Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Keris Warung Kopi
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 1st December 2017, 04:58 PM   #1
Green
Member
 
Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 166
Default Questions on 2 Javanese blades

I just bought a couple of Javanese keris blades. I have a few questions that I hope some of you may help.

1: Dhapur. Both blades look the same form/dhapur to me. what dhapur is this called?

2: Pamor: The one with patches of pamor is 'tambal' from my understanding. Is this correct? what is the other blade's pamor type?

3: Age: The pesi of both looked quite heavily corroded especially towards the end. This does not necessarily mean that the blades are old as some people are quite adept at making blades look old... but based on the blade form and general look of the blades I won't be surprised if they are actually genuinely old. So, are these blades old? and this form of blades typically came from which tangguh?

4: I have a couple of ladrang wrongko that I hope to use for these blades. Are the ladrang type suitable for these blades? if not what are the suitable types?

5: What are suitable hilt type(s) for these? I am not a fan of simple zen like form of Javanese Deder and hoping to use alternative types if appropriate. I am wondering if cheribon pesisiran hilts would be suitable?... the bota bajang and their ilks? or even maduran donoriko/jagungan/ tree of life types? would these be compatible with ladrang wrongko?


Sorry for the long Qs but bad pics.
Attached Images
    
Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st December 2017, 05:52 PM   #2
Jean
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,022
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
I just bought a couple of Javanese keris blades. I have a few questions that I hope some of you may help.

1: Dhapur. Both blades look the same form/dhapur to me. what dhapur is this called?

2: Pamor: The one with patches of pamor is 'tambal' from my understanding. Is this correct? what is the other blade's pamor type?

3: Age: The pesi of both looked quite heavily corroded especially towards the end. This does not necessarily mean that the blades are old as some people are quite adept at making blades look old... but based on the blade form and general look of the blades I won't be surprised if they are actually genuinely old. So, are these blades old? and this form of blades typically came from which tangguh?

4: I have a couple of ladrang wrongko that I hope to use for these blades. Are the ladrang type suitable for these blades? if not what are the suitable types?

5: What are suitable hilt type(s) for these? I am not a fan of simple zen like form of Javanese Deder and hoping to use alternative types if appropriate. I am wondering if cheribon pesisiran hilts would be suitable?... the bota bajang and their ilks? or even maduran donoriko/jagungan/ tree of life types? would these be compatible with ladrang wrongko?


Sorry for the long Qs but bad pics.


Hello Green,
Some replies to your questions:
1: The top blade has 9 waves and the bottom one 5 waves so they have a different dapur type. The dapur of the top blade is Sempana with one exception? (greneng) and the bottom one is Pendawa Lare with two exceptions? (tikel alis & greneng).
2. The pics are poor so I am not sure but but the top blade seems to have a pamor pattern dwiwarna (Toya Mambeg/ Ngulit Semangka nggajih) and the bottom blade pamor Tambal Wengkon.
3. Both blades look old but their quality does not qualify them for attributing a tangguh, the top one is probably from East Java and the bottom one from Central Java.
4. Yes, a ladrang wrongko would be suitable for these blades.
5. A Javanese nunggak semi hilt is the best choice for matching with these blades and the ladrang wrongko but a Madurese hilt would be convenient also if desired.
Regards
Jean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st December 2017, 07:50 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,576
Default

With my apologies Green, the images are simply not good enough to provide a clear idea of what we are looking at.

However, that said, and based upon what I believe I can see.

Both keris are not current, nor recent, production, but both keris are eroded. When new they would have been of acceptable quality, but they are now old and tired.

The top keris has 9 waves, using the Surakarta Pakem as the reference, it is probably able to be classified as Dhapur Sempana. Sempana possesses the following ricikan:-

luk sanga, sekar kacang, jalen, lambe gajah, pejetan

pamor appears to be dwi warna, from these images, and considering blade condition, I hesitate to name the motifs.

