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Old 10th November 2018, 05:21 AM   #1
Paul B.
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Default warangka for identification

What about this warangka type.
From the one hand it looks like a Madura daunan model ( with broken wing) but it was labelled as 'possibly Malaysia'.
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Old 10th November 2018, 07:48 AM   #2
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Hello Paul,
Please show us the whole scabbard as the gandar is important for identifying the provenance.
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Old 10th November 2018, 05:34 PM   #3
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Hi Paul. Are you the new owner of this keris. We have been discussing it on a keris Facebook page where it was suggested that it is a Sumatran keris with (perhaps) a West Coast Jawa influence. No one has suggested a possible Malaysian connection there and from what i have seen of the blade, that seems most likely to be Sumatran.
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Old 11th November 2018, 12:06 AM   #4
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I am not going to guess what this might be, because it is a little bit unusual, and I'd really need it in my hand to support any guess.

However, to me, it looks very much like the ladrang type that starts in Tegal and runs all along the north coast into East Jawa.

Actually, when I saw the first example of this type it was introduced to me by a very well known collector who lived in Malang and who considered it to be an East Javanese ladrangan, I only found out much later that it could be found all the way through to Tegal.

If we strip it of the ornamental enhancements, what does the form look like?

If we consider the enhancement at the ri pandan, where do we often find that, or a similar, enhancement?
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Old 11th November 2018, 12:52 AM   #5
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Just to add some more information into the mix here are some more complete photos of the ensemble.
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Old 11th November 2018, 02:35 AM   #6
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OK, here's a guess:- North Coast Jawa, Pekalongan, or thereabouts, probably for a Chinese gentleman --- that's if everything belongs together from day one.
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Old 11th November 2018, 10:22 AM   #7
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The scabbard looks from South Sumatra to me in spite of the unusual carvings, but the blade & hilt from Java North Coast indeed.

Last edited by Jean : 11th November 2018 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 11th November 2018, 05:08 PM   #8
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The basic shape of the wrongko also strikes me as north coast.
If the other components are original to the ensemble, then the jejer decorated with megamundung would seem to point in the same direction.
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Old 12th November 2018, 08:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
OK, here's a guess:- North Coast Jawa, Pekalongan, or thereabouts, probably for a Chinese gentleman --- that's if everything belongs together from day one.

So Alan, is there no possibility that this might be a Sumatran blade. That was my initial impression given a keris i have from Sumatra with some fairly similar features.
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Old 12th November 2018, 09:37 PM   #10
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David, anything is possible.

What I have given is a guess, it is not intended to be a supportable opinion.

In the blade itself I can see certain indicators that suggest North Coast.

In the hilt there is a very clear North Coast motif that is usually associated with Pekalongan.

I'd like the wrongko in hand before I said too much, but what I think I can see is that it has the profile of the Tegal - North Coast - East Jawa ladrangan style, and it appears to have pointed tips to the top (godongan, angkup), carved enhancements such as are on this wrongko, are common in wrongkos from East Jawa, Madura.

I don't think I've seen a South Sumatera wrongko with pointed tips like on this one.

Madura styles influence the North Coast, I do not know these carved enhancements in South Sumatera --- they might exist, but I have not seen them --- additionally, Chinese gentlemen are known to not be averse to moving away from traditional style if they wish, they usually are not bound to kraton dictates or family mores, they do what they wish, Pekalongan is a decidedly Chinese influenced part of Jawa.

Another thing to bear in mind is the Javanese influence in keris style on South Sumatera, especially Palembang. Palembang wilahan sometimes look exactly like Javanese wilahan, and it is impossible to know if they were made in Palembang or in Jawa.

The above is the rationale behind my guess, and it is a guess, not an opinion, I could only give an opinion in this case if I had the keris in question in my hand, I'm not good enough to do it from photos on a computer screen.
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Old 12th November 2018, 10:30 PM   #11
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Thanks Alan. I appreciate your answer, even if it is only a guess. But i was really only asking about the blade with the understanding that blades sometime end up in dress from other locations.
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Old 12th November 2018, 10:43 PM   #12
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In the blade there are also equally strong indicators that suggest Palembang.

Gambar is a Palembang form, Gandar with squarish tip is typical for South Sumatra/Palembang.

