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Old 30th April 2005, 02:32 AM   #121
Rick
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Thumbs up Thanks Blu

We need more smiles in our Keris discussions !!
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Old 30th April 2005, 05:20 PM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
I just read the other thread started by Vinny and regrets that it came to a rather unhappy ending. But anyway, lets not get red-faced and boiling when discussing keris.

I think we read too much into words sometimes (me included), and our emotions inserts 'extra' meaning/insinuation to those words that did not intend to convey those meaning/insinuation.

Studying or collecting keris is about patience and acceptance of diversity (from ideas, context to keris dress and dapur, etc). Lets strive towards these qualities.

Free smiles for everyone today!!!!!!!!!!


Cheers, Kai Wee!
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Old 3rd May 2005, 05:43 AM   #123
Boedhi Adhitya
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Greetings...

I would like to share some of my thought about this interesting topic. Thought i'm new to this forum, but i considered myself not new to keris (hopefully ) and have some first-hand-experience, because, lucky me , i live in Yogyakarta.

1. Why pamor is almost always considered as made from meteorite, especially by the Javanese ? IMHO, it's connected to the making process of the keris itself. While the empu make the keris, he (or she) is considered to act as a priest who marrying the heaven (the meteorite) and the earth (the iron). When the making is done, the picture of pamor on the blade is considered as the heaven's fate for the owner of the keris, so it's very important. If it's not made from meteorite (which is, sad to say, quite often), the sense of "heaven's fate" will be diminished. So, for the Javanese, the pamor is almost always considered as made of meteorite, as it act as the heavens, but for those who studied the keris (even if he is Javanese), it'sn't always meteorite.
For other cultures, "the act of marrying heaven and earth" by the bladesmith might not exist, so the meteorite used in making the blade only considered as the add of beauty and rarity, plus some mystic power, of course But it's never considered as the heaven's fate for the owner.

2. It's correct that not all the meteorite could be used to make the keris. I had asked this question to Empu Djeno (long before I join this forum off course, not when one of us ask about it ) the last living empu decendant who still make keris in Yogyakarta. He told me once he received order to make a keris from Belgian, who bring his own meteorite. But this meteorite can't stand the forging process. Prambanan meteorite is rich in iron and other metal, which resemble a chunk of metal than a pieces of stone. I've handle one of these which is belongs to Karaton of Yogyakarta for exhibition.

3. Only nem-neman keris made of Prambanan meteorite. For those who want authentic meteorite on it's blade, just run for the nem-neman (young) keris which is made when PB IX or X reigned in Surakarta, or HB VII - VIII reigned in Yogyakarta. Just be carefull, the keris maker in Madura is able today to make the keris almost identically the same as those nem-neman. the pamor is made from nickelous iron (perhaps they read this forum also ) Even Javanesse keris experts have difficulties to identify them. But for those who love the old ones, just relax, The Madura's maker never be able to copy them

4. To identify the material used for pamor by see or touch it is tricky for those who never seen different keris more than 5 a day for a month, even ones who had the chance may still make a mistakes. The elders in Java always said the best way to study keris is to look at it as much as you can get, the more the better, the best if the keris from the first-class quality. The things I can tell you, the meteorite pamor gives more color gradations/hue. It's dark gray, gray, white, and shining metallic-white,(etched or not) all in one. the best way to see it is under the sun ray. The ray from any artificial source will hardly reveal it. it's also sharp to the touch. The prambanan pamor has distinct characteristic, it's exhibit metallic-white and yellowish color. The madura's pamors, usually have pure (and boring) metallic white, not too sharp to the touch. But for the high-quality ones, they add some impurities, so it's more difficult for us to identify. The pamor made from lower grade iron, perhaps high in phosphorus, have a chalk-like dull white color, not sharp to the touch and usually do not stand etching.
5. In the ancient times, there were so many empu, so many style. They made so many kerises, from low grade quality to the high ones. The high ones, were only made by the court's empus. Why ? Because the court had the power to ask best empu in their region to work for them, had the money to bring the best material existed, and the most important, they kept the best work of the earlier empu, so the later, could learn and perfected the work of the earlier, something not possible for the empu outside the court. From my experiences, the pamor of good quality old kerises usually exhibit the characteristic of meteoric pamor (like prambanan ones, minus the yellowish hue), so I think it's save for me to say that it's made of meteorite. If it isn't, the empus might have developed a way to purify nickelous (or titanium, according to Arumbinang research) ore.
I do admit (and hoping) that scientific research on keris metallurgy must be carried over, because so many questions arise around it.