The lower keris has 5 waves, using the Surakarta Pakem as the reference, this keris is diluar pakem, that is to say, it does not conform to a dhapur recognised by the Surakarta Karaton.

However, using Haryoguritno as a reference, we can come close to an accepted dhapur. Haryoguritno lists Pandhawa Lare ricikan as:-

kembang kacang, jalen, lambe gajah, pejetan, tikel alis, srawayan, greneng

this keris under discussion does not appear to have srawayan, it might once have had greneng, but now does not, the tikel alis is dubious, it might or might not have tikel alis

So using these two popular references, it is still diluar pakem.

However, if we move away from classical standards, and adopt a current convention, we could give the name of "Sempana Luk Lima" to this lower keris.

pamor appears to be tambal wengkon

It is absolutely impossible to give a tangguh classification from these images, even if the images were professional studio photos, it would still be impossible to give a supportable opinion on tangguh classification. A rough guess, yes, that could perhaps be given from good photos, something worthwhile, no.

In respect of dress, in broad terms, it is possible to dress any wilah in any wrongko, and fit any Javanese/Madurese hilt that one wishes to fit.

However, if we wish to be more or less correct in our choice of dress, the hilt should harmonise with the wrongko. Generally speaking, the only acceptable hilt to fit with a Central Javanese ladrangan wrongko, is a Central Javanese planar hilt of the type that is intended to be worn with that wrongko. Exceptions can occur, especially if we look at the type of dress that is accepted as usual for a Canthangbalung, or for a display keris that is not really intended for wear.

If the wrongko is a Madura or North Coast or Jawa Timur wrongko, a figural or highly carved hilt can sometimes be acceptable, but the height of such a hilt must be in harmony with the height of the wrongko.

If we move away from the accepted and established forms of dress the result can very often be far from pleasing, it can create a feeling of unquiet, or restlessness in the person viewing the keris, and this is the exact opposite of the feeling that should be created.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 01:38 PM   #4
Green
Member
 
Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 166
Default

Thank you Jean and Alan for your comments.



Jean said that only a keris of suitable quality merit a tangguh.
My understanding is that a tangguh merely denotes when (which era) a keris is made, irrespective of what quality it has, hence a badly made keris could be from say, mataram or segaluh era for example and it can be described as such

Quality aside, if my keris is old, which possible era was it made ? can we make a rough estimate?

Attached are a few more slightly better pics of close ups of the lower part of the blades and with possible hilts. Are they suitable? . I agree with Alan, a badly matched parts will make the keris look inappropriate and jarring at the very least. But my understanding of Javanese keris is too inadequate to make a good judgement if it is a good mix/fit or not. Would appreciate your comment.

A follow up question on the Javanese deder. The one I fit to the blade with tambal wengkon pamor has full carvings and I have not seen this kind of full ornamentation on typical Javanese deder before. Is this a new whimsical style by carvers with too much time on their hand or a legitimate decorative motif? the hilt is made of some form of ivory or possibly deer horn?


Attached Images
     
Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 01:42 PM   #5
Green
Member
 
Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 166
Default

here's the pics of the two blades with the hilts
Attached Images
 
Green is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 03:43 PM   #6
Jean
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,022
Default

Hello Green,
Thank you for the better pics. I will leave Alan to reply about the tangguh issue if he wishes, I would estimate that both blades were made during the 19th century, the 5 luk blade has pamor tambal only (no wengkon), and the 9 luk blade is quite worn-out and crudely made (pejetan, gonjo, upper pamor pattern).
The carved javanese hilt is in a quite rare but legitimate style I think. The janggelan hilt looks too big for the 9 luk blade IMO.
Best regards
Jean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 05:08 PM   #7
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,309
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
I would estimate that both blades were made during the 19th century, the 5 luk blade has pamor tambal only (no wengkon), and the 9 luk blade is quite worn-out and crudely made (pejetan, gonjo, upper pamor pattern).

