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Old 17th June 2017, 09:14 AM   #1
Drabant1701
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Default Keris for comment

This keris is a result of my itchy auction fingers. I was bidding on one of those auction houses where there are five items at the time and you have like 30 seconds to bid. I was actually bidding on something else but since I was going to pay for shipping anyway my itchy finger bought this keris. I like primitive art and like the handle that was all.

I know very little about keris since it is outside my field of intrest. What I have concluded is that it is most likley missing its ganja, the upper most part of the blade. The mendak is crudly made and some of the "stones" look like there made of some sort of resin. The handle is actually made of wood, when I looked at the auction pictures I feared it was resin but it is not. The patina on the handle looks artfical to me but at the same time it feels like it has age to it.
Also there has at some point been someting in the eyes that is now gone.

So any comments regarding age and origin would be welcome.
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Old 17th June 2017, 02:31 PM   #2
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Hello,
I would attribute this rustic but old & interesting piece to Lombok from the hilt especially.
Yeah, the ganja looks like missing but I am not fully sure from the pics as the wadidang (rear part at the bottom of the blade) is quite long, and is the pejetan extending to the bottom of the blade or not?
The indistinct pamor pattern seems to be Uler Lulut or equivalent.
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Old 17th June 2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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It also looks like it could possibly be an iras blade.
There is one in my collection with a very similar pamor pattern that is a close cousin of this fellow.
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Old 17th June 2017, 03:45 PM   #4
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Oh yes!
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Old 17th June 2017, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Yeah, the ganja looks like missing but I am not fully sure from the pics as the wadidang (rear part at the bottom of the blade) is quite long, and is the pejetan extending to the bottom of the blade or not?

From what i can see Jean i think i would e willing to accept this as gonjo iras. As you note, the wadidang fairly long and if i am not mistaken i believe i see the remnants of greneng along it.
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Old 17th June 2017, 07:26 PM   #6
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Welcome Drabant1701.

I hope you will enjoy this forum about the keris and will find out that the keris is NOT a piece of primitive art.
It seems that you were lucky to buy a fine piece of craftsmanship, that even in these times, is regarded as top.
The appreciation of this keris as piece of art is personal, but the keris is made by what the French call an Artisan for sure.
Congratulations with your acquisition.
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Old 17th June 2017, 09:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
From what i can see Jean i think i would e willing to accept this as gonjo iras. As you note, the wadidang fairly long and if i am not mistaken i believe i see the remnants of greneng along it.


Hello David,
Yes, ganja iras is a fair possibility, the bottom face of the blade is smooth, but if it is the case I would say that the sor-soran seriously lacks harmony! (gandik too short, poorly carved pejetan, kembang kacang, greneng, and curvature of the bottom face).
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 17th June 2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 17th June 2017, 09:15 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your replys! I am glad to hear that this might be a keris without ganja, and that it has some age to it. This is my first keris and I have spent some time the last two says studying the subject. What strikes me is how vast this subject is, which makes the expertise on this forum all the more impressive .

If I were to add one or two books on the subject to my library, what would you recommend?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seerp Visser
Welcome Drabant1701.

I hope you will enjoy this forum about the keris and will find out that the keris is NOT a piece of primitive art.
It seems that you were lucky to buy a fine piece of craftsmanship, that even in these times, is regarded as top.
The appreciation of this keris as piece of art is personal, but the keris is made by what the French call an Artisan for sure.
Congratulations with your acquisition.


Thank you Seerp Visser. I see now that I wrote in a way that could be read as me thinking that the keris is primitive art. I was not refering to the keris itself but to this specific hilt, and a better term would perhaps be folk art. This in comparance to other keris hilts that I have seen that are masterpieces of intricate carving.
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Old 17th June 2017, 09:20 PM   #9
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To me it seems like a gonjo iras as well. Lombok was also the first thing that came to mind. The blade should show a nice pamor if stained.
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Old 17th June 2017, 09:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
If I were to add one or two books on the subject to my library, what would you recommend?


Mine of course!
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Old 17th June 2017, 11:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drabant1701
Thank you all for your replys! I am glad to hear that this might be a keris without ganja, and that it has some age to it. This is my first keris and I have spent some time the last two says studying the subject. What strikes me is how vast this subject is, which makes the expertise on this forum all the more impressive .

If I were to add one or two books on the subject to my library, what would you recommend?


