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Old 2nd December 2017, 02:04 AM   #1
alexish
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Default Kemardikan Madurese keris with 4 kembang kacang

I hereby enclose a Kemardikan Madurese keris with 4 kembang kacang for comments.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 03:41 AM   #2
Rick
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Red face You Asked

Not meant to offend, but for me:

The wilah reminds me of a Pizza with too many toppings; there's no harmony expressed in the wilah; it's like keris science fiction.

The carving of the dress is better than the last example of Madura style carving you submitted.

I find the keris jarring; but maybe it is purely an art piece.

To each his own
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Old 2nd December 2017, 04:22 AM   #3
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I appreciate your comments. I understand that this keris is based on another older kemardikan example. I enclose a picture. I am wondering whether another collector has encountered another example of this particular Keris Dhapur before?
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Old 2nd December 2017, 07:22 AM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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These extreme Kemardikan blades are not really the sort of thing that I find attractive, but there is no denying that in Alexish's example,the metal carving is very skilled, as is the wood carving.

Present day Javanese society and culture accepts this type of blade as legitimate art, so I guess we just need to try to adopt the same sort of mind set that we might use when we view any modern art. My overall artistic tastes seem to have not progressed much beyond the mid-19th century, and for me, its the same with keris art:- I like traditional, I do not like modern. But that does not mean that I am unable to appreciate the thought and the work that has gone into a piece of modern art.

In about 1982 I attended a showing of keris that had been made by the new keris makers from the ASKI (Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia) in Solo, Jawa Tengah. I was with Panembahan Harjonegoro ( he was not a Panembahan yet), Bp. Pauzan Pusposukado (Alm.) and Bp. Yohannes Yantono ( who was one of the ASKI people).In about 1982 the Javanese keris revival was still very young, the idea of Kamardikan keris being legitimate keris art did not yet exist. In fact, the classification of "Kemardikan Keris" did not yet exist.

The ASKI boys had placed on exhibition a number of keris that deviated from the accepted dhapurs. I recall Panembahan Harjonegoro's comment very clearly:-

"Well, yes, certainly this is art. But are they keris?"

That pretty much sums up my attitude too.

But to be objective, it all depends upon how we consider the keris:- if we use the traditional standards and link those standards to the artistic and cultural iconography, then of course these extreme Kamardikan keris are not in any way able to be accepted as true keris.

However, if we simplify things and accept the Extreme Kemardikan keris as art that is based upon the form of the keris, it becomes no different to appraising any art form. We use the overall standards for art appraisal, rather than the overall standards for keris appraisal.

Using those art appraisal standards, I feel that Alexish's keris must be accepted as a very competent example of the Javanese plastic arts.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 08:54 AM   #5
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I am in full agreement with Alan's opinion and also much prefer traditional art to modern one and this includes the keris especially....
May be because I am part of "orang tangguh tua"?
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Old 2nd December 2017, 11:47 AM   #6
alexish
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Default Forge lines on wilah

Dear fellow collectors,

All your comments are really appreciated.

Note that although the wilah is kelengan, forge lines are still visible, as shown in the attached picture.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 07:15 PM   #7
David
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I also agree with Alan that as part of modern keris art this is an aspect of keris culture that we simply need to accept, even if many of us do not enjoy it. I would never personally consider collecting a keris like this, but to each their own. Just as i can walk into the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and find countless paintings and sculptures that i find hideous in appearance and execution that are still being accepted by the art world as worthy of display.
This particular work bothers me even further since it is mixing elements of more than one keris culture, including unduk-unduk (seahorse) figures that AFAIK are only to be found on certain Peninsula keris. So the whole thing is a bit of a fantasy piece to my eye and nothing that would likely ever be seen as a serious keris by either a Madurese or Malaysian. But it is nicely crafted for sure. As an art piece it seems that many of these young keris makers have it in their heads that they must re-invent the wheel and that some more is better. I will maintain the old adage that LESS is actually more in these cases. Not my cuppa tea for sure.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 10:51 PM   #8
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Hi Alexish
this appears very skilfully made, both the blade and the dress. Can you tell us more about the piece, was it made for a competition, was it commissioned, or was it perhaps purely to see if it could be done. Did the maker have a reason for leaving the forge lines visible, why did they chose to integrate 4 kembang kacang.
cheers
Drd
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Old 3rd December 2017, 01:45 AM   #9
alexish
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Default Direct commission from Aeng Tong Tong