I suspect that the 9 luk might be a bit older than 19th century. I think the blade is more worn-out that crudely made.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 05:51 PM   #8
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,988
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I suspect that the 9 luk might be a bit older than 19th century. I think the blade is more worn-out that crudely made.


Agree complete with you, I think as well that the blade is older as 19th century and think that the blade is too worn to state that it's crudely made.
Sajen is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 05:57 PM   #9
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 5,988
Default

For a little better view!
Attached Images
  
Sajen is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 07:55 PM   #10
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,576
Default

Yes, the 5 luk keris has no wengkon, what appeared to be the wengkon, is in fact the steel slorok (core). In respect of the age of this keris I hesitate to put an age onto it. If I were to handle it I might feel more inclined to take a punt, but from a pic? Not really --- but still, how about later than 1700, earlier than 1900?

The 9 luk is definitely an older piece, it is not a Central Javanese style, I feel it may have been quite a decent keris when it was new, and I'm inclined to place it as pre-1800.

However, when we involve ourselves in putting dates AS WE UNDERSTAND TIME onto a Javanese keris we are engaging in a pretty silly exercise.

In many cases we can CLASSIFY a keris according to a Solonese originated system that we call "tangguh". Although this system principally uses the names of historic eras to classify a keris, the relationship of the classification to the historic era is part of a system of belief, it is not reality --- except in the case of later classifications, such as Surakarta, or Hamengkubuwanaan, or Kemardikan.

Another problem with tangguh is that the way it is used now is as a part of a selling system, in that everybody who buys a keris wants to hear a tangguh attached to it, and almost everybody who sells a keris wants to name a tangguh for the keris he is selling. This is modern usage, and has little relevance to the reasons for the initiation of the tangguh system.

This is what Jean meant when he said that the quality of the kerises was not high enough to permit giving a tangguh. In the classical sense Jean was absolutely correct. But in the modern sense I'd say that most current generation collectors would throw their hat into the ring and give an opinion for one tangguh or another. In fact, that is the meaning of the word "tangguh" = "opinion".

Here is a link to a few comments I wrote some years ago that may assist in gaining a slight understanding of the idea of "tangguh".

http://www.kerisattosanaji.com/keristangguh.html

In respect of the hilts, the "corn cob" looks old, the planar I have no idea at all if old or recent, nor of material; in the hand I could say with reasonable certainty, from a photo I cannot. The planar hilt appears to be East Javanese in origin.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 08:29 PM   #11
Paul B.
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 5
Default Questions on 2 Javanese blades

Wonder if the Janggelan / Gunungan ( the 'corncob') handle is a good choice for the blade as it is a typical Madurese ukiran. Nevertheless I like it and could well be a patinated ivory piece. Could we see it in detail and the reverse side?
Paul B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 09:07 PM   #12
Jean
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,022
Default

Thank you Alan and I agree with you.
Of course the 9 luk blade looks older than the 5 luk but could it just be because of the metal quality (more porous so prone to corrosion) or poor maintenance?
I hesitated to date it to pre-1800 because of the pamor miring at the base (Toya Mambeg or Lawe Satukel?). Is there a clear evidence that these pamor patterns were already made during the 18th century or earlier? More generally am I too conservative to believe that very few common quality blades on the market pre-date 1800 contrary to the assertions from the kris sellers ?
Regards
Jean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 10:55 PM   #13
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,576
Default

Jean, I'm not looking at the metal in this 9 luk blade --- actually I find it close to impossible to form an opinion on the nature of metal from a photograph --- I'm looking at style, and stylistically it tends to West/North Jawa. The gonjo is very stiff, the gandhik seems longish. As is always the case, I'd need to handle it to give a supportable opinion, and that opinion would be based on determination of a supportable tangguh --- which in itself might seem to be a contradiction after my previous comments, but if you can determine a supportable tangguh, and of course that would need to be in modern terms, then you have a starting point, and you can ask the question of what areas were active that might produce a blade of that classification. I guess it all comes back to experience and opinion.

