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Old 18th February 2005, 08:27 PM   #31
wolviex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
that's a very interesting pattern you show on the blade. It reminds me of the "ladder" effect seen on some Indo-Persian wootz blades. Do you think the blade pattern here is caused by a similar forging process?
Ian.


Ian: that's what I'm trying to find out . So now let's wait together, maybe one of our friends from "kris sindicate" will have some ideas about it
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Old 18th February 2005, 08:40 PM   #32
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Default While we wait ...

for word from the illuminati, there was a nice discussion before of Mohammed's Ladder (kirk narduban) and wootz blades here: http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000490.html

There is no reason I can see why the same pattern could not be created with pattern welded steel.

ian.
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Old 19th February 2005, 07:51 AM   #33
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I've been refraining from comment on this in the hopes that s/o with specific knowledge of keris metallurgy would chime in. Its an area in which I have no real specialist knowledge however, the curious consistency of the "pamor" metal on this blade suggests to me high silicate levels.

Could this then be meteoritic? It would certainly suggest a reason for the high esteem of this particular blade.

Empu Kumis! Where are you?
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Old 19th February 2005, 02:53 PM   #34
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I think I've seen the ladder pattern from every culture that I've seen manipulate layered steel for pattern; Europe, N Africa, Tartaric, Hindoo, Chinese, Japanese, Oceanic SE Asian (not sure about the mainland, but I can hardly imagine it wouldn't....), and the more I see, the more widely I see steel manipulated for pattern wherever it is forged into blades (subsaharan Africa is the "blank" area; perhaps for lack of testing [the "African art" people invariably love the dark patina], perhaps for the legendary purity of the African iron thus not learning folding, etc.; thoughts on that one; very little real input. The c19 Ethiopian army spear I etched is quite homogenous, but other African blades I've seen display welding flaws and rust-etching that makes straight/straightish layering visible.). I've seen laddered pamor on quite a few k(e)ris. The wootz faction are probably correct that wootz/bulat is "true"ly the Damascus steel spoken of in old Europe; the "magical" (ie. different) steel of the East (this is nearly certain, as the other famous "Eastern" steel blade technologies like folding and welded edges, were also in common/general use in Europe, fading slowly during and after the 18thc.), but they are very likely dead wrong that only a wootz blade would be "truly" ladder of the prophet (BTW there are many expressions in many languages to refer to this religious symbol); certainly the same technique is used, in at least some of the same cultures, to make pretty much the same pattern on folded steel, and isn't it made in cloth and wood carvings, too, for that matter? Aside; I once had an old khoumiya with a lineal laminate blade that had been buffed in bands to imitate laddered steel. Faked pattern on what could now be viewed as "Damascus" steel. It was an older 20th piece, and a fakery of this sort was more likely for the native market, it seems to me....
BTW, I'm told that in Persia and/or Turkey it was a traditionally admired and sought after (and by no means universally achieved) goal to fit actually "40 steps", which is not so big a deal on a sword, though a lot of work, but on an 8" kard blade.....

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Old 19th February 2005, 03:45 PM   #35
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You might want to check out the keris competition thread just posted.
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Old 20th February 2005, 07:34 AM   #36
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Wolviex, I wonder if you could provide us with a bit more information about this piece. Firstly, exactly where and when was it collected? Any chance the museum knows from whom it was obtained? Has the metal in the pendok and topengan ever been tested? Do we know for sure that it is solid gold is could it be plated? Have you ever had the pendok off the gander and looked inside? Have you found out any more about the stones in the eyes? Lastly, and this is directed at our keris group in general, is it possible that this hilt could not be Balinese at all, but the Madurese form of this particular style? It is shorter and fatter than the typical Bali form, which is exactly the way Madura style would be. It is also interesting to note that Madura is also known for the use of topengan on sheaths.
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Old 21st February 2005, 05:36 PM   #37
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Nechesh: I think I can't help much with my answers for this time.
1. TThis kris was collected just after the war, in 1946. Because of war, the history of this object is unknown
2. The metal never was tested. There is a chance it can be tested in special laboratory, but it's not so easy to get there. This is the only place like this in Krakow (maybe in Poland ), the queque is long, and testing expensive
3. I don't know if the gold was plated. I thought it is gilted brass, but tomorrow is a chance I'll show it to the expert who will be able to judge it better than me. Anyway, the head of the deity seems to be heavier and is much more thick then the rest of the metal on the sheath. Maybe it's pure gold or gilted silver or gilted copper - I don't know for sure
4. I didn't took the wrangka off beacuse it is glued so much, that I was worried not to destroy the wood. I know - you will probably say the wrangka was refited to the rest of the sheath. It is possible. As we can see on the pictures of others sheaths, many of them are made entire of pelet wood, while this one is made of simple wood with pelet wood wrangka. Am I going to far with presumptions?
5. The stones in the eyes are high quality, very well made and beautifully cut rock crystals - this is what "experts" say.
6. I don't know anything about Mandurese krises, so if you think this one is not Balinese, it would be good to discuss it with others forum mates, which I hope will be!

