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Old 25th September 2012, 07:01 PM   #1
Atlantia
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Default "Buginees 'Executioners' Keris" for comment

At least that's what the original collectors notes call it (in Dutch).

Blade looks to have been etched and restained many times.
Interesting 'lugs' like a harpoon.
Overall length in scabard 51cm. Blade a fraction under 43cm.
The largest Bugis Keris I've ever had I think.

Help and comments appreciated as always.
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Old 25th September 2012, 09:17 PM   #2
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It looks like an older Lombok blade in a refurbished (or new) Sulawesi sheath. Buntut is most probably new.

Hilt is an old one.

The somewhat exotic term "Executioneers kris" is mostly applied to panjang type blades.
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Old 25th September 2012, 09:18 PM   #3
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Interesting combination .
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Old 25th September 2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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These have been sat in a collection for years.
Whether the collector (who lived out there) had the sheath made or bought the blade in this configuration with a recently (at that time) made sheath I don't know, but he seems to have preserved many items in exactly 'as found by him' condition.
Usually he seems to have either just heavily greased them or varnished the blades.
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Old 25th September 2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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It looks like he has found the sheath in "just sanded and repolished" condition. I see nil signs of patina on sampir, contrary to hilt.
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Old 25th September 2012, 11:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
It looks like he has found the sheath in "just sanded and repolished" condition. I see nil signs of patina on sampir, contrary to hilt.


Hi Gustav,

Absolutely. In hand it looks like it was made yesterday, but the hilt does seem to have some age.
I get the feeling he was sourcing this stuff for a long time so he may have had people 'restoring' or even finding it for him and doing some 'tarting-up' prior to selling to him.
It's all a good fit though. Is the blade an interesting one?
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Old 26th September 2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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Hi Gene,

very interesting piece. Gustav is correct, the blade have a Lombok touch. Can you provide a picture how the blade fits inside the sheath? Pendokok look like a Sumbawa one. See here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11474, look posts 2, 5 & 6. Never have seen a blade like this with harpoon like hooks.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 26th September 2012, 01:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hi Gene,

very interesting piece. Gustav is correct, the blade have a Lombok touch. Can you provide a picture how the blade fits inside the sheath? Pendokok look like a Sumbawa one. See here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11474, look posts 2, 5 & 6. Never have seen a blade like this with harpoon like hooks.

Regards,

Detlef


Hi Detlef

Ah yes, I see.
Here are the pictures
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Old 26th September 2012, 04:42 AM   #9
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very fascinating to see such unique keris like this

wonder how the harpoon like tip worked ...
as I logically think that harpoon like tip will be effective as stabbing weapon, but will not be so easy to pull out

or perhaps it is the actual purpose ? to create larger wound ?
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Old 26th September 2012, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satsujinken
very fascinating to see such unique keris like this

wonder how the harpoon like tip worked ...
as I logically think that harpoon like tip will be effective as stabbing weapon, but will not be so easy to pull out

or perhaps it is the actual purpose ? to create larger wound ?

I don't think that this feature necessarily had a practical purpose. Given the amount of edge deterioration i'm not even sure this feature is original to the blade...
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Old 26th September 2012, 05:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Hi Detlef

Ah yes, I see.
Here are the pictures


Hi mate,

seems to be a dress made for the blade. And not a recent one like the dark inner patination shows. I would guess that the sheath was overworked or restored.
Would like to read opinions from our members from Southeast Asia.

Best regards,

Detlef
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Old 26th September 2012, 05:28 PM   #12
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The blade is quite ragged looking; I think any edge features that may seem unusual are a result of corrosion through etching and age .
It is not uncommon to see a blade from one island in the dress of another .
The fit of the blade in the scabbard is not quite what I'd like to see .
Maybe an older wrongko with a newer gandar and buntut for a scabbard .
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Old 26th September 2012, 05:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I don't think that this feature necessarily had a practical purpose. Given the amount of edge deterioration i'm not even sure this feature is original to the blade...


I thought that originally, but the shape although ragged through etching seems uniform and deliberate.
Only two barbs and they are symetrical.
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Old 26th September 2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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Hi Gene,

Very nice keris indeed. But not an executioners keris as we dutch call it or a keris panjang. I have a very old book in dutch wich describes an execution with a keris panjang or executioners keris. When your keris would be used to perform an execution it would give too much mess.
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Old 26th September 2012, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
Hi Gene,

Very nice keris indeed. But not an executioners keris as we dutch call it or a keris panjang. I have a very old book in dutch wich describes an execution with a keris panjang or executioners keris. When your keris would be used to perform an execution it would give too much mess.



