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Old 20th November 2017, 12:41 AM   #1
Rafngard
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Default Bali Keris for Comment.

Hello All,

I've been meaning to post photos of this one for a while.I finally got around to taking some today.

I suspect this Keris from Bali has some real age. A hole has been worn through, I suspect from repeated washings. I believe there's a superstition about holes like this, something about how if you gaze at something through the hole you're supposed to receive it. When I received it in the mail, I immediately looked at my kitchen. I'll let you decide what that says about me. Beyond this, the blade is thick and has well defined features.

I've only seen this style of hilt a handful of times. A similar one shows up on page 103 of Kris Gli Invincibili, and perhaps in another book (Maybe Frey, but I've not had much luck finding it). The below webpage says this style is "Cecanginan" and a search through the archives finds one posting. I suspect that the protrusions once had stones in them. One of them may have been shaved off.

http://old.blades.free.fr/keris/int...ukiran_bali.htm

And here

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=Cecanginan

It could probably use a uwer. I actually had purchase one, but it got lost in the mail. Maybe it's a sign.

Anyway, what do people think? Any examples of similar hilt's I've missed?
As always I'm happy to hear any and all thoughts and opinions.

Thanks,
Leif
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Old 22nd November 2017, 02:10 AM   #2
A. G. Maisey
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The hilt name is probably more correct given as "cenangan".

It is not usual for Balinese people to wash their keris, as is done in Jawa, periodically they polish them with powdered limestone, then restain with warangan. The hole in the wadidang would have been worn through, not eroded away.

Actually, the name "cenangan", and its variations don't make a lot of sense to me, because the part of a Balinese keris hilt that is normally gripped is called "cenang", that is to say, the part of the hilt between what we would call the pommel, and the swelling that prevents the hand slipping forward when wet with blood.

The Australian artist Donald Friend lived in Bali for an extended period, and during his stay there he collected a very large Balinese keris with one of these hilts. Eventually it finished up in an Australian collection.

That hole is not a "combong" (or complong, compong) it is just a hole, no special name.

A combong occurs in the actual body of the keris, normally where a weld joint has not come together, usually this is accidental, but the really highly valued combong is the one that has been intentionally made for talismanic effect.

A good combong is highly valued for its power in securing the affections of beautiful women, however, like any talisman, it only has an effect when you truly believe it will. Maybe all one needs is self confidence.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 05:24 PM   #3
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Leif, my very first keris was a rather old Javanese blade that had a hole worn through one of the sogokan. I also had a few people that identified this as "complong" but the truth of the matter is that true complong is as Alan described and not merely a hole worn through a blade from excessive age. It took be a little while before i understood that and currently in the keris world i believe there are many people who think these simple wear holes are complong. I believe this was probably started by dubious dealers who hoped to encourage sales on some of the more worn out items they had in stock. Unfortunately, like many misconceptions about keris in the marketplace, this one has gained some traction so i have encountered this misunderstanding of complong operating within numerous keris collecting communities.
About your Cecanginan hilt, i have attached a few more examples i found on the internet. I've chosen to use your spelling here not because i believe Alan is incorrect (i generally would defer to his opinion on such language issues), but simply because i could not find many hilts of this type using the "cenangan" spelling in my searches. It seems that you will find some with relatively smooth sides under that spelling, but not this specific bumpy version you show here.
I doubt that yours ever held stones in the little divots on your bumps. They don't look like settings to me and i don't think i've ever seen this form with stones set in the bumps before anyway.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:09 PM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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Re spelling.

I'm not inclined to dispute the transliteration from an old Bali script into Roman script, nor from a word that has been heard by a non-native speaker and then given in Roman script. Both Javanese and Balinese people, especially in non-academic or non-professional circles , are very inclined to play around with both vowels and consonants, the sound is important, not the physical rendition of the sound.

However, Shadeg gives us "cenang" as the "traditional hand-part of the hilt of a keris", also as "a kind of beaker".

"Cenang" is a noun, however, if we use the word as an adjective, as in a description of a type of hilt, it gains the "an", thus, it would be "danganan cenangan" :- the word "cenang" is describing the hilt "danganan". A bit like "gayam", and "gayaman":- use the word by itself and point to the wrongko, it is common to use just "gayam", use the word "gayam" + "wrongko" it is "wrongko gayaman". Actually, a "gayam" is a kind of tree and you can eat the nuts, which have a shape a bit like a gayaman wrongko, so a gayaman wrongko looks like a gayam tree nut.

If we add the prefix "ce" to a Balinese word, what we are doing is making the root into an intransitive verb that indicates that you must make the sound of the second syllable. It is playing with onomatopoeia.

Thus, this indicates to me that the word "cecanginan" was what a non-native speaker heard and wrote down:- "what's that called?" > "oh yah Pak, itulah namanya "cecanginan" --- and given nasally.


David, those pics you have posted are examples of old and new renditions of the same hilt style.

Once you get these little bumps you have the hilt style, the differences in spelling, or in pronunciation, do not indicate differences or shades of difference in the hilt style, its still the same hilt style, the only difference is in the way the informant gave the information.