Best regards!!
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Old 21st February 2005, 06:11 PM   #38
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Nechesh,

I'm glad that you mentioned the madura possibility. A few months ago I was in a famous auction house here in Holland. Offered for auction were two maduran keris with this kind of pendok with a bonaspatti mask covering the wrangka in this same way. Not gold but pure silver. Under the openworked pendok was a sleeve of silver to cover the gandar. In my opinion I agree with you that this golden pendok is placed on the backside of the scabbard and I think it had once a sleeve maybe from silver or gold under the pendok. Although the wrangka has balinese characteristics, I cann't get rid of the idea this piece is a madura keris. I think the ukiran is not original to this keris and should be replaced by a fine madura ukiran. For the eyes of the bonaspatti mask, I think they could be inten.
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Old 21st February 2005, 06:26 PM   #39
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Henk: if the ukiran isn't original was it matched because of wrangka, or do you think the wrangka isn't original too. Theye're similiar to each other, and even if they are of different tint, they look like "brother and sister" to me.

BTW, what do you mean "inten" - this word is stranger for every of my dictonaries
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Old 22nd February 2005, 12:29 AM   #40
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Wolviex, thanks for your response. I was really hoping you would know WHERE this keris was collected as well as when. As for testing for gold, i see no reason why you would need to go to a special lab to have this done. The test is common and easy and any competent jeweler should be able to handle it. As for the pendok being glued on, that's a surprise. Not a single keris in my collection is like this, i would imagine because the gandar needs to be changed from time to time as it takes far more abuse than the wrongko when the blade is taken in and out. This only leads me to further question whether this sheath was made for this pendok.
I am thinking less and less that this is a Bali keris at all. While the stylistic similarities between Bali and Lombok are well know, lesser recognized are cetain (though to a lesser extent) similarities in the Madurese style. As has been mentioned before, the topengan is also a form used in Madura. On pg. 49 of "The Kris" by van Duuren, there is a topengan example that he calls Bali OR Madura. he couldn't tell for sure. Also see Tammens, Vol. 2, pg 224, a keris noted as East Jawa. Madura is part of the province of East Jawa. In "Keris" by Hamzuri, pg 43 we see a wrongko and hilt noted as Madura. In "Royal Gifts From Indonesia", Wassing-Visser, pg 61, a keris noted as a Balinese type keris, but it was presented by Adiningrat VII of Madura to William I in 1835. It seems highly unlikely that a Madurese ruler would present a Bali keris to a dutch ruler. Jensen also shows a Madurese ladrang sheath with a similar topengan i fig. 94 of his book. I hope those with access to these reference books will check out these examples and comment.
We know that the Madurese made similar topengan. We know that they sometimes used a similar hilt form to Wolviex's example. We also know that this sheath was not made for this keris. The pendok is not fitted properly and since wolviex is worried about doing damage in removing it (i agree you should not chance that) we probably will never know if this pendok/topengan was even made for this sheath. I think the sheath itself might be the only thing that is Balinese. I believe the keris is most probably Madurese. Dave is right to note that some early Balinese keris can resemble Javanese, but this keris isn't THAT old. You just don't see gonjo iras keris before the 17thC (Except for keris sajen and keris buda) and by that time the Bali keris had taken on many of it's own stylistic features.
In regards to gonjo iras, both Dave and Tom mentioned their belief in this thread that there is some special mystical power to this form. Can either of you give any point of reference to these remarks? I must readily admit that my impressions that this was a way to cut costs is purely hearsay, though IMO, the information came from a very reliable source. I have checked all my own written resources and the internet, bit very little has been written on the subject. Don't get me wrong, as an owner of a nice early 19thC gonjo iras blade, i would love to find some evidence of mystical/magickal intention. But i also am not willing to make assumptions such as since there are less of them they must therefore have some special power. We will be spending years debunking the meteorite mythology, i'd hate to see new unproven legends of the gonjo iras start circulating. So, can either of you gentleman provide some sources for your information, or is it just something you heard somewhere?
As for gemstones, i don't think they are inten. If they are rock crystal, they are the clearest and most flawless cut quartz i've ever seen. And the color doesn't seem right. I suppose Zircon is a possibility. I noticed you put the word "expert" in quotations. Did a jeweler or gemologist have a look at these?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 05:10 PM   #41
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A very good point, David. I always advocate for stones being take to a jeweler for identification (along with metals). Clears up a lot of problems with sacred meaning, value, etc.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 05:18 PM   #42
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Arrow The Pedok is taken off