LOL< thanks Henk.
That was the original collectors description so possibly a sales device fo the trader who sold it to him.
I always take that description with a pinch of salt hence the '' around it.
I'm more than happy for it to not have been used for such a ghastly purpose.
It's a good size though!

Last edited by Atlantia : 26th September 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 26th September 2012, 06:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
I thought that originally, but the shape although ragged through etching seems uniform and deliberate.
Only two barbs and they are symetrical.

Gene, i was implying that the "barbs" might have been added at a later date, and therefore, yes. deliberate...they could be original though, really hard to tell. I wouldn't exactly refer to them as "barbs" however. More like "bumps", but it is possible they were pointier once. Again, hard to tell.
As for origin, i would say this is most certainly not a Bugis keris and i agree with others who place it in Lombak or Bali. The sheath may have been made for the blade or it may have been re-fitted from an old sheath. As Rick has pointed out, it is not that unusual to find keris from one region fitted with a sheath from another. Certainly not an expert fit.
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Old 26th September 2012, 06:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Gene, i was implying that the "barbs" might have been added at a later date, and therefore, yes. deliberate...they could be original though, really hard to tell. I wouldn't exactly refer to them as "barbs" however. More like "bumps", but it is possible they were pointier once. Again, hard to tell.
As for origin, i would say this is most certainly not a Bugis keris and i agree with others who place it in Lombak or Bali. The sheath may have been made for the blade or it may have been re-fitted from an old sheath. As Rick has pointed out, it is not that unusual to find keris from one region fitted with a sheath from another. Certainly not an expert fit.



Thanks David,

*sighs* These darn Keris are mighty confusing for a novice like me at times!
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Old 26th September 2012, 10:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
LOL< thanks Henk.
That was the original collectors description so possibly a sales device fo the trader who sold it to him.
I always take that description with a pinch of salt hence the '' around it.
I'm more than happy for it to not have been used for such a ghastly purpose.
It's a good size though!


You're welcome Gene.

That's usually said here. Buy the weapon not the story.

Ghastly purpose, well, as long as it isn't used against you or me.
As the description tells, one could pass on a few meters without noticing an execution with a keris panjang is done. It is rather painless because the narrow long blade is driven from the collar bone right into the heart. The victim is chewing on a bettelnut which works anaesthetic. Then the blade is excavated while the executioner has cotton fiber on both sites of the blade to clean the blade. When the blade is completely removed the cotton fibber is pushed into the small wound. When done well no blood is visible. By the way, such an execution was only done by command of the sultan.
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Old 26th September 2012, 11:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
You're welcome Gene.

That's usually said here. Buy the weapon not the story.

Ghastly purpose, well, as long as it isn't used against you or me.
As the description tells, one could pass on a few meters without noticing an execution with a keris panjang is done. It is rather painless because the narrow long blade is driven from the collar bone right into the heart. The victim is chewing on a bettelnut which works anaesthetic. Then the blade is excavated while the executioner has cotton fiber on both sites of the blade to clean the blade. When the blade is completely removed the cotton fibber is pushed into the small wound. When done well no blood is visible. By the way, such an execution was only done by command of the sultan.


Hi Henk
Thats a pretty horrible description!
I'm more glad than ever it wasn't used for that.
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Old 27th September 2012, 01:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Thanks David,

*sighs* These darn Keris are mighty confusing for a novice like me at times!


I wouldn't kick it out of my collection, mate .

It looks like the blade has been in a different (from its home) keris bearing culture for some time .
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Old 10th October 2012, 11:03 PM   #21
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Hello Gustav,

Quote:
It looks like an older Lombok blade

Could you specify any characteristics which support an origin from Lombok (or Sumbawa), please?

I can see your point but am not fully convinced yet...

I have seen blades with a somewhat similar profile from the Riau archipelago; the greneng may better fit with the suggested eastern origin though.

Same-o with the selut which Detlef attributed to Sumbawa which IMVHO doesn't look close enough to the examples mentioned to ascertain this origin...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 10th October 2012, 11:07 PM   #22
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Hello Gene,

Congrats, that's really a very sweet blade!


Quote:
I thought that originally, but the shape although ragged through etching seems uniform and deliberate.
Only two barbs and they are symetrical.

Yes, I also believe these are original - just a little corroded.

I am fairly sure I saw such a barb-like feature in keris Jawa but haven't been able to hit my notes/books yet. Alan, any suggestions?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 10th October 2012, 11:26 PM   #23
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Hello Gene,

Quote:
Thats a pretty horrible description!
I'm more glad than ever it wasn't used for that.