Strong Chinese community with influence on art also in Palembang, see lacquer work, furniture, but the cloud motif, as suggested, points to North coast Java (Cirebon).
The carvings on hilt and Gambar obviously correspond. There could be a possibility this being an original ensemble.
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Last edited by Gustav : 12th November 2018 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 13th November 2018, 07:20 AM   #13
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Thanks for putting that pic up Gustav, yes, looking at that wrongko I'm seeing details that I have not previously seen on a South Sumatera keris. I think in light of that example I'd be quite happy to add South Sumatera to the guess basket.

However, as far as the blade goes, it is pretty much as I have already said, there are elements that suggest north coast Jawa, in fact, there can be no elements in the blade that suggest South Sumatera or Palembang, because there is no blade style that is unique to Palembang or South Sumatera. In Palembang, locally made blades copy blades from other areas, so we cannot really know if it originated in Palembang or if it came from somewhere else. In other words, tangguh Palembang does not exist --- even though some Jakarta dealers would like it to.

Regarding the motif, whilst it is true that the cloud motif originated in Cirebon actually dating from when Sunan Gunung Jati married Ratu Ong Tien (who was Chinese), the motif can be found in a number of other places too, and especially along the North Coast, in batik and in wood carving it varies a little bit wherever it is found, a batik expert can tell the differences, I cannot, but I do understand just a little bit about these motifs, and to my eye, the way in which this particular hilt motif is carved looks more like Pekalongan than Cirebon style. But I'm no expert, so I'm happy to settle for "North Coast".

Thanks again for the pic, where is it from?

EDIT

I'm going to float another guess now, again I emphasise, a guess, not an opinion.

If we look at this entire ensemble, there is one thing about it that really screams, its not nice, and that is the proportion of hilt to wrongko, its gawky, unbalanced, the hilt sits much too high, like an after thought, just plain horrible.

Maybe what we have is a keris along with hilt and wrongko that went from North Coast Jawa to South Sumatera, the wrongko was unsuitable for Palembang --- or wherever wear, so a new one was made, and the present selut was fitted to the hilt. This present selut is certainly identifiable as Palembang or South Sumatera.

My feeling remains Chinese involvement, and knowing the way Chinese businessmen moved (and move) around, that seems reasonable to me.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 13th November 2018 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 18th December 2018, 01:34 PM   #14
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A couple of pictures of this interesting ensemble will follow.

What led me thing about Palembang as possible origin of blade was the smallish Greneng with elongated Dha, sometimes found in S-Sumatra, the cutting edge stopping just before the first Greneng element (indicated by arrow), together with Odo-Odo running almost till the tip.

New updates for me:

- the blade is unexpectedly large - 45,5 cm, and could be older then I expected it to be. Gonjo is 10 cm long and 1,6 cm wide at Sirah Cecak.

- cutting edge stopping just before Greneng can be found also in West Java.

- there were two inserts at the mouth of Wrongko, one of which is lost. Nevertheless the Wrongko seems to be originally made for the blade. The Gandar isn't split and there is no hole at the bottom of it.

The hilt is a riddle for me, never have seen something similar on Keris, yet there are similarities in ornamentation with older Javanese Pedang hilts.
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Old 18th December 2018, 05:27 PM   #15
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Thanks for the update Gustav. I'm i to understand that this keris is now yours?
I look forward to your further thoughts on this. As with you i also see a strong possibility for a Sumatran blade for the very same indicators that you point out and the very similar greneng to the blade that i posted earlier. Mine is also fairly long at 41.275cm (16.25 inches).
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Old 18th December 2018, 07:10 PM   #16
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The blade size, peculiar style of greneng, and tikel alis going thru the gandik point to Java North Coast IMO. From my (limited) experience the South Sumatran blades generally do not exceed about 37 cm long.
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Old 18th December 2018, 08:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
The blade size, peculiar style of greneng, and tikel alis going thru the gandik point to Java North Coast IMO. From my (limited) experience the South Sumatran blades generally do not exceed about 37 cm long.
Regards

Well then, what do you think of my blade then? Over 41cm long, same greneng and tikel alis treatment. It has been dressed in what i have presumed was Sumatran dress for a very long time in a sheath that was most obviously made for the blade. I do know that some North Jawa figural hilts are sometimes confused with North Jawa, but the carving style on this looks more Sumatran to my eye and the selut as well. The shape of the sheath has alway seemed in a Sumatran style as well, but maybe if we can attach this form to North Jawa it might explain all the confusion over the original sheath presented here as well as my own. However, another of far greater knowledge than i also IDed this one as "typical Palembang" some years ago.
Please forgive this really bad cellphone photo taken in poor light, but when i looked it seems that i had neglected to take any over all photos of the dress on this keris.
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Old 18th December 2018, 08:36 PM   #18
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David, at the moment it's in my hands.