Nechesh - thank you very much for your reply. Any help and any opinion is valuable for me, until any books about this weapons are out of my sight.

Here it is - THE PENDOK IS TAKEN OFF. And what do we see?
In my opinion the sheath is made of newest wood, so probably it is reconstructed. The warangka is damaged and probably this is the reason why someone took off the pendok and changed the sides - just to hide under the deity's head this bad looking crack. You won't probably see it on photos, but this crack is shining with glue leaking out from the other side. The warangka is glued to the rest of the sheath. I wouldn't be surpised if it was repaired crude European, but could European made such part of the sheath? - or do you think it's Indonesian work?

I was right - the pendok is made of gilted brass. The head is probably cast of brass. There you can also see the brownish stains on the other side of the head - which are probably the result of oxide.

About the stones - I must admit I'm confused - you're not the first person who doubt in "rock crystal theory". The expert was "quoted" not without the reason - although she is still expert but not jeweler nor gemologist . I'll look further.

On one of the photos you can see how badly is the head unriveted. There is a chance it will be repaired!

Best regards!
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Old 22nd February 2005, 05:20 PM   #43
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Wolviex,

Now it will be guessing. It is very good possible that the wrangka wasn't original either. It is quite obvious that the wrangka was remade to fit this keris. The wrangka is made of kaju pellet wood and so is the ukiran but the structure of the wood of the wrangka is different than the structure of the wood of the ukiran. Probably the previous owner would have had the same thought like you have, a nice matching couple. It wouldn't surprise me if only the pendok and the keris itself are original and as you know the wooden parts of keris were frequently replaced. Just like Nechesh, I strongly vote for Madura.

Inten are diamonds used in mendaks, on pendoks and as the eyes of such masks. Don't get dollarsigns in your eyes by the remark diamonds because inten are very cheap and low carat mostly comming from Kalimantan.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 05:47 PM   #44
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Thank you Hank for explain the "inten" word!

The dollars didn't shine in my eyes - I'm not the owner of this thing...

BTW. I'll post the picture of kris with pendok on the proper side when it will come back to me from conservator workshop.

Regards!
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Old 22nd February 2005, 07:51 PM   #45
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I can hardly wait
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Old 22nd February 2005, 08:06 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
I can hardly wait

You'll have to - it will take some time
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Old 22nd February 2005, 09:55 PM   #47
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Certainly a Madurese attribution would clear up some latent questions about this piece. The construction of the pendok in particular seems very "un-Balinese" to me and the form of the wranka is somewhat different from the usual Balinese godoan style cross-piece. The mendak also is certainly unusual, for Bali or Madura for that matter. It has the flavor of being only partial - perhaps part of a larger broken original.

A better sense of the scale of the piece would also be nice. No measurements? How have we come this far without measurements?

Speculation about the "originality" of the parts is at best, problematic, as we all know these things were changed on various whims at various times. That said, the gandar is very likely a replacement. Whether the repair was done in Indonesia or Europe will have much to do with what kind of wood was used. Indonesians usually use light weight, cheap wood for gandars when they are covered by a full pendok. I have a Yogyanese keris with a very similar gandar. Looks like balsa wood, though the rest of the keris is very fine quality indeed. And the workmanship is good. My guess - made in Indonesia.

I would hope that you will advocate strongly for the insertion of a new strip of black velvet or other, similar material behind the openwork of the pendok. Not exactly kosher for many conservation departments - or curators for that matter. I however always advocate restoration - as long as the methods and materials match traditional ones and the work is reversible. A good goldsmith will easily be able to match and replace the missing rivet holding the topengan to the top of the pendok.

