Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Keris Warung Kopi
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 6th January 2010, 11:38 PM   #61
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Gustav

This quotation:-

There is a chinese source (also Hasrinuksmo/Lumintu 1988: 19)mentioning short swords with rhino-horn hilts, send as a gift from Maharadja of Kahuripan to China (11 century?).

appears to have been taken from a work that is in fact quoting another source.

Could I trouble you to provide us with the complete verbatim quotation and any relevant footnotes?

Thank you,

Alan.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 01:07 AM   #62
guwaya
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 45
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
A rather bad picture (sorry!) of an early balu mekabun or veiled Durga hilt (in Europe before 1590), made from rhino-horn. This is the Deutschordens-Keris in Wien, I don't have the Krisdisk, but there must be a much more better depiction of it.

There is a chinese source (also Hasrinuksmo/Lumintu 1988: 19)mentioning short swords with rhino-horn hilts, send as a gift from Maharadja of Kahuripan to China (11 century?).



Gustav:

I also would appreciate if you could say a bit more about the original citation and the genuine source of the information.

Thank you in advance,
guwaya
guwaya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 08:34 AM   #63
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

Alan, Guwaya,

my source was the dissertation of Achim Weihrauch (2001). Here the full text, page 56 (I apologise for my English, for I have translated this from German):

(one should regard the source from the 11 century, where between others "short swords" are mentioned, with rhino-horn handles, as gifts from a Javanese potentiat to the imperial court of China; regard Hasrinuksmo/Lumintu 1988: 19) 98 (for footnote)

98 (footnote) A chinese source mentions short swords with rhino-horn handles, which Maharadja of Kahuripan (a kingdom at the Brantas-river, 11 century) have send as gift to China.
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 09:36 AM   #64
guwaya
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 45
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
Alan, Guwaya,

my source was the dissertation of Achim Weihrauch (2001). Here the full text, page 56 (I apologise for my English, for I have translated this from German):

(one should regard the source from the 11 century, where between others "short swords" are mentioned, with rhino-horn handles, as gifts from a Javanese potentiat to the imperial court of China; regard Hasrinuksmo/Lumintu 1988: 19) 98 (for footnote)

98 (footnote) A chinese source mentions short swords with rhino-horn handles, which Maharadja of Kahuripan (a kingdom at the Brantas-river, 11 century) have send as gift to China.



Thank you for that Gustav. As I don't carry my books with me two additional questions:

1. Do you mean the MA-thesis or the dissertation from Achim Weihrauch?
2. Is the chinese source named anywhere (literature list)?

guwaya
guwaya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 09:38 AM   #65
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Thank you Gustav.

Regrettably this information that you have quoted is inaccurate.

Let us examine this quotation:-

(one should regard the source from the 11 century, where between others "short swords" are mentioned, with rhino-horn handles, as gifts from a Javanese potentiat to the imperial court of China; regard Hasrinuksmo/Lumintu 1988: 19) 98 (for footnote)

98 (footnote) A chinese source mentions short swords with rhino-horn handles, which Maharadja of Kahuripan (a kingdom at the Brantas-river, 11 century) have send as gift to China.


Achim Weihrauch has quoted Harsrinuksmo, who in turn has quoted an unnamed Chinese source.

The source that Achim Weihrauch quotes is:- Ensiklopedi Budaya Nasional , by Bambang Harsrinuksmo, assisted by S. Lumintu, first edition 1988.

The relevant section in Ensiklopedi Budaya was written by S. Lumintu and this reads:-


Ada pula yang menduga , budaya senjata keris sudah berkembang sejak tahun 1000 Masehi. Hal itu terbukti dari laporan musafir Cina pada tahun 922M.Jadi lebih kurang pada jaman kerarajaan Kahuripan berkembang di tepian sungai Brantas. Di laporkan ada seorang Maharaja Jawa menghadiahkan pada Kaisar Tiongkok short swords with hilts of rhinoceros horn or gold (pedang pendek dengan hulu terbuat dari cula badak atau mas).Bisa jadi pedang pendek yang dimaksud dalam laporan itu adalah prototip keris seperti tergambar pada relief candi Borobudur dan Prambanan.

Free translation:-

There are also those who presume that the culture of the keris blossomed since the year 1000AD.That matter is proven from the report of a Chinese traveller in the year 922AD.Thus, more or less at the time of the blossoming of the Kingdom of Kahuripan on the banks of the river Brantas. It was reported that there was a Javanese ruler who presented to the Emperor of China short swords with hilts of rhinoceros horn or gold (pedang pendek dengan hulu terbuat dari cula badak atau mas).It can be that the short swords meant in that report were the prototype keris like those shown in the reliefs of Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan.


S. Lumintu has referred to the report of a Chinese traveler dated to 922AD. This report is to be found in Historical Notes on Indonesia & Malaya, Compiled from Chinese Sources, W.P. Groenveldt, Published by C.V. Bhratara, 1960, Djakarta. The original Chinese report provided by Groenveldt is contained in Book 489 of the History of the Sung Dynasty.