In so far as pamor is concerned, yes, it is a miring pamor, I'm a bit hesitant to put a name on the pamor in the sorsoran, it could be one of several and opinions vary, and it pretty much depends upon who or what has influenced your opinions.

I have handled keris in European collections that date back to pre-1700 that have both surface manipulated mlumah pamors, and pamor miring.

Major influences on Javanese metal work were the early influx of metal workers from the Indian sub-continent, the rise of Majapahit, and the collapse of Majapahit. Mojo went east by the early 1500's. 1500 to 1700 is 200 years, plenty of time for the development of the techniques used to produce pamor miring. Essentially, production of pamor miring only requires preservation of the grain formed during some of the common "washing" methods used to clean material. Its not rocket science.

Yes, certainly pamor work as an art form did develop over time, and is still developing, its just pattern welding, and that has been around for a very long time, think of Viking swords and the Merovingians, and the current pattern welders in Madura are in my opinion amongst the best who ever lived. Anywhere.

If we consider Figiel's work, he references outstanding pattern welding from India during the 1600's, work that is so advanced and complex that it could not just have come out of a vacuum, but must have been under development for an extended period of time. Jawa had long and intimate contact with India, in fact, up until (I think) the mid-1950's Javanese culture was regarded as an Indian sub-culture. It would be unrealistic to think that Indian metal working skills did not flow into Jawa.

The reason that we see so few older blades, or "common" blades with pamor miring is that the cost of a blade with a complex pamor is multiples of the cost of a blade with a simple mlumah pamor, and in the past not many people could pay that elevated price. Its a bit like furniture:- very high quality antique furniture was only available to people with very big incomes. The common people could afford lesser quality. The day labourers could afford junk. Just because something is old does not make it worthwhile, nor desirable. But if you come across an abused and neglected chair that has indications of quality workmanship, you might only pay the same for that as you would for a piece of day labourer's junk that was hidden in a barn for 200 years. Same with keris:- condition is one of the elements considered in appraisal.

I agree with you Jean, that many people who sell keris, and other antiques and art for that matter, do tend to be a little optimistic when it comes to affixing an estimate of age onto something, but there is more than adequate evidence to permit us to accept that complex pattern welding did occur in Jawa prior to 1800.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th December 2017, 11:26 PM   #14
David
Keris forum moderator
 
David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
Posts: 5,309
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
This is what Jean meant when he said that the quality of the kerises was not high enough to permit giving a tangguh. In the classical sense Jean was absolutely correct. But in the modern sense I'd say that most current generation collectors would throw their hat into the ring and give an opinion for one tangguh or another. In fact, that is the meaning of the word "tangguh" = "opinion".

Thanks Alan. I realize that Green did inquire about tangguh, so this information will hopefully be useful to him. However, what both myself and Detlef were commenting on was Jean describing this 9 luk blade as "crudely" made. Indeed this keris is no masterpiece and probably technically not worthy of assigning tangguh by more conservative methods, but i don't believe we are looking at a crudely made blade here, just one that has had perhaps more than its share of acid washings. And from what i understand from this conversation on pamors it would seem that the presence of a complex pamor miring as well as what appears to be multiple pamor forms it seems that this was more likely a keris created for someone of means who i can only assume would not have accepted a "crudely" forged keris for the extra money spent.
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2017, 12:12 AM   #15
A. G. Maisey
Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,576
Default

David, I do not want to get into the "crude"/"not crude" discussion, from my perspective this keris is simply too much eroded to judge what its quality might have been like when it was new. However, we rarely find an expensive pamor motif on a blade that lacks some degree of expertise in its manufacture.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th December 2017, 10:01 AM   #16
Jean
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,022
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I agree with you Jean, that many people who sell keris, and other antiques and art for that matter, do tend to be a little optimistic when it comes to affixing an estimate of age onto something, but there is more than adequate evidence to permit us to accept that complex pattern welding did occur in Jawa prior to 1800.


Thank you Alan for the confirmation.
Jean is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 08:22 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.