Jean, as David already wrote, such Tikel Alis and similar elongated Greneng can be seen on S-Sumatra blades. S-Sumatra blades tend to be smaller, but I know of some quite large specimens.

What is absolutely out of norm for S-Sumatra on the initial blade is the Mboto Rubuh Blumbangan.

As you can see, the edges ant the tip of the blade have been cleaned and treated with warangan. This must have happened already a while ago.
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Old 18th December 2018, 08:45 PM   #19
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more pics.
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Old 18th December 2018, 08:48 PM   #20
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David, what you have shown in this image I would call "typically Palembang" I wouldn't even think twice, or go looking for other possibilities, to me, this is Palembang.

However, when we begin to talk about blades, I need to think more than twice.

What I know is this:-

1) Palembang made keris blades vary across a wide range of styles; there is no uniquely Palembang style of blade.

2) Many Palembang keris used and use blades that originated in other localities.

3) Palembang was/is all about trade, people from all over the region moved and move in and out all the time

4) Javanese style blades that are larger than the Javanese blades that are customary in Central Jawa and East Jawa can usually be associated with North Coast and West Jawa, or with Lombok.

5) A gentle curve in the face of a gandhik is usually associated with West Jawa

6) A "brick laying down " (boto rubuh, elongated horizontally) blumbangan is associated with West Jawa and in a lesser degree, North Coast Jawa

7) The top of a gonjo needs to be able to conform to the type of dress that is common in the location where the keris was made, or where the gonjo was replaced

8) Overall blade style tends to be more or less related in any geographic location

9) Style and execution of detail in a blade can and does vary according to individual makers, variation is greatest at lower levels of quality.


The above are things I know to be true. I'm not guessing, I'm not floating possibilities. These things are things that I have been taught to be matters of fact, and that my own experience has verified.

If I use the above as a foundation for any opinion I may form, I am left with several possibilities and it becomes very difficult to use any one of those possibilities as a definite, supportable opinion based upon a photograph.
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Old 18th December 2018, 09:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
David, what you have shown in this image I would call "typically Palembang" I wouldn't even think twice, or go looking for other possibilities, to me, this is Palembang.

Understood Alan. Here are more images of my blade then. I suppose what i am trying to establish are whether the two points Jean made are necessarily true for discounting my keris as Sumatran in origin.
1. that Sumatran keris are generally not over 37cm.
2. that the tikel alis is a sign that the keris may be North Coast Jawa.
Both my keris and the keris now in Gustav's care seem to carry these two traits. Does it discount a Sumatran origin?
You have added some other indicators that might place a keris in either North Coast Jawa or West Java.
1. I can see what might be a gentle curve in the gandik in the OP keris. Mine might also, though if it does the curve is even more subtle.
2. I am uncertain about boto rubuh in my case, though it certainly does not seem to be a standing brick.
So here are the rest of the photos of my keris. I see many similarities stylistically to the OP keris, but this, of course, does not necessarily mean they are of the same geographical origin.
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Last edited by David : 19th December 2018 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Correcting a metric faux pas. ;)
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Old 19th December 2018, 02:35 AM   #22
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David, the points that I listed were not intended as indicators, but rather as "anti-indicators".

What I was trying to say was that these are things that I understand as being inarguably true, and that if I accept them as inarguably true, then it becomes pretty close to impossible for me to form an opinion in respect of Gustav's blade from only a picture.

I would consider your blade as having that slight curve in the face of the gandhik.

Is your blumbangan horizontally elongated? I am unable to form an opinion.

If I were to be shown a photo of a section of blade and asked where the blade might have come from, based on only the nature of the pamor, I think I would probably say East Jawa.

Show me only the gandhik I would say West Jawa to North Coast.

Blumbangan only, West Jawa to North Coast.

Greneng, anywhere across Jawa.

The tikel alis is what in Central Jawa is known as an old style tikel alis, not related to a geographic location, but related to period in time.

Jean's 37mm parameter is not one that I can have an opinion upon either one way or the other, I have never seen a sufficient number of keris blades that were definitely of Sumatran manufacture to be able to establish any sort of length parameter.

Your keris and Gustav's keris look very similar in the photos, neither keris appears to be particularly old, they are both in dress that in your case looks definitely Palembang, in Gustav's case it seems as if it could be Palembang. Two very similar keris, both in dress that seems to be able to be related to the same area? I don't know what I am looking at. I could come up with several hypotheticals, but I'm not going to do that because in my mind these constructed explanations really serve no purpose except to confuse.