The complete paragraph that contains this quote bears reading:-

In the 12th month of the year 992, their king Maradja sent an embassy consisting of a first, a second and an assistant envoy, to go to court and bring tribute. The first envoy said : "now that China has a rightful master again , our country comes to perform the duty of bringing tribute." The presents sent by the king were ivory, pearls, silk embroidered with flowers and gold, silk of different colours, sandalwood, cotton goods in various colours, tortoise shell, betel trays, short swords with hilts of rhinoceros horn or gold, rattan mats plaited with figures, white parrots and a small pavilion made of sandalwood, adorned with all kinds of precious materials.

In his commentary on this report Groenveldt states:-

About the situation of the seat of government nothing else is said, than that it was about the middle of the island, a little to the west. This agrees with tradition, according to which the capital at that time was situated in the present day district Banyumas.


If we examine of the above, we find that Achim Weihrauch has attributed to Harsrinuksmo something that Harsrinuksmo, or more correctly, Lumintu, never wrote, namely that the tribute to China was sent from the Maharadja of Kahuripan. All Lumintu did was to associate the tribute with a time frame that was "more or less" compatible with the rise of Kahuripan.

However, Lumintu himself was in error, because Kahuripan did not exist in 992. Kahuripan is generally accepted as having been established by Airlangga in 1019.

In 992 Mataram under Dharmavamsa was dominant in Jawa. Dharmavamsa was a rich and powerful ruler, and would have been able to send tribute to China. Even if Kahuripan had existed a little earlier than the generally accepted date, it would not yet have had the power or position to approach China.

There is more inaccuracy in this Achim Weihrauch footnote.
Kahuripan was an East Javanese kingdom that stretched from Madiun to Pasuruan, but the exact location of its seat of government (Karaton) is unknown. A number of locations have been proposed, but to my knowledge, none are on the banks of the river Brantas, however, the Brantas does flow through the territory that was claimed by Kahuripan.

There is a further problem with attribution to Kahuripan of the tribute to China :-

Kahuripan was an East Javanese kingdom, and the original Chinese text places the ruler who sent this tribute, squarely in the center of Jawa, which is where Mataram was located.

There can be no doubt that this tribute to the Emperor of China came from Dharmavamsa of Mataram, not from some unnamed ruler in Kahuripan.


Here we have a very good example of how inadequacies in texts accepted as reliable sources can mislead and obscure.

Achim Weihrauch trusted Harsrinuksmo/Lumintu as a reliable source, and failed to recognize or to check the source that they used.

I find this failure totally inexplicable.
Groenveldt's "Chinese Sources" is extremely well known to students of S.E. Asian history,and most especially to students of Indonesian history, to the point where many people with an interest in this history can instantly recognize passages from it, or references that have come from it. That Achim Weihrauch failed to recognize the inaccuracy in S.Lumintu's text is simply beyond my understanding.

Then Achim Weihrauch muddled his translation from Indonesian. Again, something I do not understand. Achim Weihrauch has written what is by all reports one of the most important works ever produced on the keris. To be able to do this, surely he is literate in Indonesian, and possibly also Javanese. How is it possible for translation errors to occur?

S.Lumintu failed to give an accurate recounting of the text to be found in Groenveldt, and then associated the tribute with the existence of Kahuripan, which misled Achim Weihrauch into believing the tribute came from Kahuripan, something that was quite impossible, as Kahuripan did not exist when the tribute was sent.

Thus, we have a a compounding of errors caused by inadequate research and plain old fashioned lack of care, coupled with a poor understanding of Javanese history.

So ---- does it matter?

Like --- who cares?

Its still tribute from Jawa to China and the date is more or less correct.

Well, I for one think that it does matter.

This compounding of errors is exactly the way that keris research and keris literature becomes corrupted. A future researcher could rely on Achim Weihrauch's work, just as Achim Weihrauch relied on Harsrinuksmo/Lumintu and could draw completely incorrect conclusions based upon the errors in geographic location and time.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 12:38 PM   #66
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

Thank you, Alan, for clearing this.

Guvaya,

To 1) this comes from the dissertation (2001). The thesis (I hope, I am not wrong) is from 1996.

To 2) Weihrauch doesn't indicate the chinese source in this place, but this one mentioned by Alan is surely the wright one (named in the bibliography at the end of the dissertation).
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 02:41 PM   #67
guwaya
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 45
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

Let us examine this quotation:-



Alan G. Maisey

A wonderfull essay and practical demonstration how literature reading and research should be done - I am impressed and heavily can add something as everything is said.

So I will just point out two i.e. three of you statements:

"Achim Weihrauch trusted Harsrinuksmo/Lumintu as a reliable source, and failed to recognize or to check the source that they used."