As for the significance and mystical importance of the ganja iras - I'm afraid Nechesh, I cannot cite chapter and verse, and I'm too lazy to digging around to find it but I'd be shocked if no books mention it. Its one of those bits of knowledge one picks up on, talking to keris people around the archipelago. Certainly in Java, Sumatra and the Peninsula the ganja iras is, in my experience, usually spoken of in terms of its "speacialness" and this is usually connected to some magic property. If it were merely a matter of cheaper and easier, most keris would be ganja iras. Which is of course, precisely what has happened in the case of the Moro keris in the 20th century.

Now ganja hilang on the other hand - that's a completely different matter
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Old 22nd February 2005, 11:29 PM   #48
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The pattern on the blade looks a little like pamor sumsum buron.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 12:49 AM   #49
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Well Dave, be prepared to be shocked. While i have certainly found passing mention of gonjo iras it is usually just to say something like, this blade is "gonjo iras meaning that it was formed in a single piece with the blade" (The Invincible Krises, pg 104). Never have i come across an explanation for this form. While i appreciate the inclination towards laziness (i am a card carrying member of that club myself ) i am afraid that "chapter and verse" would be really handy here. I am also afraid (much to my chagrin) that i have not had the opportunity to pick up any first-hand information taking with people around the archipelego, but those i have discussed this subject with who have had that opportunity (the dreaded second-hand information ) have not come to your conclusion. Though i don't necessarily agree with this train of thought, it would seem that the popular mystical belief of today as put forth by Harsrinuksmo would be that keris gonjo iras are not true keris at all. See rule #1 on this website: http://www.geocities.com/javakeris/kerisology.htm
Of course, what is believed true by the mystical community in regards to keris today is not necessarily what was believed last century or the one before that or the one before that. Still, i would like to find at least a single written reference that directly addresses this subject.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 03:59 PM   #50
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Definition of iras: short form of se-iras or in one piece or as one with. In other words keris ganja iras do have a ganja. It is one with or forged together with the rest of the blade.

Do come out and visit the tanah air some time Nechesh. Smell the air, taste the water, kick the dirt around a little and talk to some folks.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 09:09 PM   #51
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Well, you know Dave, thanks to the modern technology known as the internet, i do get to "talk to some folks". Some of them are very knowledgable indeed, they just happen to disagree with you. But their source of this point of knowledge is just as vague as yours, so being the reasonable and inquistive Philistine that i am, i question it as well. I am not saying you are wrong, i am just seeking references to the truth. Besides it just being a point of interest it is also an import question to answer in regards to determining the origins of the keris presented in this thread. If you are too lazy (your own word) or sure of yourself to take the trouble to look them up (as you have implied that they exist) to the edification of myself and this forum, that's just fine with me. I will continue my search for some real and tangible data elsewhere. Sorry, but i'm just not willing to take your word for it. And i don't particularly appreciate your sarcastic and snarky responses to my questions and statements, as this is not the way i have carried myself throughout this discussion.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 09:38 PM   #52
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DAHenkel and Nechesh - dear forumites!
Please bury the hatchet - I was so happy because of your help, answers and ongoing discussion that your possible quarrel at this thread will make me very sad .
I hope for your further help !

Best regards for both of you !
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Old 23rd February 2005, 10:13 PM   #53
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Red face

" Please bury the hatchet - I was so happy because of your help, answers and ongoing discussion that your possible quarrel at this thread will make me very sad .
I hope for your further help !"

Well Wolviex , you have beat me to it .
As Smokey Robinson sang : "I second that emotion ."
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Old 24th February 2005, 01:17 AM   #54
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As far as i am concerned there is no hatchet to bury. I am just seeking solid evidence to yet another of the many mysteries the keris presents. In that i wish only to be treated with respect and equality. If am am mistaken about the tone i am sensing from Dave's replies, then i am sorry, my bad.
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Old 24th February 2005, 11:44 PM   #55
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Here is another quote on gonjo iras fro the "Insiklopedi Keris" by Bambang Harsrinuksmo. It is broadly translated, so if anyone can provide a more accurate one please do:

"GANJA IRAS or ganja janggelan,the name for a gonjo that is one with the wilah(that is, the body of the blade) . In a keris that is gonjo iras the dividing line between the sorsoran of the wilah and the gonjo is only a shallow line (or scratch).
Gonjo iras keris are usually plain in form, not keris of beautiful workmanship. Rarely are they of good quality.Keris sajen, that in the writings of westerners are called 'keris Mojopahit', normally are gonjo iras.
In Riau, West Kalimantan and Malaysia, some people call gonjo iras 'gonjo menumpu' ( menumpu is from 'tumpu': footing or support, so gonjo menumpu has the sense of supporting the wilah)"