I'll translate later if you wish, need to leave the house now.

I think from memory that Suteja Neka uses cenangan.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 11:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
David, those pics you have posted are examples of old and new renditions of the same hilt style.

Once you get these little bumps you have the hilt style, the differences in spelling, or in pronunciation, do not indicate differences or shades of difference in the hilt style, its still the same hilt style, the only difference is in the way the informant gave the information.

Thanks Alan. I am completely aware of that. Leif asked for examples of similar hilts so i obliged.
As i stated before, i am sure you are correct about the spelling and i would also agree that you are correct about how this misspelling has slipped into the lexicon. But that's the thing about language. A certain spelling takes hold amongst a certain group of people and though technically incorrect it becomes known by that spelling. When i went searching for images on the internet i tried both spellings and the one that yielded the best results for the images i was seeking was the misspelling. That doesn't make that spelling correct, but it obviously has reached a certain level of acceptance.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 06:26 AM   #6
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Yep, language changes, spellings change, even meanings change, but the problem with "cecanginan" is that it is not really misspelt, it can be a legit word, but it is a bit difficult to use it as a name.

Still, if enough people think they are using the correct word, belief can generate a life of its own.

Even if Balinese people think different.

I think there was a rather long and convoluted thread along these lines in another place, where it was more or less agreed that it didn't really matter at all what the people who owned the culture, cultural object and language thought was correct, what was important was what collectors thought was correct.

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Old 25th November 2017, 07:54 AM   #7
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Default Bali Keris for Comment.

Apart from the discussed name CENANGAN I have come across other (local) names as JAMPAKA - CAMPAKA - TJANGING - CANGIN - CANKRING - CECANGINAN - KAKI KUDA.
The last one is personally best known for this kind of handle.
But let's enjoy the beauty of it being inspired by nature: a thorny plant branch and a (lotus) flower on top.
The polychromic examples seems to be the oldest types.
Here are some others (the B/W are best known). Materials used can vary a lot.
The one with the whitish flower (seen from above) is from my one collection, others from the internet.
Leif: the little divots in the bumps could have had a filling as the square in the reproduced pic indicates.
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Old 25th November 2017, 07:45 PM   #8
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Oh yes?
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Old 25th November 2017, 07:52 PM   #9
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Hello All,

Firstly, thanks to everyone who responded! I appreciate it!

Alan, you are as always a wealth of knowledge! Thank you both for clarifying on cenangan and on combong. You are an asset to this community.

Believe, especially when there are a number of believers, does have a certain power doesn't it? Whether in the very real placebo effect, or in how many fortunes are made or lost every day any stock market.

Thanks to both David and to Paul for providing more pics. Is it safe to say that this isn't a very common hilt style?

Paul, Yes! You're absolutely right! There is one with residual filling! I can't believe I missed this.

I tried to take a few close up photos of this, and a few others were there's residual filling. It looks a bit like a blackish? resin of some kind. Almost like a wax. A black filling would fit with the aesthetic of the other examples.

Anyone have any clue what it might be? I'm wondering it it's restorable.

Thanks!
Leif
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Old 25th November 2017, 08:21 PM   #10
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I just found another example, one from Krisdisk, Page 5, Chapter 7. The full keris is on page 22

He says of it:
"A special variation of the wooden cylinder type is the Cecanginan/Danganan Tjanging hilt. Its name refers to Tjanging trunk, where the thorns have been chopped off. It may be a very old type of hilt as it seems to be mentioned in connection with Ken Arok ( first part of the 13th century)."

However, I'm given to understand that Jensen's words are to be taken with a grain of salt.

I wonder if the original aesthetic of mine was a bit like this, with the black tips.

Thanks,
Leif
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Old 25th November 2017, 09:55 PM   #11
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Hello Leif,

Yes, good examples of this type are not common.


Quote:
Paul, Yes! You're absolutely right! There is one with residual filling! I can't believe I missed this.

I tried to take a few close up photos of this, and a few others were there's residual filling. It looks a bit like a blackish? resin of some kind. Almost like a wax. A black filling would fit with the aesthetic of the other examples.

Anyone have any clue what it might be? I'm wondering it it's restorable.

Probably cutler's resin, at least from what can be seen in the older hilt. This mix should be much harder (after cooling down) than wax to take a polish and prove robust enough. If the remnants are wax-like it might be a later attempt to cosmetically fill the holes with hard wax as usual with antique furniture.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th November 2017, 01:57 AM   #12
A. G. Maisey
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Mr. Jensen was a very committed enthusiast and he reseached as well as could be reasonably expected from outside the relevant societies. He has my very great respect. His one shortcoming was an almost total lack of grassroots field research, and inadequacy of language skills. He was a very notable contributor to the body of keris literature. His work must be respected, but it can be questioned.

Balinese decorative art is all about effect. These indentations could have had anything inserted. Gemstones, even low grade ones I think would be unlikely, but glass, or scraps of gold foil would be quite likely.

Paul you have mentioned that you found these other names you have provided as possible alternatives to "cenangan" as "local".