Quote:
Originally Posted by drdavid
Hi Alexish
this appears very skilfully made, both the blade and the dress. Can you tell us more about the piece, was it made for a competition, was it commissioned, or was it perhaps purely to see if it could be done. Did the maker have a reason for leaving the forge lines visible, why did they chose to integrate 4 kembang kacang.
cheers
Drd


Dear Dr. David,

the keris was commissioned directly from the maker who resides in Aeng Tong Tong. I enclose some pictures of the different stages by which the keris was made. The same person made both the sheath and the blade, which is extraordinary.
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Last edited by David : 3rd December 2017 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Deleted commercial information
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Old 3rd December 2017, 06:20 PM   #10
David
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Alexish, i'm not sure that you really addressed Dr. David's questions other than acknowledging that this was a commissioned piece.
Was it commissioned by you personally for your own collection?
If so i am also curious to hear the answers to the questions that Dr. D asked. I am also curious why you would have commissioned the maker to add the unduk-unduk (seahorse) figures into the design since these are not really relevant to Madurese and Javanese style keris.
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Old 4th December 2017, 02:32 AM   #11
alexish
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Default Inspiration

The keris wilah and sarung are entirely my design, inspired by the following attached images.
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Old 4th December 2017, 04:36 AM   #12
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So your influences seem to come from all over the archipelago, encompassing multiple and differing keris cultures from across the entire area. Do you image that the keris should be presented as some kind of generic mishmash of styles, mixing various elements of regional forms and designs from completely different tribal communities of people together into some kind of syncretic representation of the ultimate everything keris? Interesting.
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Old 4th December 2017, 04:43 AM   #13
A. G. Maisey
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Alexish, I do understand that you have a deep interest in the art of the keris, but do you understand that keris art is subject to certain restrictions upon design ?

Design of the keris itself, and of the dress for the keris need to meet some cultural requirements, even when they deviate from traditional cultural standards.

Quite simply, the keris form is not a blank canvas that is open to each of us to do with as we wish, at least not within keris culture, however, within the field of modern art, my understanding is that virtually anything is acceptable, thus, perhaps your involvement in keris design may be better appreciated in a discussion group where the focus is modern art, rather than the keris.

I was mentored for many years by Empu Suparman Supawijaya, the first man in post war Jawa to be made an Empu Keris by the Karaton Surakarta, and I can assure you that by his standards, you have created something that he, and many other traditional Javanese people would find more than a little offensive.

In the keris there are a number of esoteric relationships that include indigenous Javanese belief systems and ancestor worship.

If we were to think of this in Christian terms what you have done with your keris designs is to take the Cross of Christ and use it as a canvas for, say, Motor Art, or Surf Art. It is at least a quite disrespectful approach.

I am certain that you did not realise this relationship between the Keris and Javanese belief systems, however, I do hope that you will take what I have written above under consideration and in future act in an appropriate fashion.

EDIT

I have just received a private email pointing out to me that although you, Alexish, did in fact design this keris, it was willingly made by an Indonesian artist, thus if an Indonesian artist could make it, how could it possibly offend anybody?

Well, within Indonesia there are many different cultures and societies, and many different standards. I am speaking from the basis of what I was taught by a very traditional Javanese gentleman of the old school, who was also a Karaton Empu in Surakarta Central Jawa.

Your keris was made by a commercial artist living in Madura, who needs to earn money to support himself and his family.

It can be expected that what one man finds acceptable, another might find unacceptable. Empu Suparman, now regrettably departed to a higher realm, would become highly agitated when he spoke of the innovations of the "Anak-Anak ASKI", and their work did not deviate so much from traditional design as does the work of many current makers who live in Madura.

This is just the difference between the old traditional perspective, and the modern non-traditional perspective:- 2017 is not 1917; Sumenep, Madura is not Surakarta, Jawa Tengah; Jakarta is not Surakarta Jawa Tengah; an Empu created by PB XII is not the same as an empu created by some later personage.

Time alters perspective.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 4th December 2017 at 07:24 AM.
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