One more thing, it was quite usual for empus to mix several kind of iron and even pamor materials. Because "pamor" word, in Javanese language, came from the word "wor - awor" which mean to mix liberally.
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Old 3rd May 2005, 07:53 AM   #124
Kiai Carita
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Hello Gentlemen , one other peice of information that might help in imagining the keris would come from observing people in Java and Bali preparing offerings for the Unseen. Most offerings have prescribed ingredients and some are difficult to come by. In such cases only a tiny smidgin of the rare ingredient is considered enough as the 'sarat' has been fulfilled. Thus in the world of the keris I would imagine that a smidgin of meteorite of forgable metal could be mixed in with other pamor material, thus fulfilling the 'sarat' and enabling the weddinig of the heaven and the earth to be done by the Mpu. Through a process akin to the thoughts in the world of Western homeopathy the whole of the pamor can then be considered to be from the heavens and the wholeness of the keris as a prayer is manifested.

Some more information for Mr.Hyle about the intention of keris to be used as weapons, and the idea that the Javanese were taught about keris by monkeys. Mr. Hyle thinks that some keris might have never been intended as weapons. I would propose the opposite, that some keris were made to be able to serve as a material weapons of the last resort, just in case at some desperate moment the bearer had no other choice.

As for the idea that Javanese were taught about keris by the monkeys that was intended as a joke I was just pointing out a panel from the Prambananan temple not far from where lucky B. Aditya lives. You should go to Yogyakarta and visit him and Mpu Djeno's family, by the way. The monkey thread was a joke made with the intention of pointing out that information from racist Chinese sources or renegade Portugese sailors or even devotional art could not be taken at face value but had to be understood in context to be interpreted usefully.

Indonesian silat also learns moves and systems from animals and the monkey is one of them and my joke about keris being taught by monkeys was not intended to hurt any monkeys in this forum

It is very true that to understand keris one must handle as many keris as possible with the assistance of a knowledgable mentor. An Indonesian keris mailing list is talking about making an international and definitive keris gathering in Bali. This would certainly give an unique opportunity to all keris lovers. Would anyone have an idea how many internationals would be likely to atend such a meeting? Would it be a feasible thing to do? I would be grateful for your ideas Gentlemen.

Salam Keris.

Last edited by Kiai Carita : 3rd May 2005 at 07:55 AM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old 3rd May 2005, 06:44 PM   #125
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I am sorry to have been "asleep at the wheel" on this thread...

Did you know... the earth is growing by an average of 2 tons (4000 lbs or 1816 kilograms) a day? That is how much meteoritic material is reaching the ground daily... not everything "burns up" in the atmosphere - and the majority of the material reaching the ground is in a dust form.

Meteorites have been falling through out the earth's history, so it possible to for someone to go looking around and happen upon an old fall. One question is, did what they find truly have a cosmic origin? Without testing, iron by itself is almost impossible tell if it extraterrestrial or not. I will leave the debate alone as to if a person is "sensitive" or not, that is to say if they can divine the difference.

The real question here is, which came first... did the Prambanan meteorite, from which the association was with heaven - due to it being an observed fall... or an earlier experience with meteorites, which the Prambanan meteorite just offered an opportunity to mass produce blades because of it's size?

It just does not make sense that an Mpu would walk around looking for a rock from heaven before the Prambanan meteorite fall, unless there was a reason to believe there were rocks or iron from heaven lying around? There certainly is no heavenly association with rocks lying on the ground, only an earthly one. That idea or concept had to came from somewhere... unless it too is a myth or legend born after the Prambanan meteorite fall. Was there possibility a heavenly association with iron at one time? Or had witnessed falls occurred before?
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Old 3rd May 2005, 09:01 PM   #126
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Arrow Kiai Carita

Kiai , you made this 'joke' in your post #124 on this thread .

" Indonesian silat also learns moves and systems from animals and the monkey is one of them and my joke about keris being taught by monkeys was not intended to hurt any monkeys in this forum . "

Even though you followed it with a 'grin ' emoticon I consider it to be a thinly veiled insult to certain forum members .