This hurts, it hurts as it is an dissertation and in a work for which you receive the Dr. titel this is generally not allowed to happen. No good reference also for the doctor father(s).


"To be able to do this, surely he is literate in Indonesian, and possibly also Javanese."

I don't want to go to much into the detail but here you are hanging the ladder to high. I can imagine what you might think and feel now, but it is as it is and I am also not happy with it but we and the kerisologi have to live with it. The most impotant point in litarature recearch you depicted today in your essay in a very clear manner and therefore I would like to close with citating your final words as they show exactly the danger of non-critical reading and this is not only attributed to scientific written books but even more to the what I call 'picture books' (you just have to change the term "researcher" with "collector"):

"This compounding of errors is exactly the way that keris research and keris literature becomes corrupted. A future researcher could rely on Achim Weihrauch's work, just as Achim Weihrauch relied on Harsrinuksmo/Lumintu and could draw completely incorrect conclusions based upon the errors in geographic location and time."
guwaya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 05:07 PM   #68
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,299
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
There are also those who presume that the culture of the keris blossomed since the year 1000AD.That matter is proven from the report of a Chinese traveller in the year 922AD.Thus, more or less at the time of the blossoming of the Kingdom of Kahuripan on the banks of the river Brantas. It was reported that there was a Javanese ruler who presented to the Emperor of China short swords with hilts of rhinoceros horn or gold (pedang pendek dengan hulu terbuat dari cula badak atau mas).It can be that the short swords meant in that report were the prototype keris like those shown in the reliefs of Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan.


Thanks Alan for this critical examination of written material that i would otherwise have no access to. Just to further this examination, is there any evidence other than this one passage that Harsrinuksmo uses to support his "proof" that these short swords were indeed keris at this early date and not some other form of short sword or pedang? This seems speculative at best to make such an assumption based solely on this passage. You called this a "free translation". Does Harsrinuksmo actually use words that literally translate to "proven". If so this seems irresponsible to me.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 09:50 PM   #69
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Guwaya

I can understand why you believe I ask for too much from somebody when I expect a serious keris researcher to be able to read and understand Indonesian at least, and perhaps also Javanese.

One does not need to be a chicken to know what an egg looks like.

However, the keris is a cultural icon, and if we wish to understand the keris within the context of its originating culture we need to be able to approach the keris with a mind-set that at the very least can understand the Javanese world view and the way a Javanese person sees and understands those things around him. I do not believe that anybody who is not born Javanese can become Javanese, and speaking for myself, I would not want to become Javanese, but I do believe that it is possible for a person from outside Javanese society to learn the way in which a Javanese person thinks, and the way in which that Javanese person sees the world.

I do not believe it is possible to achieve this level of understanding in the absence of an understanding of language.

This attitude of mine appears to be shared by many, if not most anthropologists who engage in serious field studies. Time and time again I will read of an anthropologist who has embarked on some project or other, and the first thing they do is to move in with some local family and learn the language.

Now, in the keris we have perhaps the ultimate cultural icon.

My position is this:-

any understanding of the keris that is able to be gained in the absence of an understanding of the relevant language(s) can only ever be a technical understanding, it can never be an understanding on a societal or cultural level.

For a researcher who lacks the language skills, a native speaker as translator and guide might perhaps be of assistance.

I believe that somebody told me that Achim Weihrauch is currently living in Bali. If this is so, it may be possible that at some time in the future he may feel the need to revise some of his writing.



David

I greatly regret being unable to read Achim Weihrauch's entire paper. It has been repeatedly mentioned as the most thorough examination of the keris produced to date, and I know that he received assistance from at least one highly respected German authority on the keris. However, all I have knowledge of from his paper are the few words that Gustav has provided, and the error in that would be obvious to many people, people who have no interest in or knowledge of keris, at all.
Currently, I feel a little disappointed.

Now you have raised the question of whether the short swords mentioned in the Chinese text were truly prototype keris, or whether they might have been some other type of short sword.

In spite of what S.Lumintu has written, amongst the many weapons depicted in the reliefs of Candi Borobudur there are no weapons depicted there that could, by even the most extreme stretch of the imagination, be considered as keris-like in the slightest degree.

However there are a very few representations of weapons which could be regarded as prototype keris to be found in the reliefs of Candi Prambanan.

Candi Borobudur is a Buddhist building, Candi Prambanan is a Hindu building.

The representations of possible prototype keris are found in reliefs on a building of Hindu origin.

Thus, the keris can be associated with Hindu culture in Jawa, but it is exceedingly difficult to associate it with Buddhist culture in Jawa.

Dharmavamsa was a Hindu ruler.

Dharmavamsa re-established relations with China, and in the early 11th century he moved the center of Javanese power to East Jawa from Central Jawa, he died in 1007. Dharmavamsa's son-in-law was Airlangga who established the kingdom of Kahuripan.

Yes, I know, this is a long way round to answer what seems to be a simple question, but bear with me.