Based upon what I believe I can see in these photographs I am unable to provide a supportable opinion on the origin of either of these blades, there are too many unknowns.

As a complete keris there can be no doubt that your keris is Palembang, but knowing what we do about the blades used in Palembang keris, is it possible to be certain that either your blade or Gustav's were actually made in Palembang?
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Old 19th December 2018, 08:25 AM   #23
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Thank you David for showing us the full blade.... Its overall shape (angle of the ganja especially) looks different from the typical long blades from Java North Coast.
I attach the pic of a Palembang kris with a rather similar blade but only 25 cm long.
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Old 19th December 2018, 11:50 AM   #24
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David, here a picture of a kris, which was presented to George IV when Prince Regent by Stamford Raffles, 10 May 1817. No measurements, yet it could be smaller then yours - but exactly these straight S-Sumatra Keris with the same Ricikan are often longer then 38 cm.
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Old 19th December 2018, 12:15 PM   #25
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Mine is a bit different animal. Now I understand, it could come from West Java - a search shows, how much S-Sumatra, in fact whole Sumatra and Malay Peninsula, was at an earlier time period influenced by North/West Java (later by Central Java). The Java Demam hilt form originates there, perhaps even the typical S-Sumatran bell-like Selut.

From what I understand at the moment and am able to see, the blade could be earlier then 1800, the dress perhaps before 1850.

The same pictures in correct orientation.
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Old 19th December 2018, 12:20 PM   #26
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Hello David,

Quote:
However, another of far greater knowledge than i also IDed this one as "typical Palembang" some years ago.

The dress of your Keris certainly is Palembang/Lampung. However, the dress seems fairly recent to me, probably quite a bit younger than the blade. Thus, we probably have to focus on the blade only; considering the differences with Gustav's blade though, I kinda doubt that it will bear much on placing the latter.

Anyway, it is certainly interesting to drive home the notion that a really wide variety of blades can be found in South Sumatran dress. Aside from the obviously strong influence of Mataram style on many blades, one also might expect quite a bit of carry-over from western Java (or Sunda-influenced regions in general).

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th December 2018, 12:30 PM   #27
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Hello Gustav,

Congrats, that's a great catch!


Quote:
From what I understand at the moment and am able to see, the blade could be earlier then 1800, the dress perhaps before 1850.

D'accord. As you mention, the edge seems to have seen some revision; still it looks like the blade was slender to begin with...

What about the inlay? Any translations forthcoming? (Close-ups would certainly help.)

The hilt really seems to be one of those one-offs that clearly exhibit Chinese taste and probably got commissioned for wear by a Peranakan (which doesn't help in placing the ensemble since this could be just about any trading port throughout the archipelago as already mentioned).

IMVHO, the scabbard seems to be the best bet in placing the ensemble.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th December 2018, 12:59 PM   #28
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Kai, thank you.

the revision of the edge seems to have been repeated a couple of times.
The Odo-Odo is quite out of center at the second Luk. I would say, the blade there originally was still 3 cm wide.

And, just to illustrate the subject I wrote about in my last post, a riddle for all viewers - from where originates this Keris?

The smaller picture is a picture from a booklet by Solyom about a Lampung exhibition. Try to pigeonhole one of them and you will get nightmares.

Speaking about that region (N/W Java - S Sumatra) you can be sure of very little.
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Last edited by Gustav : 19th December 2018 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 19th December 2018, 02:35 PM   #29
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Hello Gustav,

Quote:
the revision of the edge seems to have been repeated a couple of times.
The Odo-Odo is quite out of center at the second Luk. I would say, the blade there originally was still 3 cm wide.

Yes, this assymmetry continues along the gandik side throughout the sogokan area, too. And that despite signs that also the wadidang side lost substance in front of the ri pandan... Quite odd since one wouldn't expect much wear towards the base of the blade to begin with. Thus, you might be correct that the blade could have been quite a bit wider.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 19th December 2018, 02:40 PM   #30
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Here's another keris with (m)boto rubuh blumbangan in South Sumatran fittings...
(Shallow tikel alis + sraweyan extending along the usual sogokan area in this example.)
I got some more blades in S Sumatran fittings that exhibit a slightly concave gandik.
(The blade shown is of above average length but less than 40cm from memory.)

Regards,
Kai
(pics courtesy of Ron)
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Last edited by kai : 19th December 2018 at 08:14 PM. Reason: added data
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