You can't be sure though! (Feel free to send it my way if this makes you feel better. )

In the "good ol' days" death penalties were handed out way more frequently just about worldwide than today. If I remember correctly, execution by a keris was considered the honorable version while the really bad guys (or folks unlucky enough to belong to the lower stratum of society) were facing even more ghastly alternatives... (This is akin to execution by the sword vs. hanging or torture in medieval Europe.)

I also seem to remember that (on Java?) it was just as likely to have ones keris turned against oneself for this purpose rather than risk sullying another person's keris with bad fate.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th October 2012, 12:56 AM   #24
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On execution, I've read a couple of eye witness accounts of execution by keris in Bali, and both told that the person who had been given the duty of carrying out the execution simply walked up to the condemned person and thrust into his chest.

I cannot recall reading of execution by keris in Jawa. I have read a number of accounts of Javanese royal executions, and they varied from execution by combat with a tiger to execution by elephant to execution by garroting, and I have been told of execution by beheading, however, I do have a number of Javanese keris panjang --- maybe half a dozen --- I have no idea at all if these were ever actually used for execution or if they were just some sort of passing whim.

In the early days of Dutch settlement in Jawa the Dutch used to use the in vogue execution methods of the time, such as breaking on the wheel & etc, and the Javanese people used to respond in kind in such charming ways as bending down a couple of saplings, tying the ankles of the captured white man to the separate, bent saplings, and then letting go. It was best if they were big saplings, so he was immediately ripped apart; if they were a bit on the small side the ripping apart process could be quite slow.

Actually hanging, even when it was the slow raise, rather than fast drop method, wasn't all that bad, what was rather unpleasant was the hang-draw-quarter, where the condemned was first slowly hung, then the stomach cavity was opened and entrails extracted, being careful not to remove vital organs that could speed death, then the intestines were fed into a brazier of glowing coals.

The olden times were not real nice to die in.

Re those "barbs". To me this keris looks like a robahan, ie, a keris that has been altered from its original appearance. I've seen a lot of keris that have had the original form altered and turned into something strange, this particular keris would be a very mild example of this. If it is original, it is most certainly something that I have never seen as an original.
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Old 11th October 2012, 01:07 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Same-o with the selut which Detlef attributed to Sumbawa which IMVHO doesn't look close enough to the examples mentioned to ascertain this origin...


Hello Kai,

have a look to this selut/pendokok.

Best,

Detlef
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Old 11th October 2012, 10:20 PM   #26
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Old 12th October 2012, 07:18 AM   #27
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Yup, similar indeed.

Did you got your example from Hartadi, Detlef?

The innermost ring in Gene's example is indented while it is kinda raised/granulated (more similar to the outermost ring) in Detelef's example. I won't quibble though until we have more of these with sound provenance.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 12th October 2012, 05:01 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Yup, similar indeed.

Did you got your example from Hartadi, Detlef?

The innermost ring in Gene's example is indented while it is kinda raised/granulated (more similar to the outermost ring) in Detelef's example. I won't quibble though until we have more of these with sound provenance.

Regards,
Kai



Hello Kai,

yes, my example is from Hartadi.

I have a second similar example which was from Alam Shah identified as well as Sumbawa selut.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:57 PM   #29
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I've just read an interesting account of Balinese execution in 1633. The Dutch Chief Merchant Jan Oosterwijk witnessed the execution by keris of 22 of the queen's women followers on the occasion of the death of the king, of course these women followers were following their queen who followed her husband. Widows, concubines, servants, other followers routinely followed their lord in death.
In Bali women of royal blood would often jump into the flames without the boon of a keris into the chest beforehand, but the servants and concubines more usually took the keris to the chest first, the more resolute would often thrust it into their own chest.
What Jan Oosterwick describes is this:-

"--- were divested of all their garments , except their sashes; four of the men seizing the victim, two by the arms, which they held extended, two by the feet, the victim standing, the fifth prepared himself for the execution, the whole being done without covering the eyes.
Some of the most courageous demanded the poignard themselves, which they received in the right hand, passing it to the left, after respectfully kissing the weapon. They wounded their right arms, sucked the blood which flowed from the wound, and stained their lips with it, making with the point of the finger a bloody mark on the forehead. Then returning the dagger to their executioners, they received a first stab between the false ribs, and a second, from the same side under the shoulder blade, the weapon being thrust up to the hilt in a slanting direction, towards the heart---"


It is only when we look more closely at the societies where the keris originated that we begin to understand just how closely it was tied to religious practice in its nature and traditional use. When it moved away from its roots in early Jawa, and then in Javanised Bali, it became primarily a weapon with some imperfectly understood social associations, in the other societies which adopted it. In its original context there was no doubt in respect of the sacred nature of the keris.
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Old 18th October 2012, 01:37 AM   #30
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Wow...very interesting information Alan...
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