I believe that it is possible that the "short swords" sent to China were prototype keris, however, this is a possibility only, based upon the fact that Dharmavamsa was a Hindu ruler, and the prototype keris was a Hindu weapon.

On the other hand, in the Prambanan reliefs there are many types of swords and short swords and daggers shown, amongst these many bladed weapons there are only a very, very few possibly prototype keris.If we can assume that the frequency of occurrence of weapon types in the Prambanan reliefs is representative of the frequency of occurrence of weapon types in Javanese society at that time, then, using a statistical assumption, it is unreasonable to assume that the "short swords" sent to China were in fact, prototype keris.

This statistical assumption is probably a reasonable one because it is generally accepted that the relief carvings of Borobudur and Prambanan do use representations of material objects to be found in Javanese society at the time of those carvings.

Here's the short answer:- no supportive evidence that the "short swords" were keris or prototype keris, and only a very small possibility that they were.

However, here is something further to consider:-

in later times we know that Javanese rulers, and not only Javanese rulers, but other quite ordinary Javanese people would gift a keris to somebody as a gesture of goodwill. Javanese rulers frequently gifted keris to other rulers and notables. When contact with Europe was established Javanese rulers gifted keris to the visiting Europeans and to European rulers.
We do not know how far back this custom started, but if it was current at the time of Dharmavamsa, then just maybe those were prototype keris that went to China.

Your other question relative to use of the word "proven". When I say "free translation", I mean that I have put the Indonesian into English, pretty much as a native speaker of English would phrase the same ideas; here is a word by word translation of the relevant section:-

Hal itu terbukti dari laporan musafir Cina = matter that proven from report traveller China;

terbukti = proven, but could also be translated and understood as "evidenced".

Yep, lots of speculation in there. Dangerous speculation that a lot of people who do not have adequate knowledge could easily accept as gospel truths --- and just maybe they are truly like unto gospel truths.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 7th January 2010 at 10:03 PM.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th January 2010, 11:52 PM   #70
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

I have received private correspondence that makes the point that a number of historians accept that the court of Mataram was moved to East Jawa by Sanjaya King Mpu Sindok in or around the year 930, thus Dharmavamsa was not located in Central Jawa when he sent tribute to China, but rather in East Jawa.

I am aware of this point of view, and there is evidence to support it, however there is also evidence to support the location of the court of Mataram as Central Jawa much later than the year 930.

In old Javanese history there are very few ultimate and inarguable facts. To me, the weight of evidence seems to point to Dharmavamsa being in Central Jawa when he sent tribute to China, however, to those who wish to believe otherwise I will accept that he may have been in East Jawa.

However, wherever Dharmavamsa was located, there is doubt that in 992 he was the ruler of Mataram, and it was he who sent tribute to China.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2010, 01:45 AM   #71
guwaya
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 45
Default

"I can understand why you believe I ask for too much from somebody when I expect a serious keris researcher to be able to read and understand Indonesian at least, and perhaps also Javanese."


A. G. Maisey

I think I have to clear a misunderstanding here. I think your answer references to my sentence that you are hanging the ladder to high.

I choosed this words because I didn't want to compromise a person which is standing behind Achim Weihrauch and without his help Achim Weihrauch never would have been able to do his work, the person I think you are talking about in your answer to David.

In fact I agree completely with you that

"the keris is a cultural icon, and if we wish to understand the keris within the context of its originating culture we need to be able to approach the keris with a mind-set that at the very least can understand the Javanese world view and the way a Javanese person sees and understands those things around him."

In this context I also think that it is not

"possible to achieve this level of understanding in the absence of an understanding of language."

and you view that

"This attitude of mine appears to be shared by many, if not most anthropologists who engage in serious field studies. Time and time again I will read of an anthropologist who has embarked on some project or other, and the first thing they do is to move in with some local family and learn the language"

is absolutely true, more - it is a must in the cultural anthropology! Even if taking a native speaker as a translater this will be a problem and will not be enough for understanding the cultural background.

You are yourself expirienced in the javanese culture and so you might know how difficult it is to receive worthfull informations. Especially the javanase but you can transmit it to other indonesian ethnics try to be polite to foreigners and one of the behaviour of javanese people is that they if you come with a question they start thinking 'what kind of answer you might await' and if they think they know what you are awaiting they will give you an answer in this direction and this answer is of no worth for the serious researcher - not really. What I am talking about is related to a direct questionary system requestinig cultural aspects and background, a questionary system sociologist like to practise.

Under this point a research about a cultural system via a material cultural object is a good tool to receive generel or special cultural information which you otherwise might not have received or already with an interpretation beared in the head of the person you are asking to. If you ask via a material cultural object you will receive answers where the informant does not think that much first, he will talk, you let him talk and possibly will indirectly receive a lot of general informations abbout the cultural system. But herefore it is absolutely important that you can speak and understand the languge and as already postulated above, even a native translater would not be enough. It is hard to get true answers upon directly sensitve questions in Java or probably in Asia general.