I know I wasn't asked, but for one I'd recommend The World of The Javanese Keris by Garret and Bronwyn Solyum.
This is a soft cover book, out of print.
I have two copies...

I would also recommend a visit to Alan Maisey's very informative site.
There is lots of information there to absorb.
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Old 18th June 2017, 07:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuuzan
To me it seems like a gonjo iras as well. Lombok was also the first thing that came to mind. The blade should show a nice pamor if stained.


I have etched the blade. Perhaps I could have etched darker but I stopped when I thought it looked allright, no point in overdoing it. Anyways, sharing some pictures of the result.
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Old 19th June 2017, 06:31 PM   #13
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What did you use to etch this blade?
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Old 19th June 2017, 07:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
What did you use to etch this blade?


I read that the correct way to etch keris is with arsenic and lime. I had lime-juice but no arsenic, lime juice alone did not etch at all. Lemon juice did not do much either. Finaly I tried dilluted Ferric Chloride (about 20%) that etched pretty quickly, I did not etch very long since ferric is rather strong.
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Old 19th June 2017, 08:56 PM   #15
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I think if you used arsenic & Lime you would see a reverse effect.
Almost like negative to positive in photography.
My cousin to your blade was done with arsenic & lime.

I don't know if you can get any where you live, but iirc it must be white arsenic.
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Old 19th June 2017, 09:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I think if you used arsenic & Lime you would see a reverse effect.
Almost like negative to positive in photography.
My cousin to your blade was done with arsenic & lime.

I don't know if you can get any where you live, but iirc it must be white arsenic.


Interesting. I cant get arsenic here so that is not an option. But it would look better if the effect was reversed. Is there any alternetive method that would produce a result similar to arsenic and lime?
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Old 19th June 2017, 10:54 PM   #17
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Hi Drabant
if you search the forum you will find plenty on staining, there is some pretty comprehensive advice. Unfortunately nothing will give you the same effect as the traditional arsenic based method.
cheers
DrD
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Old 20th June 2017, 02:50 AM   #18
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Perhaps some of our forum members can help via a PM .
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:21 AM   #19
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You won't be able to find Arsenic anywhere in Europe or US since it is labeled as poison.

I have experimented with ferric chloride, Nital and Perma Blue, but nothing worked right (albeit they work quite well for etching wootz or normal pattern welded steel). So I ended up sending my blade for a reasonable sum back to Indonesia where it received the right treatment and got it back in stunning condition.

I suggest you ask Seerp Visser a about his method of etching Keris blades. While I didn't test it myself, I remember seeing his blades and one could swear they are traditionally etched.
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Old 20th June 2017, 01:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
You won't be able to find Arsenic anywhere in Europe or US since it is labeled as poison.

Well, i can say that is not exactly true. You cannot buy arsenic trioxide directly without a government certificate, if you can find a local company that is able to purchase and can show them what you are using it for you may get lucky and make a deal with them if they are willing. I know from personal experience that such a scenario is indeed possible, though it is not likely.
However, you can, AFAIK, purchase the mineral Realgar in the USA, which is an arsenic sulfide. If you search this site you will find further discussion on it. While i would say that lab quality arsenic trioxide is a better, more consistent product, many people use Realgar to stain keris due to it's availability. Buying the mineral whole means grinding it up yourself, which is a mess i don't recommend, but i have seen pure powdered Realgar for sale regularly on eBay, so if you would like to try it give it a google and it should turn up.
While i have seen a few examples of passable staining done with non-warangan concoctions i don't believe any of them will give pamor the "correct" look as will arsenic and lime.
If i were unable to stain my own blades when needed i would probably send them out to be done to Indonesia. As you point out the sum for the work is generally very reasonable. The postage would be more expensive than the treatment and of course there is the time waiting...
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Old 26th June 2017, 04:17 PM   #21
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If you wish to buy natural arsenic in the Netherlands, you could look for a 'stenen- en mineralenbeurs' on the internet
That would be a kind of fair or exchange where stone and mineral collectors convien and offer sample for sale. (Use google with that query and you'll get the schedule and place.) Look out for realgar with purple cristals. Lesser quality is known as orpigment. I bought once a blok realgar from over a pound. Have been using is since with great results. When I take samples of it back to Java, they love the stuff, although they too prefere the white As2O3. Good luck!
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