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Old 3rd September 2017, 05:41 PM   #1
Jean
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Default Warangan treatment of an old Javanese blade?

Dear friends,
I already showed this strong blade attributed to Blambangan or Banten and estimated from 17th century or possibly earlier (end of Majapahit period or soon after). It is very similar to the blades shown in the Krisdisk from the late K.S. Jensen, for instance on figure 77, page 30 of the North-East Java chapter. Unfortunately the blade was shortened at the tip for any reason and the last 2 or 4 waves are missing.
The blade surface is very smooth and shiny, and it shows traces of a refined pamor pattern. I never saw any blade in this category after warangan treatment as all the known specimens are in European museums and the curators won't apparently consider to have them treated?
So I have decided that I should do it for the benefit of the kris people even if it would reduce the blade value, what do you think and which result would you expect?
Regards
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Old 3rd September 2017, 09:14 PM   #2
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Javanese?!

I am not very knowledgeable but it looks very Balinese to me.

And 17 century?! It looks early 20 to me... but then, little do I know.

I saw many references to the Krisdisk lately, but how reliable is it?! By taking it as reference aren't we risking to perpetrate some gross errors?!

Last edited by mariusgmioc : 3rd September 2017 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:41 AM   #3
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Hello Marius,

Quote:
Javanese?!

I am not very knowledgeable but it looks very Balinese to me.

And 17 century?! It looks early 20 to me... but then, little do I know.

You're in good company - many knowledgeable Jawanese did (and some may still do) place well-preserved keris from old European musea as tangguh Bali!

However, these keris are shown by the museum records and additional research to be early collected and many don't appear to originate from Bali but Jawa. Some stylistic details also seem to support such an origin as do probabilities (considering the old trade links).


Quote:
I saw many references to the Krisdisk lately, but how reliable is it?! By taking it as reference aren't we risking to perpetrate some gross errors?!

IMHO it's really worth to have this resource: It's main achievement is showing a good number of keris from old collections (including musea with documented provenance). One may argue about some hypotheses put forward in the Kris Disk - however, the pics alone make it one of the best resources on keris though.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:43 AM   #4
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Hello Marius,
Balinese? There are similarities indeed (greneng, etc) as noted by many authors but look at the blade proportions and the hilt, and do not forget that the early Balinese krisses were derived from Majapahit ones after the conquest of Bali.
And what does allow you to doubt about the provenance of the krisses brought from Banten & Blambangan shown in the Krisdisk and which have been kept in the European collections since the 17th century? These pieces are the most reliable specimens of old krisses available in my opinion.
Regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Marius,

You're in good company - many knowledgeable Jawanese did (and some may still do) place well-preserved keris from old European musea as tangguh Bali!

However, these keris are shown by the museum records and additional research to be early collected and many don't appear to originate from Bali but Jawa. Some stylistic details also seem to support such an origin as do probabilities (considering the old trade links).

IMHO it's really worth to have this resource: It's main achievement is showing a good number of keris from old collections (including musea with documented provenance). One may argue about some hypotheses put forward in the Kris Disk - however, the pics alone make it one of the best resources on keris though.

Regards,
Kai


Hello Kai,
I fully concur with you.
Regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
what do you think and which result would you expect?
Regards


I think the pamor will be nice pendaringan kebak (wos wutah type)

Best regards,

Joe
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Old 4th September 2017, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bejo
I think the pamor will be nice pendaringan kebak (wos wutah type)

Best regards,

Joe


Hello Joe,
You have an eagle's eye, and this is the result.
Regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 08:02 AM   #8
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Dear Jean,

Quote:
I already showed this strong blade attributed to Blambangan or Banten and estimated from 17th century or possibly earlier (end of Majapahit period or soon after). It is very similar to the blades shown in the Krisdisk from the late K.S. Jensen, for instance on figure 77, page 30 of the North-East Java chapter. Unfortunately the blade was shortened at the tip for any reason and the last 2 or 4 waves are missing.

Say, has it been possible to smooth out the tip a bit?


Quote:
The blade surface is very smooth and shiny, and it shows traces of a refined pamor pattern. I never saw any blade in this category after warangan treatment as all the known specimens are in European museums and the curators won't apparently consider to have them treated?

Musea are really obsessed with preservation. You'll have a really tough time to even have them considering any treatments that bear the slightest risk of corrosion/etc. much less experimental treatments! I also believe there is no certified museum conservator competent in doing warangan either.

On the pro side, this is the reason why we have some of these early collected blades surviving almost untouched; on the con side, this also is the reason why blades in some collections rust away rather than being rescued in time...


Quote:
So I have decided that I should do it for the benefit of the kris people even if it would reduce the blade value, what do you think and which result would you expect?

Thanks a lot for your efforts - I am certainly very eager to see the results!

We can already see traces of a nicely controlled and fairly dense pamor mlumah of the wos wutah type on both sides. Thus, I don't expect any miracles but guess that we'll see a bold contrast. I'm looking forward to the great opportunity to study the pamor in detail - please post a lot of close-ups!

