jean's suggestion as a compliment rather an an offense.
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Old 17th August 2018, 01:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Hi Green. I would be careful about attempting to read a tone or attitude into words written on the internet. In this case it seems that you have taken Jean's words "that way", but i see no indication that he was attempting to be dismissive or snarky based upon what he wrote. Indeed, keris collectors are always awaiting new articles and books on the subject. It might be better to take Jean's suggestion as a compliment rather an an offense.


Thank you David and this was exactly my intent, my comment was meant to be fully positive and encouraging only, sorry if it was misinterpreted.
I must also admit that as a kris book author I know the efforts to be undertaken and the many uncertainties faced for producing a decent result which is always subject to criticism so I tend to be tolerant with others's work even if I do not fully agree with their descriptions or opinions. After all, the main items of contention (empu definition, use of the warangan term, poisonous blades, and the possible misinterpretation about the origin of the kris) are not that critical IMO. About the last aspect, the lecturer insists that some Malay krisses are heavily influenced by the Bugis, who are Indonesians...
Regards

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Old 17th August 2018, 03:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
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... I tend to be tolerant with others's work even if I do not fully agree with their descriptions or opinions. After all, the 3 main items of contention (empu definition, use of the warangan term, and the possible misinterpretation about the origin of the kris) are not that critical IMO. About the last aspect, the lecturer insists that some Malay krisses are heavily influenced by the Bugis, who are Indonesians...

Yes indeed, and this is why i continued watching even after the lecturer made a few comments that i disagreed with. It seems a bit hasty to dimiss this entire lecture simply because i disagree with a few points made by the lecturer. And we all know that keris understanding is often a matter of cultural perception and what is "true" for one group of collectors may not be true for another. I tend to wade through just about anything i can find on the keris and sort the wheat from the chaff based upon my own collected understandings.
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