That's pretty much it on the subject. What i do find interesting is not necessarily what he says, but what he doesn't say. The late Harsrinuksmo was known for being quite the protaganist of "modern" keris mysticism. From what i can tell, his book has become something of a bible on keris for enthusiasts in Indonesia and it is nothing if not liberally peppered with concepts on the mystical attributions of keris. Yet the man wrote no such claims for gonjo iras. Obviously we are all aware of the mystical attributions to keris sajen and keris picit which we often find in the gonjo iras form, but Wolviex's keris is not one of those, it is a relatively normal type except for the gonjo iras. If, indeed, this is meant to be a mystical or talismanic type of keris i find it surprising that Harsrinuksmo would have failed to mention it. Again, this is not conclusive evidence. I would ask anyone with access to various Indonesian or Dutch texts to check them for references and bring them forth. There doesn't seem to be much in the English texts.
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Old 26th February 2005, 12:41 AM   #56
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I think my ganja iras keris is beautiful. Its of Malay origin, so don't expect any pamor (actually, it has pamor kulit semangka, if you look carefully at the middle portion).

And Adni recently acquired (and sold) a Bugis keris (possibly of Sumatran origins) of the ganja iras form, luk 5 as well. That was a beautiful blade complete with the famed Bugis sturdiness. Its a full featured blade with kembang kacang, sogokan (depan, belakang), greneng, and well controlled pamor. Interesting cross section too as it starts out 'flat oval' at the base, then progress to typical Bugis hexagonal cross-section, then to diamond cross-section near the tip.

I recall seeing and handling at least another 2 ganja iras blades, also of Sumatran origins, with good dapur, beautiful luks, and are well-dressed.

And also, the most amazing one I've seen was a Balinese ganja iras keris more than 3 years ago in Adni's shop. It had pamor similar to junjung darjat (if I remember correctly). I dubbed it the 'zebra' keris then because there were so many peaks that they almost resembled a zebra's strips. Of course, no offense to the blade, but that was a nice, full featured Balinese blade too. The keris was dressed in high quality pelet which I dubbed the 'leopard skin' because it looked like the spots on a cloud leopard. I told Adni that the keris is like a mini-safari, because it was topped off with a Hanuman hilt.

The "Ensiklopedi Keris" is an authoritative book, but I would read it within the Javanese context, mostly.

Btw, the symbolism of ganja and peksi is towards the lingam and yoni, male and female. I have heard that sometimes a female pandai besi would forge a ganja iras keris and the keris would still be considered 'complete' because the pandai herself is the 'female/yoni' aspect. That is one aspect which I would consider to be on the mystical side.

Shortcuts or not, what makes a good beautiful keris would be overall workmanship. We all know there are many bad-looking kerises with ganja.
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Old 27th February 2005, 08:44 PM   #57
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Hi Kai Wee. I didn't post Harsrinuksmo's quote in support of his comment on the implying a lack of beauty in gongo iras.I, as well, find your example to be quite attractive and i own one that i also find beautiful. I also don't mean to suggest that "Ensiklopedi Keris" is the definitive text on keris. My only point here is that i would have thought that if anybody were to mention a mystical or talismanic purpose specific to gonjo iras it would be Harsrinuksmo due to the nature of his approach to the keris.
I am aware or the lingam/yoni symbolism of the pesi and gonjo that is certainly a part of the "modern" mystical philosophy of the keris, though i wonder when this concept was actually introduced. I don't think there is much to support that this was the original purpose for the seperate gonjo. I find you theory about female pandai interesting and wonder if anyone else has similar information.
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Old 17th March 2005, 09:16 PM   #58
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Arrow After conservation

Dear Friends!

I would like to thank once more for your commitment in my thread, your thoughts are very helpful and important for me.

At the end I would like to present to you the same keris with pendok on the proper side, with three (not one) rivets, and with the complete material under the pendok.

Thank you once more, of course feel free to discuss new pics

Best regards to you!
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Old 17th March 2005, 09:28 PM   #59
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WOW that looks so much better ....drooool....drooool nice work
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Old 17th March 2005, 09:37 PM   #60
wolviex
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Location: Poland, Krakow
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And I forgot - conservation was made not by me, but our museal specialists - best wishes for them !
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