BTW, I don't think the warangan treatment (if competently done by the paste method rather than soaking) will reduce the value of this blade. I would not dare to ship such a piece to Indonesia though...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 4th September 2017, 10:19 AM   #9
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Thank you Kai and your comments will be welcome!
Regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 12:14 PM   #10
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Beautiful result and nice to see. Thanks Jean!
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Old 4th September 2017, 01:13 PM   #11
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Yes, the blade could be North-East Javanese. The overall shape doesn't seem Balinese to me. Compliments for the etching: it's you who did it ?
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Old 4th September 2017, 01:44 PM   #12
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very very nice blade ... and hilt!
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Old 4th September 2017, 01:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO
Yes, the blade could be North-East Javanese. The overall shape doesn't seem Balinese to me. Compliments for the etching: it's you who did it ?
Best regards


Hello Gio,
The etching was done by Master Herman from Solo, the pamor contrast is excellent and the bade still very smooth.
Best regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 02:01 PM   #14
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Hello friends,
I also commissioned a new scabbard iras made from cendana (non-aromatic sandalwood), the shape and sunggingan are not perfect but the best I could get.
Regards
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Old 4th September 2017, 02:45 PM   #15
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Well done Jean! I really don't see any reason why the blade shouldn't get etched, maybe a somewhat milder etch would let look the blade old like it is.
And better this scabbard as no scabbard! I am green with envy, this keris is also with it's small faults a real beauty!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th September 2017, 02:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Javanese?!

I am not very knowledgeable but it looks very Balinese to me.

And 17 century?! It looks early 20 to me... but then, little do I know.

I saw many references to the Krisdisk lately, but how reliable is it?! By taking it as reference aren't we risking to perpetrate some gross errors?!


Hello Marius,

you should read more about keris and the Krisdisk from Jensen is a great reference work like Jean and Kai stated before already.

Best regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th September 2017, 03:48 PM   #17
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Excellent result!

Periodic cleaning and etching of the blade is part of the traditional maintenance process the same way it is oiling.

So, if the pamor is washed out due to too many cycles of oiling and cleaning or for any other reason, it should be brought back. This is part of the normal maintenance of the kris.

Hi Detlef, and thank you for the suggestion! Will do!
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Old 4th September 2017, 06:25 PM   #18
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Dear Jean,

Thanks a lot!

I have to admit that the gonjo wulung came as a surprise! It does look well made - there seems to be some variation with the ron dha that can't fully be explained by different thickness though. Any hints that it may be not original from personal examination? I don't have clear hints to doubt that it is genuine/original - just asking for info not available from pics...

The hilt looks way nicer with the new mendak and also the scabbard echoes older styles.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 4th September 2017, 08:22 PM   #19
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Hello Kai,

Gonjo Wulung on these Keris are quite usual. This one has been slightly bent upwards, that's why Greneng looks a bit curious. Luckily it didn't break, these Gonjo Wulung can be very brittle.
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Old 5th September 2017, 12:04 AM   #20
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Thanks, Gustav!

Quote:
Gonjo Wulung on these Keris are quite usual.

Yes - it is just way more difficult to establish whether any gonjo wulung has been added/changed later or really is original though. It may not be a major issue for a given keris; however, when looking closely at the greneng, I try to establish them being really comparable to the rest of the blade first.


Quote:
This one has been slightly bent upwards, that's why Greneng looks a bit curious.

Yes, this makes things tougher. However, there seem to be also differences between the ron dha nunut and the neighbouring ron dha (as well as with the jenggot) that can't be explained by distortion from bending.


Quote:
Luckily it didn't break, these Gonjo Wulung can be very brittle.

I assume there may be some incentive to cut short the "washing" of the iron prior to crafting these...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 5th September 2017, 08:04 AM   #21
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Hello Kai and Gustav,
I was also a bit surprised to discover the ganja wulung, but as far as I can see it looks original and the craftsmanship is similar to the blade itself.
It seems to have been hammered indeed and it is slightly misaligned with the blade and the blade is not perfectly sitting on the gonjo on the back side. I assume that the ganja was loose and re-glued, and not properly positioned after gluing.
I am very surprised to see the sharp details of the greneng, especially the ripandan.
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 5th September 2017 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 5th September 2017, 08:15 AM   #22
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Considering the excellent condition & thickness of the blade and the quality of the metal, has anyone an opinion why this blade was shortened? (purposely broken?). Unfortunately I have no clue about the history of this blade.
Regards
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Old 5th September 2017, 11:15 AM   #23
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Hello Jean,

The result even exceed my prediction

I don't know why this keris has top part like that.
But, when I examine the pamor from the top part. I have just realized that the pamor is not exceeding the edge of the wilah. Thats quite strange to me. From my opinion, it looks like the creator of top part has calculated so the pamor won't exceed it's edge.

