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Old 29th May 2018, 11:10 PM   #31
A. G. Maisey
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Yes Jean, I agree that if we see a monkey, or monkey-like figure, in Balinese and Hindu art, and that figure carries a gada, then it is reasonable to assume that a representation of Hanoman is intended.
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Old 29th May 2018, 11:19 PM   #32
Battara
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Regarding your extended post before this last one, I concur fully. Taken out of the cultural milieu, any ethnographic piece would lose its meaning and ultimately its true value.
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Old 30th May 2018, 04:50 AM   #33
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Taking a look at Lambe Gajah of the Keris with monkey hilt, there is no possibility they were done in 18th cent. If they are original (sorry about being so Western), actually also no possibility both Keris were made by the same person.

And yes, re-creating and replacing Pusaka is nothing new.

Last edited by Gustav : 30th May 2018 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 30th May 2018, 07:43 AM   #34
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Gustav, would you be so kind as to enlighten us as to why these two keris were not made in the 18th century, and why the same person could not have made them both?

If you are correct it means that a number of very respected and highly placed people in Bali are either utterly wrong, or (heaven forbid) they are deliberately flim-flaming the public.

I must say that I am enormously impressed by your ability to draw these conclusions upon the basis of my photographs. I actually did not think that these photos were so wonderful.
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Old 30th May 2018, 12:58 PM   #35
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Thank you Alan and Gustav.
Just for the sake of discussion: Yes, it is very difficult for a Western collector to admit that a kris with an old blade but recent or recently refurbished hilt, scabbard, and kinatah can be legitimately called an old kris....
I can't tell whether these blades date from the 18th century and were made by Pande Rudaya or rather the well-known Empu Tidah Tahu, especially because of the kinatah but otherwise these blades do not look very special. One indicator would be the lenght of the blade as Alan told us before that the long Balinese blades probably did not exist before the 19th century if I remember well? Do we know whether the royal krisses from Karangasem survive from the puputans?
Regards
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Old 30th May 2018, 10:48 PM   #36
A. G. Maisey
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Yes Jean, you have identified the problem well.

By and large, collectors of keris living in western, and westernised societies do not have the vaguest idea of the value systems that apply to Balinese and Javanese keris in their societies of origin.

In fact, they perhaps do not even understand that the keris is in fact only the ferric material and its supportive nickelous material that has been brought into existence by an empu or pande.

I think that probably most keris collectors are now aware that the keris can be identified as analogous to its custodian, that is to say, man and keris are able to be identified as representative one of the other.
But I also believe that most of the people who are aware of this relationship between man and keris have not yet realised that the clothing of the man possesses the same nature as does the adornment of the keris, be that adornment wrongko, jejeran, wewer or kinatah work.

The wrongko has a feminine nature, and just as a wife can enhance the appearance and position of her husband, so can the wrongko enhance the keris which she protects (yes, "she":- the wrongko is feminine in nature). Just as a man can have a number of wives, either one at a time, or several at the one time, so it is usual for a keris to have more than a single wrongko, and for a wrongko to be replaced when this becomes necessary.

The jejeran almost invariably has a protective nature. This is not exclusive to the keris, but can be identified in other SE Asian weaponry, for example in the mandau and its associated forms. The blade of the keris has the nature of a shrine, and the jejeran has the function of protecting the blade from the possession of evil or undesirable forces.

Those who will only accept a keris as "old" if that keris is in an old wrongko, and is fitted with an old handle, cannot be considered to be either keris collectors, or students of the keris. These people are in fact antique collectors who have a liking for keris. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, we all have our own preferences; apart from keris I also collect other things, and some of those things must be old or I don't want them. For example, I have not the slightest interest in new English table silver, but I do have a great liking for British table silver that pre-dates 1900. My porridge spoon dates from the 1870's, and my other table cutlery was made before Captain Cook landed in Australia.

So, if a person only finds a keris acceptable if that keris is accompanied by old dress, well, that's fine, that's what he likes. But let not that lover of the antique attempt to redefine the nature of the keris for those who do understand the keris.

Jean, I don't think I have ever claimed that long Balinese blades did not exist prior to the 19th century. If I have I would really appreciate it if you could give me the quote, as perhaps what I wrote was not clearly defined.