For this you have earned a two week suspension from posting . Hopefully when and if you return you will do so with a better and more tolerant attitude .
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Old 4th May 2005, 12:36 AM   #127
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The major investigation of the keris:nickel relationship was carried out by Bennet Bronson. The results of this investigation were published in the scientific journal "Historical Metallurgy" Vol.21, No.1, 1987. The title of Bronson`s paper is "Terrestial and meteoritic nickel in the Indonesian Kris".

This paper is far too comprehensive to be precised here, however it should be noted that both Raffles in 1817, and Crawfurd in 1820 and 1856 say nothing of meteoritic material being used as pamor. Crawfurd states that pamor was imported into Java from other islands.By 1839 Newbold was able to state that pamor came not only from Sulawesi, but also from Java, but Newbold did not claim meteoritic origin for this Javanese pamor.By 1844 De Luynes had shown that some keris blades contained nickel. In an 1867 article published by Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indie an analysis on iron and nickel content of the Prambanan meteor is given and it is referred to as "pamor-stone". In 1840, a Dutch military intelligence officer reported that pamor was produced in the Bugis kingdom of Celebes (Sulawesi).

This pamor material from Sulawesi is known as "pamor Luwu".

In the early 1900`s Groneman indicates that the use of pamor Luwu was still widespread in the Archipelago , a survey showing that it was used by keris makers in nine centres on six different islands. Groneman was the European who was responsible for introducing Javanese keris makers to European nickel.

A number of analyses of keris blades have been carried out by various metallugists, probably the most extensive testing of keris has been performed by Prof. Jerzy Piaskowski of Poland and his tests extend to the analysis of very old Javanese blades.Only a small part of Prof. Piaskowski`s results have been published, however, from what has been published we can learn that the white metal that produces the pamor effect in early Javanese blades is in fact iron with a high phosporus content.No nickel is present in these blades.

The keris has a very long history. Pre-modern keris seem to date back to the early Javanese classical period, pre 1000AD in Central Java, and the modern keris (ie, the keris in the form that we now recognise) has existed since at least the 15th century. During this time it has developed from a weapon to a cultural icon and cosmic symbol, and this development can be traced by the references made to the keris in Javanese literature.

In the literature of Majapahit the keris is mentioned predominantly as a weapon. The nationalistic resurgence of Javanese identity which occurred during the Kartasura era (Ricklefs) began a movement which tended to stress Javanese values as an active counterbalance to the increasing European influence of the Dutch, and dating from this time we find the keris accorded an increasing importance in Javanese society. However, even though the keris had now moved away from being merely a weapon, in the "Silsilah Keturunan Empu Tanah Jawa" (History of the Descent of the Empus of the Land of Jawa) by Pangeran Wijil of Kartasura (circa 1740), no mention is made of meteoritic material being an important component of the keris .

The Kitab Centini (Kitab Suluk Tambanglaras), a major Javanese literary work of the 18th century and taking the form of an informal encyclopaedia of Java, has a number of mentions of keris , however, nowhere in Centini is there mention of meteoritic material being used in the keris. There is no mention of any connection to the heavens.

This is not surprising, because Buchwald`s catalogue of known iron meteorites lists only two from anywhere in Indonesia:- a small one that fell near Rembang in north Java, and the Prambanan meteorite.

In summary, the evidence provided by analysis of actual keris, by Javanese literary sources, and by historical European reports of Javanese material culture all point towards there being no connection between the keris and meteoritic material prior to the 19th century.

I urge those with an interest in this subject to obtain Bronson`s paper and read it.
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Old 4th May 2005, 01:38 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marto suwignyo
In summary, the evidence provided by analysis of actual keris, by Javanese literary sources, and by historical European reports of Javanese material culture all point towards there being no connection between the keris and meteoritic material prior to the 19th century.


Thank you marto for your insight. I too have not been able to find meteoritic references before the use of the Prambanan meteorite in keris making, and I am of the opinion that the cosmic connection (and union of the cosmic and earthly) was probably made at that time (in 1797). I have only hearsay to trace the use of meteoritic iron before that time, but I have not seen any objective evidence to prove it as a fact. But I am certainly open to it. Thank you again.
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