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Old 29th September 2017, 12:41 AM   #1
Green
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Default Questions on an anak alang blade

I bought this anak alang a few months back. What attracted me to this was the kerawang (greneng) that look well preserved and nice akar bahar hilt.
The blade looks old to me judging from the look of the pesi which is quite corroded.

A few questions

1) I assume the blade is from Sumatera based on the style of the greneng, is this reasonable? if so, can anyone suggest which area? and reasons for saying it

2) The blade is roughly 12 inches long from tip to tip of the pesi. There is a small nick at the tip of the blade. One of the keris experts (?) I showed this blade to mentioned that this blade was most probably CUT and the original was most likely much longer (17 inches or more?) . Is this correct? He based his argument on the fact that the base of the blade is rather wide for such a short length of the blade. But I can not see any discernible color changes where the cut was made (if any).

Appreciate your comments and criticism .

Regards

Green
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Old 30th September 2017, 05:41 PM   #2
Jean
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Hi Green,
Nobody replied to your question because it is rather difficult:
. Yes, the blade looks wider than usual bahari/ anak alang blades at the base but not significantly.
. I don't believe that is was cut as it looks quite harmonious from the pics, and 12 inches is a standard length for a bahari blade.
. Regarding its origin, I would tend to attribute it to East Sumatra (Riau) but I don't know in detail the differences with the Malaysian blades. The indicators are the style of greneng, the tikel alis (worn), and the 2 grooves on the front and back of the blade (worn also).
. The style of hilt & scabbard may help in the attribution of origin if they are original.
Other opinions are welcome!
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 1st October 2017 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 1st October 2017, 09:41 AM   #3
Gustav
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1) Yes, Greneng is Sumatran.

2) In case it is an old blade, it quite surely was longer.

The overall blade shape looks very strange. Also condition looks at least a bit suspicious - Tikel Alis almost disappeared (or very shallow and disproportionally small), the last, ...khem, let's call it Ri Pandan for the moment, on Ron Dha Nunut (before Gonjo) absolutely intact.

Do the edges of Gonjo have a smooth feel?
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Old 1st October 2017, 10:54 AM   #4
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Hi Green,

Try looking at the grain of the steel. If the edge grain converge towards the end then it's probably original. If the grain ends appears to end abruptly, then it's probably had been shortened. Not sure if this method is correct, but that's how I'll do it.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 06:44 AM   #5
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Jean;

I'm afraid the hilt and scabbard can not be a guide as to the origin of this blade as I guess these were more recent and made in the Malay style in Malaysia (see pic)

Gustav,

I am not sure what you mean when you say the blade looked strange. Attached are the 4 short bahari/anak alang blades that I have, and the blade in question is second from left. It does look slightly broader in the middle part whereas the others look gradually tapering towards the tip?

The tip of the gonjo did not feel v smooth to me. could that mean the gonjo was recently made to replace older one?

Shortening of keris alang I discovered is 'quite normal' when the top part is damaged and people want to transform it as a 'keris selit' size...so that they can wear during ceremonial events (pakaian berbusana)

Rasdan

I am not sure I understand what you mean by the orientation of the steel grains... but what I can see is that the top 2 inches or so of the blade surface looked mottled and did not feel as smooth as the rest...perhaps this is the place where the reshaping was done?...

Anyway, cut or no cut, it is fine by me...but it would be good to know for sure if the blade is original or repaired.And where it is from.
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Old 12th October 2017, 12:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green

Anyway, cut or no cut, it is fine by me...but it would be good to know for sure if the blade is original or repaired.And where it is from.


Impossible to say with any certainty, I think.

The type form is common enough that judging from the wear it is most likely an old blade. It's not a rare enough form to bother forging and then artificially aging.

Because it's a blade type common to peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra, in the absence of original dress it would be difficult to hazard a guess as to origin with absolute certainty. Sumatra is a fair guess, but peninsular Malaysia is also possible. As Alan has noted many times, the farther you get from the royal courts (and he's mostly talking about Java), the more deviation there is from the original type form. Leaf-shaped blades with a slight bulge in the middle are not uncommon from Sumatra, so I would be willing to buy that the blade is original length, with a slight deviation from the form. It's also possible that it's been shortened, but a longer blade wouldn't necessarily account for the bulge, either.

If you asked me, I would say old blade, Sumatran origin, original length, but that's a gut feel, not an assessment with any evidence behind it.
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Old 12th October 2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laowang
Impossible to say with any certainty, I think.

The type form is common enough that judging from the wear it is most likely an old blade. It's not a rare enough form to bother forging and then artificially aging.
If you asked me, I would say old blade, Sumatran origin, original length, but that's a gut feel, not an assessment with any evidence behind it.


I would agree with the same precautions, attached is an old Sumatrese blade with a leaf shape and bulged section.
PS: This is my 1000st post in this Forum, Champagne!
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Old 12th October 2017, 06:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
PS: This is my 1000st post in this Forum, Champagne!


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Old 12th October 2017, 07:20 PM   #9
A. G. Maisey
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Laowang, my remarks on the influence of the courts are mostly influenced by what I've seen in Jawa, that is true. But some of the wildest examples of deviation from standard types that I have encountered have come from places other than Jawa. These have been keris that I have either seen, or acquired here in Australia, and they were keris that had been either passed to a relative or keris that had been personally collected by the person who had the keris when I saw it or bought it. I've seen some very diverse assemblies of parts that have come from Borneo/Kalimantan, and from Sumatra.

I think that we are all aware that dealers both in SE Asia, and in the rest of the world, sometimes mix up parts of a keris simply so they have something to sell, so when we come across a keris with mixed parts it is sometimes, maybe always, impossible to know if what we are looking at is a dealer's montage, or something that came as is out of some village in Sumatra, or wherever. However, the keris that I've mentioned in the previous paragraph are ones that did have a credible provenance, not ones bought at auction or a weekend market.

There have not been a lot of these keris, probably less than 15 or so during my entire lifetime, but more than sufficient to convince me that once we get into a remote village the people have the attitude that a keris is a keris is a keris.
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Old 13th October 2017, 12:56 AM   #10
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Alan, I agree that your observation about Java likely holds true for most of the keris world: to wit, the farther the distance from the courts (or Java entirely, for that matter), the more variation in the type form. And indeed in Sumatra one sees all sorts of variants pretty far removed from the original form.

We'll never know for certain where Green's keris is from, but I think Sumatra is a pretty fair guess.
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Old 13th October 2017, 10:57 AM   #11
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PS: This is my 1000st post in this Forum, Champagne![/QUOTE]

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