What I have said and written, more than once, is that the perceived size of a keris reflects the position in society of the man wearing it. I use the word perceived, because the scabbard could in fact be much longer than the blade, this could be the case where a family pusaka keris is involved, as most very early Balinese keris are in fact of Javanese style, and perhaps of Javanese origin.

Certainly the large beautifully sculpted Balinese keris that we are all familiar with did become more prevalent during the 19th century, and this can be put down to two major factors:- increase in population and easier access to materials.

But large Balinese keris did exist in earlier times, I have several that can be reliably dated to before 1800.

As to the existence of royal keris from Karangasem.

I Gusti Bagus Jelantik who can probably be identified as the last legitimate Raja of Karangasem died in 1966 at the age of 79, he had 12 wives and 31 children. The Puri Karangasem still exists, I have visited it several times, the royal line of Karangasem still exists.

It is reasonable to assume that into the 20th century, and until today, keris having an association with the Puri Karangasem still exist and are still in use by members of the royal line of Karangasem.

However, it should be noted that the two keris under discussion here are not claimed to have come from the Puri Karangasem, but rather from the Kerajaan Karangasem, and they are pusaka keris. Nobody has ever claimed that they are Pusaka Keris from the Puri Karangasem.

Yes, I have said that kings dress differently to farmers, but I have not said that these keris belonged to any king.

In respect of the maker of these two blades under discussion, frankly, I consider it remarkable that anybody could see sufficient detail of either of the two actual keris to permit them to identify the tells of a maker. I could not, and although I was within probably 12 inches of both keris, they were behind glass, I was unable to handle them, and much of the surface of each keris was obscured. If they had been stripped of dress and kinatah, if I could handle them, I might --- only "might" --- be able to form a tentative opinion. Presented as they are, most especially in a photo, well, I have nothing but respect for Gustav's extreme perspicacity.

Incidentally Jean, I believe Empu Tidak Tahu, also known as Mpu Belum Tahu was Javanese, or perhaps Malay, there seems to be some confusion as to his origin, but I'm inclined to regard him as Malay. Possibly one of the best known of the Javanese empus is Mpu Ora Ngerti. I understand that his Balinese equivalent is Pande Nenten Uning also known as Pande Tusing Tawang.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 31st May 2018 at 03:16 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 31st May 2018, 10:28 AM   #37
Jean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, I don't think I have ever claimed that long Balinese blades did not exist prior to the 19th century. If I have I would really appreciate it if you could give me the quote, as perhaps what I wrote was not clearly defined.
Certainly the large beautifully sculpted Balinese keris that we are all familiar with did become more prevalent during the 19th century, and this can be put down to two major factors:- increase in population and easier access to materials.
But large Balinese keris did exist in earlier times, I have several that can be reliably dated to before 1800.

Incidentally Jean, I believe Empu Tidak Tahu, also known as Mpu Belum Tahu was Javanese, or perhaps Malay, there seems to be some confusion as to his origin, but I'm inclined to regard him as Malay. Possibly one of the best known of the Javanese empus is Mpu Ora Ngerti. I understand that his Balinese equivalent is Pande Nenten Uning also known as Pande Tusing Tawang.


Hello Alan,
Thank you for your very interesting message which should close the discussion about these 2 krisses I think, although there is a legitimate uncertainty regarding the age of these 2 blades as advised by Gustav.
Thank you for your clarification regarding the age of the large balinese blades, your above statement is probably what you told me earlier, sorry for the confusion
I did not know that Empu Tidak Tahu exist (it was just a joke) but I believe that he was the maker of most of my krisses!
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 31st May 2018 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 31st May 2018, 11:34 AM   #38
jagabuwana
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And what of the legendary Empu Tempe Tahu?
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Old 31st May 2018, 11:58 AM   #39
A. G. Maisey
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Actually Jogo, I know Mpu Tempe quite well, he has moved to The Land of Oz now you know, we often have lunch together

Jean, I'm sorry, I did not realise you were joking.

Yes , of course Mpu Tidak Tahu is real, some people call him Mpu Nggak Tau, others Belum Tahu, but he's real right enough, apparently extremely productive, I think he has probably been responsible for most keris in most collections. Most people in Jawa know him as Mpu Ora Ngerti, and swear that these two Mpus are both same person, a bit like Mpu Kodok in the long ago.

But naturally all those Balinese keris that are attributed to Pande Nenten Uning or Pande Tusing Tawang --- depending upon whom one is speaking with --- are the product of somebody else entirely.
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