"I believe that somebody told me that Achim Weihrauch is currently living in Bali. If this is so, it may be possible that at some time in the future he may feel the need to revise some of his writing."

This information is wrong - since his final work Achim Weihrauch has never been to Indonesia again. And if I take your statement

"any understanding of the keris that is able to be gained in the absence of an understanding of the relevant language(s) can only ever be a technical understanding, it can never be an understanding on a societal or cultural level"

then I must say that Achim Weihrauch is a great person in the practical, technical understanding of the keris. Not everybody is born to go into a native culture and live with the people. Therefore in former times there had been a so could 'fieldresearch pratica' at several universities - the aim was that students of cultural anthropology were "thrown into the field" to see if they are able to practise what they are learning at the writing desk.

Unfortunately in the present world studies like cultural anthropology are not featured well any more - not by the state. And the private companies as sponsors? - it will go to far here - everybody can imagine that they have interests.

I hope I could clear the misinterpretation of my words here and I also hope I was cautious enough not to compromise the at the beginning of this answer mentioned person to much.
guwaya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2010, 02:03 AM   #72
kulbuntet
Member
 
kulbuntet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 159
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Thank you Michel for advising us of your reasoning process used in estimation of age of Madura keris hilts.

I believe it is reasonable to assume that following the alignment of Madurese rulers with Dutch interests, symbols associated with the Dutch began to appear in Madurese keris dress and other Madurese ornamentation. A nominal date of 1825 is probably reasonable for the commencement of this practice.

However, although the presence of symbols associated with the Dutch may be able to be used to support an estimate of production time after 1825, the absence of such symbols cannot be used to support a production time prior to 1825.

The relationship between the royal houses of Surakarta and Suminep is well documented, and the speculation that the presence of a symbol on this hilt, that appears to be the sun, could represent such relationship is interesting. My personal opinion is that when we indulge in such speculation it is probably advisable to provide some evidence in support of the idea. The field of keris study is riddled with good ideas, and very often, these good ideas tend to become accepted fact, but "accepted fact" lacking any evidence in support of it.

It is very dangerous to hypothesize in the absence of evidence or logical argument, and most especially in respect of a culture and time that differs from our own.

Hi Alan,
Yes i do agree with your point that the absence of these indicators is not a garuantee tht the age of a hilt is older than 1825. But that is a general thing with indicators, its a indication of posibility. That combined with other indicators like material, other paterns, the state of the material, sometimes even a feeling and so on, can give a good impression. Maybe in some times can give some "proof" or suport that it must be of certain age, atleast give a good estimation. Iff not so, how can it be that museums or other experts can give a clear age to a hilt or blade or other material? I personaly dont think that carbon dating is used on all things in collections of museums. Panting can be indentified and given a age by the painter.. his time of life, style in a erra of his live.. But it cant ben done with hilts.. Maybe you can suport us ith some info about how its been done, or about some other indicators. My knowledge on this is still in my eyes limited..and always willing to learn and know more.

About the suporting info for the sun on Danny's hilt. One of the experienced members of the Dutch keris study group have told us. I do have confidence that he does have done reseach and got suporting info of this. But i have posted it as a posibility, not as a statement or fact. I do apreciate and agree with your caution to not see a post of this as a fact. but if i or others dont post there posibilitys it would be difficult to get a good view and later to result of fact. That is why forums do exist, even in the old times. To get a agreement of accepted truth, by reasoning and discusion. I wil try to ask the person iff he would like to give me and all people here some more info on this. Maybe posted by me, or him self.

Regards Michel

Ps link to hilt with also a sun. Link

Last edited by kulbuntet : 8th January 2010 at 02:14 AM.
kulbuntet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2010, 03:06 AM   #73
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Thank you Guwaya for your comprehensive response to my post.

Yes, I did misunderstand your "hanging the ladder to high", I interpreted this in the sense of the well known expression "setting the bar too high". I have nothing but extreme respect for the gentleman behind Achim Weihrauch, and I most certainly would never knowingly, nor willingly compromise him.

As to obtaining accurate, factual or truthful answers within the context of Javanese society.
Yes, I am completely familiar with Javanese practice in this regard, on all levels.

"Mau kemana Pak?"

"Kantor pos 'Bu"

langsung ke pasar.

It is not expected, nor to be expected, that truthful answers will be given to any question. We need to feel the truth, not try to encapsulate it in words, moreover, gratuitous truths are held to be extremely ill mannered. This Javanese idea of the concept of "truth" is probably the principal reason why so many relationships, both business and personal, fail between Javanese people and people from a western culture. The answer given to a direct question is very often the answer that the person who has been asked believes that the asker wishes to receive. This is especially true when dealing with foriegners.