May I ask you to clarify the meaning of "local" in this context?

Thank you.

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Old 26th November 2017, 08:20 AM   #13
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What's local...maybe skip that word and call it alternative names. Names given to it in different parts of Indonesian areas / islands.
Here another example in my collection, the one we all know wrapped around with cord (sometimes hair) but the flower on top makes it less common.
These are usually asociated with a walikat dress?
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Old 26th November 2017, 06:25 PM   #14
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Hello Paul,

Thanks for chiming in - it's good to see more input for keris Bali on this forum!


Quote:
Apart from the discussed name CENANGAN I have come across other (local) names as JAMPAKA - CAMPAKA - TJANGING - CANGIN - CANKRING - CECANGINAN - KAKI KUDA.
The last one is personally best known for this kind of handle.

Could you please indicate which of these names did you heard from Balinese when speaking Balinese? (I reckon that for this typical Balinese hilt, names given in BI or other foreign tongues are of little relevance, aren't they?)

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th November 2017, 08:34 PM   #15
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Thank very much for your prompt response to my question Paul, however, I do have something of a problem with the idea that people in "different parts of Indonesian areas / islands" would be able to place any legitimate name on a rather obscure Balinese hilt.

But first, to respond to your question. The sandang walikat wrongko is Javanese, the equivalent in Bali is the kajongan form. These two forms, ie, SW, and kajongan, have different applications in the two societies. The SW in Jawa can be worn in a frog (hanger) at the front by a ranking person in court attire, or it can be worn under a jacket, but in Bali the kajongan is considered to be suitable for use by young men. In Balinese society, the hilt designated as correct for use with a kajongan wrongko is the loncengan, a style which is related to the cenangan, and ultimately the gerantim, the gerantim of course being reserved for use by aristocrats.

In respect of names.
In my experience, which is not inconsiderable, even people living in an area where a keris hilt originates are unable to name the specific style of a hilt, one actually needs to speak with very senior people who are a part of the keris sub-culture in any area before it is possible to (perhaps) have a name placed upon a specific style of keris hilt.

All one will normally get from people outside the keris sub-culture is that a particular hilt is a "handle", for example, in Jawa it might be called a "gagang" by an educated person, or a person proficient in Basa Jawa, "tangkai" from a housewife, and from a person of one of the younger generations who was better schooled in BI than in Basa Jawa it would most likely get "pegangan".

But any keris hilt is generically a "jejeran" or an "ukiran", and there is a multitude of different styles, each with its own name, and quite frankly, very difficult to name correctly --- even for a very knowledgeable person. In fact probably the only people who could name correctly in a more or less consistent manner would be a tukang jejeran, or a m'ranggi who was from a line of these craftsmen.

However, in Jawa, and in Indonesia generally, most people are very reluctant not to give an answer when asked a question. The problem is, that the answer may not have a great deal of relevance to the question.

If we consider the names that you have suggested as alternatives to "cenangan", we can see a couple of small problems with those names, problems that could well be explained away because the informants were not Balinese, were not from an educated or current generation, or because of an accent.

CAMPAKA - TJANGING - CANGIN - CANKRING - CECANGINAN - KAKI KUDA

Probably "jampaka" & "campaka" are actually the same word; I do not know these words, is it possible that "cempaka" is intended? "cempaka" is the frangipani tree : frangipani tree branches tend to have lots of little lumps. This might be a description, rather than a name.

tjanging (pre1972 spelling) = canging

cangin is probably a misspelling of canging, the Balinese word that equates to the Javanese & BI word "cangkring"

cankring probably is intended to be cangkring, the cangkring tree is a kind of tree with big thorns, so I could see somebody likening this hilt style to a branch of this tree with the thorns cut off. Description, rather than name?

so probably cangin, tjanging, cankring are in fact all the same word --- or at least, intended to be so.

cecanginan, well, we've already agreed to disagree on this, so I'm happy to just let this one slide

kaki kuda is clearly not Balinese, it is Malay, or BI, so "kaki kuda" is probably a substitution for the well known "tapak kuda", which of course, this hilt is not; in Balinese the word "kaki" means "grandfather", "kaki" reflects the Balinese pronunciation of the BI & Javanese "kakek".

I think that most people who have been around this Forum for a while have some understanding of my ideas on the "name game", and with this little hilt we can see that game in full swing.

My stance is a rather obdurate one in these matters:-

a cultural object is owned by the people who own the culture from which the object comes, nobody else

those people who own the object are the only people who have the right to name it

If a person, or a group of people, from outside the relevant culture have an interest in an object from that culture, they have an obligation to use the terminology that applies within the culture; to do less than this is at the very least, tantamount to leveling insults at the relevant culture and the people who are its owners.

If we do not know the correct name for something, it is far better to use a generic name in our own language, than it is to invent a name, which when it comes to "Collectorese" is often no more than garbled ignorance.

For those of you who have an interest in this particular hilt style, there are some quite relevant and interesting comments in both "Keris Bali Bersejarah", and in "Keris Lombok".
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