Also, the two side also have different shape of top edge. Does the top part (pucuk wilah)of this keris slightly tilted? Could you provide the picture of the top part rotated 90 degree? (From it's thin side)

Thank you


Best regards,

Joe
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Old 5th September 2017, 12:59 PM   #24
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Hi Jean,

That's one nice keris. Congratulations. It's a pity it got broken like that. Nevertheless it is still a very handsome keris.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bejo
Hello Jean,

But, when I examine the pamor from the top part. I have just realized that the pamor is not exceeding the edge of the wilah. Thats quite strange to me. From my opinion, it looks like the creator of top part has calculated so the pamor won't exceed it's edge.



Hi Bejo,

I think since the thickness of the blade towards the tip reduces after being reshaped, IMHO it is natural that the pamor does not exceed the wilah.

I once reshaped a broken tip of a keris. We can adjust the thickness when filing so that the pamor does not exceed towards the tip. If it is too close to the tip just file a bit more.

We just need to etch the blade a bit along the way so that we can see where the pamor is after each session of filing/grinding. Picture below is the reshaped tip before and after it was etched. We can see the pamor surfacing. (I think this pic is from different side though)
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Last edited by rasdan : 5th September 2017 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 5th September 2017, 01:36 PM   #25
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Yes, Rasdan is right, if you file the tip of a blade the steel core will be exposed so there is a slorok (exposed core without pamor) at the edge of the tip.
Joe, the odd look of the tip (asymmetrical) is simply because the blade was cut and a new tip was made by filing.
Regards
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Old 6th September 2017, 02:32 AM   #26
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Hello Rasdan and Jean,

Thank you for your explanation. It adds new experince to me.

Besr regards,

Joe
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Old 26th September 2017, 04:12 PM   #27
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Hi Jean and all others,

First, never the less the origin of the blade, reshaping and age, IMO a very nice blade! Providing a blade the looks that are pleasant to the eye within the options and with the intention to do it as good one can do, is never (IMO) a bad thing.

I wonder what the measurements of the blade are, and were when it still had all its luks before reshaping. Maybe this could provide a better view on the possibility if it could be Banten or Bali. The first thing that came up in my mind was indeed Banten, before reading one word. But i will never claim in anyway to be any kind of expert. So that is probably not worth much.

I life in the Netherlands, as some of you might know. And my country in probably one of the country's world wide that have the most kerisses after the Indonesian and Malay area, but i have to say that i did not see much Banten keris here in Netherlands except in museum collections.

The finished result is in my eyes pleasurable to see, and also for the washing result of the blade impressive. Did you get this in the first try? And what type of waragnan did you use?

Kind regards Michel, Amsterdam.
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Old 26th September 2017, 04:27 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Musea are really obsessed with preservation. You'll have a really tough time to even have them considering any treatments that bear the slightest risk of corrosion/etc. much less experimental treatments! I also believe there is no certified museum conservator competent in doing warangan either.

BTW, I don't think the warangan treatment (if competently done by the paste method rather than soaking) will reduce the value of this blade. I would not dare to ship such a piece to Indonesia though...


Hi Kai, hru long time ago!
I am convinced that musea have the knowledge to do this, and if not could get this is a short time. I think the main reason they do not practice this like you already said, preservation this combined with value. The thought like "if it not broke, dont try to fix it" (IT rule 1) applies IMO. Most museum have conservators/curators and a well trained and experienced restoration department, at least the ones i know here in Amsterdam. I am not sure how the musea in Indonesia think about this, maybe one of the Indonesian forum members could provide information about this, would be nice to know.

If the waragnan treatment influences the value of a blade? Might depend of the criteria the interested buyer/owner have. So this could be seen as a personal thing, rather then a hard fact. Some people rather have a for example sikim with patina, so they see that it is old , others rather see it cleaned. What the best is to do, not sure. Maybe the best to do is follow your instinct and feeling, in the end you must be senang with the result and overall looks!

Kind regards Michel
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Old 26th September 2017, 08:50 PM   #29
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Museum Radya Pustaka in Solo, Jawa Tengah, used to periodically clean and stain tosan aji that was on display, I do not know if they still do. The administrative arrangements for this museum changed not so long ago, so anything is possible.

In Australia there was at least one museum conservator who was trained in traditional Javanese cleaning and staining methods, and one museum curator who had a good understanding of the processes involved. They both received their training and instruction more than 25 years ago, so I do not know the current situation.
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Old 27th September 2017, 07:53 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulbuntet
Hi Jean and all others,


I wonder what the measurements of the blade are, and were when it still had all its luks before reshaping.

The finished result is in my eyes pleasurable to see, and also for the washing result of the blade impressive. Did you get this in the first try? And what type of waragnan did you use?

Kind regards Michel, Amsterdam.


Hi Michel,
Thank you for your comments. The blade is 31.5 cm long excluding the pesi but it was probably about 38 cm originally and with 13 luks.
The warangan treatment was made in Solo and the craftsman uses an arsenic solution, not a paste.
Best regards
Jean
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