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Old 20th June 2011, 11:50 PM   #1
FilAmfighter1
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Default Flea Market find

I found this Sunday at Flea Market in Central California I bought two blades one from the Philippines and this which I know is Kris- not sure if you class it a knife or short sword the blade length is 14 /12 inches, base width is 3.5 tip width is 3/8 inches handle is 4 1/4 inches. Please help me ID where the this blade is from and roughly how old. It is a forged damascus.
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Old 21st June 2011, 02:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilAmfighter1
...not sure if you class it a knife or short sword the blade length is 14 /12 inches, base width is 3.5 tip width is 3/8 inches handle is 4 1/4 inches. Please help me ID where the this blade is from and roughly how old. It is a forged damascus.

Generally speaking keris are referred to as "daggers", though some indeed reach lengths that could qualify as "short swords". Yours could either be from Bali or Lombok, but from the form of the sekar kacang at the front of the base of the blade i am leaning towards Lombok. It is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between these two origins. This is actually a bit short for keris from this region which are often between 16-18 inches or longer.
Age is always tricky and your photos are not helping clarify very well, though there is some obvious age and i would say 19th century is a fair guess. The kendit (belted) pattern on you hilt is a desirable catch when true and not painted on. Yours appears to be a true pattern. It's a little beat up, but the wood should respond well to some cleaning and oiling and the blade could use a good bath and toothbrush scrubbing in some pineapple juice.
When photographing keris it is helpful to get directly over the top of it so as not to distort the features perspective-wise. Its also better to arrange your blade point up in the frame to orient it best for assessment.
Nice flea market find...
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Old 21st June 2011, 03:45 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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All true David, but I tend to regard all of this style of keris as Bali, the reason being that although it may have originated in Lombok, it would have done so from a Balinese cultural base in an area that the Balinese still living in Bali regarded as Balinese.

To me, this one looks more Bali than Lombok, but I don't really know of any really distinguishing blade features that separate one from the other. Generally speaking, if I see a Bali style keris that has an acid cleaned blade rather than a polish cleaned blade, I will opt for Lombok. If I see a Bali style keris that demonstrates some sort of extremism in some way, I will opt for Lombok.

Stock standard Bali style and evidence of a polished finish --- no matter how deteriorated this may be --- will have me leaning to Bali origin.

But it often is guess work.

Nice thing to find in a flea market.It will restore very well indeed.
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Old 21st June 2011, 04:36 AM   #4
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I will certain defer to your greater knowledge on this one Alan. What i was looking at was the rather long and thin sekar kacang which seemed just a little unusual to me. But i agree that everything else looks solidly Bali and that the polish is a good indication as well.
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Old 21st June 2011, 05:22 AM   #5
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Yeah, the kembang kacang looks more like Madura than Bali, but we need to make some allowance for difference in makers' styles and difference in preferences from time to time.
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Old 21st June 2011, 12:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Yeah, the kembang kacang looks more like Madura than Bali, but we need to make some allowance for difference in makers' styles and difference in preferences from time to time.

Thanks Alan, Madura style was exactly what i was thinking.
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Old 21st June 2011, 10:41 PM   #7
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Actually, there is a Bali-Madura connection.

Way back in time there was a Balinese attempt to invade Sumenep. It failed, and the Sultan of Sumenep gave the invaders the choice of death, or of becoming his subjects. They decided Sumenep was a pretty nice place to live, so the Sultan gave each of the invaders a wife, and land.

It has occurred to me that some of the confusion about keris origins could be brought on, to a degree, by the difference in our European based attitudes as opposed to the attitudes on the peoples of Maritime South East Asia.

We tend to think of water as a barrier:- islands are separate entities , the two banks of a river can well be different entities. This is not the mind-set of the peoples of M.S.E. Asia.

Indonesians of today refer to their country as "Tanah Air Kita" :- "Our Land and Our Water". They do not think of Indonesia as a collection of separate pieces of land, that are islands, they think of the entire area of land and water as their country.

As far as I can determine, this attitude has been ingrained historically. Thus, rivers are not barriers, they are highways, the sea between islands is not a barrier, it facilitates communication.

A good example of this difference in thinking is this:-

we think of Jawa and Madura as separate places, separate islands; for some people Jawa keris are desireable, Madura keris are a little less desirable; however, Madura is a part of East Jawa, and East Jawa is a part of Jawa. Certainly there is water between Jawa and Madura, but that was never a barrier to Madura being considered a part of Jawa, just as the other provinces are all parts of Jawa --- and now there is a bridge that stretches from Surabaya on the Javanese coast to Madura.

Consider:- if all of M.S.E. Asia were to be squeezed into a single solid mass of land, with no water in between the presently existing islands, would we still try to make such a clear distinction between a keris of Balinese style that came from Klungkung, and a keris of Balinese style that came from Lombok?

Perhaps we need to take a step back from our current way of classifying a keris and consider classification along cultural lines, rather than geographic lines. Please note:- this is just the germ of an idea, I am not espousing anything of this nature at the present time.
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