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Old 12th July 2017, 09:47 AM   #1
Johan van Zyl
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: I live in Gordon's Bay, a village in the Western Cape Province in South Africa.
Posts: 120
Default My appreciation of the keris

Friends, with this thread I do not mean to show you a new keris which I got (I wish - fat chance for that to happen to the likes of me and considering my whereabouts), but just to try to convey to you that the keris has taken up a prime position in my leisure-time activities. There's nothing I like more than to look up beautiful pics in our forum, to study the comments and to compare and evaluate what I see. I am sometimes overwhelmed with awe at the craftmanship I see in many of the kerisses portrayed.

Not wanting to bore you much with my rambling, let me say I have been influenced by Alan's and others' insistence on the keris being fully understood also in relevance to history, culture and geography. To this end I have been reading a LOT, also compiling an album of pictures, descriptions and comments to which I can refer and ponder on. My reading has even taken me to the dark history of the colonisation of Indonesia, the abduction of people to serve in slavery in foreign countries. I have looked at biographies of "servant" & "master" alike to get a balanced impression of their lives and times, and wondered at the influences that have happened, for instance of the Bugis language into Afrikaans. I believe the word in Afrikaans for jail ("tronk") actually has its root in Buginese. Many people live in close proximity to me that have ancestors that lived in Sulawesi long ago. It does seem that their bond to their ancestry is far from strong, which I think is sad.

The name for the Celebes changed back to Sulawesi, as it was in olden days. The word means "rods of iron" or something like that, which points to the island being rich in iron ore. I'm not saying this to teach anyone on this forum, but to mention it as an example of one of the aspects I have read up on, that has been so gratifying for me to delve into keris history.

I have been so incensed by the pleasure I have gained from my reading, that I have written two two-page articles in my home language on the keris (namely one on my Java keris and one on my Riau keris). I'm not saying they are exhaustive, as I have purposely brought in just the minimum of material to make them enjoyable to read. I have never before encountered any work in my language on the keris.

With only two genuine kerisses to my name, I cannot come even close to being an expert now or ever, but I took the challenge to write these articles nonetheless. You must understand that one problematic aspect lies in making the articles read differently, although they both deal with one type of edged weapon, the keris. I wanted no duplication and the train of thought (angle of attack, if you wish) must differ. One of them has already been accepted for publication in the association of which I am a member, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

You all have been a positive influence on my enthusiasm due to your exemplary handling of the forum. Please keep up the good work!
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