Thus, in matters of keris research, perhaps the only way a foriegner will get straight answers is if that foriegner is adopted as family by somebody who is able to teach him. As long as he remains outside Javanese family society, he will forever be an outsider with the consequent need to be treated with caution.

Thank you clarifying the matter of Achim Weihrauch's present location.

Regretably I cannot read German, so I will never be able to judge for myself the extent of the excellence of Achim Weihrauch's work. I thank you for your opinion in this regard.

Kulbuntet.

Thank you for your further comments.

We all form our opinions upon the basis of our own experience. I do not ever wish to force my opinions upon another.

My experience with museums and other "experts" is that very often they are guessing or relying upon things such as provenance when they affix ages to things such as keris.

Since keris hilt patterns from several hundred years ago are still being carved today, and were also carved in the recent past, the only indicators we have of age, apart from provenance , is wear and patina, then age becomes an informed guess based on experience.

Speaking for myself, I know of no way other than what I have just written that will give any indication of the age of a keris hilt.

Re the sun.

I eagerly await further information on this motif.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2010, 03:57 AM   #74
guwaya
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 45
Default

"I have nothing but extreme respect for the gentleman behind Achim Weihrauch, and I most certainly would never knowingly, nor willingly compromise him."

Thank you for your respond A. G. Masey. I would like to add a small final comment.

The main interest of both persons, an I mean main interest is the technical aspect of the keris blade and less the ethnological.

What is dissapointing for me is that Achim Weihrauch didn't give more HORMAT in his dissertation to the importance of the man behind him. That he was to involved in these formal tecnocratic academic game to honor the officials which are responsible for receiving the titel but not berani to bring out more the benefit of his primary non-academic fomenter who's life is the keris.

I don't know when Warung Kopi was grounded but possibly - and carefully I say possibly - this forum might not exist without the engagement of that gentleman.
guwaya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th January 2010, 04:54 AM   #75
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Thank you Guwaya.

I understand your comments, and would prefer to reserve comment in both instances.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2010, 12:00 AM   #76
kulbuntet
Member
 
kulbuntet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 159
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Kulbuntet.

Thank you for your further comments.

We all form our opinions upon the basis of our own experience. I do not ever wish to force my opinions upon another.

My experience with museums and other "experts" is that very often they are guessing or relying upon things such as provenance when they affix ages to things such as keris.

Since keris hilt patterns from several hundred years ago are still being carved today, and were also carved in the recent past, the only indicators we have of age, apart from provenance , is wear and patina, then age becomes an informed guess based on experience.

Speaking for myself, I know of no way other than what I have just written that will give any indication of the age of a keris hilt.

Re the sun.

I eagerly await further information on this motif.


Alan,
Yes it is difficult to get sure about age.. But iff we dont try to use indicators we would never be able to give a age to a piece, more that its new or its old.. I remember someone that once told me that giveing a age to al wilah without feeling it, is almost imposilbe. That could be the same with ukiran or other thing..Dont know for sure, but on a forum it would be good to try to give atleast a impression for coninuation in a discusion. Several opinions could form a good impression maybe even an accepted "truth".

About the Sun,
I have asked the person of the dutch study group, and he was verry kind to give me a answer. Unluckly im not in possesion of the articles or publications mentioned. I hope to get in possesion of them, so i can suport the posiblity of the story written above (former post of me).
I will translate his reaction in englisch,

cultureel Indie deel 8 over Madurese krisgrepen. [[[Cultural indie part 8, about Maduran Keris hilts]]]

M Kerner,van Dapperen in Nion en Greffioz schrijven ook over Madurese grepen [[[M kerner, Van Dapperen in Nion And Greffioz also write about Maduran hilt]]]

On this moment i can not support nor denie the pobilility or fact that the publications wil support the info. I hope that more info will come soon, maybe one of the other (Dutch) people here has one or more info about this.

Regards Michel
kulbuntet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12th January 2010, 03:34 AM   #77
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,568
Default

Michel, I agree with you in that the assessment of the age of any object depends upon the assumptions we can form from indications provided by physical characteristics, where a verifiable provenance is not available.

In my post # 54 I attempted to make the point that although the presence of a particular symbol may be able to be linked to a particular starting point that can be dated, the absence of this symbol does not necessarily mean that the object which fails to bear the symbol does in fact pre-date the use of the symbol.

Let me try to illustrate this logic with a simple example:-

here in Australia we began to receive TV broadcasts during the mid-1950's

if we were to see list of the contents of a typical Australian lounge room from the 20th century, and that lounge room contained a TV set, we could say with certainty that it was a lounge room from after the 1950's

however, if were were to see list of the contents of a typical Australian lounge room, and there was no TV set present, could we say with any certainty that we were looking at an Australian lounge room of the period prior to the 1950's ?

No, we most definitely could not draw that conclusion.

Similarly, the absence in a Madura hilt of symbolism relating to the Dutch cannot be taken as evidence that the hilt dates from a time before Madurese involvement with the Dutch.

I have a lot of Madura hilts. I cannot with any certainty tell the age of any of them. I can see condition in respect of wear and patina, and based upon my general knowledge of the aging characteristics of various materials I am perhaps prepared to hazard a guess at age, but for me, that's just about where it stops.


Re the sun.

Martin Kerner was a very likeable man.However, he was a very likeable man with a lot of rather peculiar and unsubstantiated opinions in respect of the keris. If Martin links the sun on Madura hilts with the Surakarta court symbol, I would need to know exactly how he came to that opinion. Regretably he did not provide very many references in his works.

The other reference:-

cultureel Indie deel 8 over Madurese krisgrepen. [[[Cultural indie part 8, about Maduran Keris hilts]]]


I am not familiar with, however, I would be looking for similar verification in that reference also:- what was the original source of the information and was it verified, if so, how?

I'm sorry Michel, but my attitude towards keris related information has become more and more difficult as I have grown older. I have come across too much hearsay and opinion presented as fact to allow me to accept any sort of spongy reference as evidence of fact.


However, setting all that to one side for the moment, lets look at the use of a symbol which appears to be the sun, in these Madura hilts.

Sun symbolism is widespread around the world. It is found in both Europe and the Orient.It is a common symbol in many forms in Indonesia, and although it is found in Indonesian localities as far back as the bronze age, its appearance as a motif after the early classical period can probably be attributed to the Jawa-Hindu period.It very often appears as a chakra in Indonesian art, but once the motif moves into the Islamic era, that chakra is sometimes transformed into a flower.

If we wish to claim the sun symbol on a Madura hilt as evidence of association with the Court of Surakarta we perhaps need to question exactly why it should be the sun that has been singled out as the relative representative symbol.The Surakarta court emblem contains the sun, moon, stars, and the globe of the earth, all within a shield surmounted by the crown of Mataram. It symbolises the universe, and the orientation of the globe of the earth places Surakarta at the centre of the globe, a visualisation of the title "Pakubuwana" --- the world nail:- the pin at the centre of the earth, the thought being that it is this pin which holds the earth together --- don't ask me to justify this attitude, I'm just the messenger.

If we look at old representations of this emblem they are not backed by a sunburst, but are simple shields, often as a part of a European style coat of arms.

The emblem that we are now familiar with which shows a burst of radiating rays of the sun behind the shield is stylistically in accordance with PBX, and although I have no evidence for a commencement date for this style of the emblem, it would surprise me considerably if good old PBX was not responsible for this design.

As I have mentioned, the symbolism of the Surakarta emblem is of the universe under the crown of Mataram.

There is a style of Madura hilt that bears a crown. In Madura, this style is attributed to the old kabupaten of Pamekesan:- note Pamekesan was a kabupaten, a regency, not a principality nor a kingdom. Does this crown also indicate an association with Surakarta, as the Crown of Mataram? do not know the answer to this question, however, if an answer were to be offered, it would need to be checked, cross checked and verified.

Given free reign we can produce all sorts of interesting conjectures.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th January 2010, 12:17 AM   #78
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

Dear All,

some thoughts regarding the iconography on this hilt (the first part).

I must apologise for I am making the first steps gaining some superficial knowledge about art of Java, so I probably should not post about this subject at all. Almost all of this is a pure speculation.

At first, the sun-motiv or the motiv with a face or flower and rays around it.

At the time of Mojopahit, there is a symbol called Surya of Mojopahit, which possibly was the royal emblem (or one of emblems) from the Mojopahit era. The components are a disc (often with an image of Shiva or Dewa Surya riding a horse or in a chariot), surrounded by eight beams of light or beams of light and eight Lokapala gods, who are guarding the eight cardinal points of the universe.

The most simple version of this simbol is a disc of sun with stylised rays of light.

Regarding the face in the middle, often such frontal faces (one of the images is a frontal face from Majapahit period) are occuring as Kala (Bonaspati on sarung, one of the images). There is a close relation between Surya and Kala, as I have understand Kala can be a manifestation of Surya.

Interesting for me is a Madura hilt from the collection of Alan (I apologize for using the pic from an older thread), where a frontal face in a tree of life is depicted. Kala as Bonaspati is "the Lord of the jungle", but of course this face doesn't have the Kala characteristics (the visible dents).

There must be some links from Majapahit to Madura. Trunojoyo, the rebel from Madura in 17 century, claimed a descendance from a Majaphit royal line.

I don't know, how much of this all was evident in Madura of 19 century. As I understand, an important subject in javanese art is the increasing "hiding" of things with important meaning, the dissolving of them within a longer period, the overlaying of some aspects with new meanings, which is evident also in keris.

There must be (in 19 or probably even 18 century) a fresh influence from european art, where this symbol, a frontal face with rays as sun, occurs widespread at latest since Rococo (1730 thies), regard the friderician Rococo in Potsdam, where it was also like a royal emblem and almost a witness of this style. I have no image sources from Versailles in 17 century, but I suppose it must be found also there. One should (if he is interested in the art of Madurese hilts) really study the british and dutch uniforms from this time, military orders, graphic designs used for important colonial papers, the battleship decorations...

It must occur also in some star forms of military orders, the rays there often are surprisingly close in shape to one of the Surya from Majapahit (image). This kind of "military" star (or a half of it) you can see on some helmets on Madurese hilt helmets : http://madurakeris.fotopic.net/p48012558.html

See the same hilt for draperie at the base, which is the same art as on the hilt of Danny and clearly european influenced : http://madurakeris.fotopic.net/p48012560.html

I deeply apologise for using links to pictures from Hidayats site as examples.
Attached Images
      

Last edited by Gustav : 13th January 2010 at 11:09 AM.
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th January 2010, 01:31 AM   #79
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

The second part.

It seems to be clear, there is an iconographic ensemble, and there are many hilts which are bearing the complete ensemble. In the book by J.Greffioz on hilts you can find one on page 44, which seems to have some age, and another on page 56.

Some details are more clearly visible in Sajens example, page 2 in this thread.

This ensemble contains roughly estimated (from top to toe): sometimes more, sometimes less clear "visor" with crown elements, two pairs of wings, two emblems with radiant rays ("sun") and draperie at the base.

Interesting are the wings. There are clearly visible "dragon" wings, but also, abowe them, "normal" wings with feathers. Is there a possibility, those wings are the substitute for the complete dragon and winged horse depiction on a usual landhian pulasir hilt?

An interesting "in between" form from an older thread (I deeply apologise for using these pics), with a complete horse (instead of the front sun), the dragon wings behind the horse's wings, and the sun on the back of the hilt (see the images). There are also draperies at the base (like on Dannys hilt), and something resembling a crown with a central, vertical band on the "visor", which also occurs on all examples of the complete ensemble of Danny's.

The different elements are of course the arrow (a coat of arms emblem?) and the rudimental epaulets, and the "chinese" meander at the same base, which (very interesting!) changes almost to a draperie at the back, below the sun.

After this I suppose, there could be a possibility, that Dannys Ensemble as such were established later then landhian pulasir, becouse of dissolving of certain elements (the bodys of dragon and horse, if they are meant at all ), and becouse of mixing of elements. Also I think, there is a undeniable european influence in this hilt.
Attached Images
   
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th January 2010, 01:52 AM   #80
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

This vertical, central band on the visor seems to be like a sort of decorative feather. On Sajens example it is leaning forwards.
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2010, 02:07 PM   #81
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

Dear All,

I found in net an image of a Madurese wrongko. You can see the same form of crown with a decorative feather in the middle (the form on the "visor" of the hilt, regarded in this thread) , flanked by a dragon and a winged horse. So, I think, there is a strong possibility, this ensemble is related to landhian pulasir, there is a crown element, and therefore it has european influences.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Gustav : 14th January 2010 at 02:47 PM.
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2010, 03:19 PM   #82
Rick
Member
 
Rick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,531
Smile

I find myself wondering at what point in time these symbols became simply motifs and began to be combined for aesthetic purposes only ?

Or do we think this is not the case ?
Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th January 2010, 07:18 PM   #83
Gustav
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 802
Default

Yes, the iconographical ensemble of Dannys hilt seems to be an "eclectic" one also to me, or more "eclectic" then landhian pulasir.

But nevertheless, at first we probably should identificate the symbols (at the beginning of this thread there was an opinion, there is no flying horse, no dutch crown depicted (so no european influences). Now we have a pair of dragon and pair of (very possibly) flying horse wings, with a specific kind of crown, also depicted on a wrongko, as well as draperie), and pursuit their meanings, as far as possible, and their changes. I think it is very important.

Of course there is the crucial barrier between symbol and ornament, but I have the feeling, this barrier is different in the euro-american and eastern or specifically javanese art. I may be wrong, of course. One should keep in mind, that the euro-american culture (or the progressive part of it) at latest since 1920 is almost ornament-free, and so for us today ornament is always something exotic and foreign, and I must say, meaningless.

As I wrote in a previous post, this iconographic ensemble is later then landhian pulasir in my oppinion, becouse of advanced "hiding" or dissolving of elements (the bodys of dragon and horse), duplicating them (the "sun" motive).

But this specific kind of crown I have never see on landhian pulasir, and never on such "visor" place on another kind of hilt, just on this one more or less related and probably slightly older ensemble from post 79 (of course, I have a very small experience), and I came across of a couple of such hilts now, who are similar one to another (just as landhian pulasir are). So there is a certain stabile group of elements, and even if it were created at 1900, it is interesting to pursuit these elements and this certain combination of elements.

Last edited by Gustav : 14th January 2010 at 10:04 PM. Reason: the word "eclectic"
Gustav is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 03:14 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.