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Old 29th September 2006, 06:24 AM   #61
Georgia
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Hi Alan - we must have been writing the last post simultaneously, so I just missed yours! Thanks for your reply, I think that's a very valid point you have made about the possibility of corroding iron releasing arsenic from the patination layer; the blade I tested which had the strongest result certainly had a powdery whitish-grey residue on the surface and the blade itself was not in the best condition. However, the other blade with a strong positive was in a much better condition and did not have much in the way of surface residues, in fact the only reason I chose it from the 40-odd keris in the collection was because it of one of the darkest and most obviously stained. The sample I picked from its surface was an oily sort of gunk from along the gonjo.
Regarding the possibility of arsenic being present in the iron, that is definitely a possibility (I think arsenic is one of the main trace elements found in iron), but I don't know if it would be there in large enough amounts to be picked up by the Merck test. In any case, the samples collected were of the residues and not the metal itself, so I don't think this is very likely.
One other possible cause is the 19th century museum practice of slathering collection items with arsenic to kill pests - although this was usually confined to natural history/organic collections, perhaps someone decided it would be worth it to protect the handles and sheaths?
My project's coming along steadily, I'll send it to you in the next few weeks to have a look. Got five more weeks til it's due! Thanks for your help.
G

Last edited by Georgia : 29th September 2006 at 06:25 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 29th September 2006, 06:45 AM   #62
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Yeah, I reckon that muck that gets in around the gonjo would certainly have arsenic in it. Even in one of my nice clean shiny keris with a perfectly patinated surface I reckon you could dig something out from between the gonjo and the blade proper that would test for arsenic.

What I reckon you could not do would be to remove sufficient of anything from the surface of a properly maintained blade to get a positive on arsenic.

I could probably dig up Jerzy's results if they interest you. Any sort of luck I could probably put my hand right on them. That would allow you to assess the relevance or otherwise of occurrence of natural arsenic in the material.

Again---looking forward to seeing it.

Wrote the above before reading the "simultaneous" post.

Reading how and where you took you samples, there is no doubt in my mind that you would find an arsenic positive.

However, from the standpoint of a museum professional, I really do believe that this presence of arsenic should be identified as a potential hazard---mind you, I do not believe for one second that it is, but anything that you can use to jack up your pitifully inadequate rates of pay should be treasured. Don`t fail to tell your union what you found. Make sure that when a workplace agreement is on the table that any handling of keris or other SE Asian edged weapons draws a hazchem subsidy---or something similar.
Professionals deserve decent pay for what they do, and if there is a hazard involved---be it ever so slight---it should be used appropriately.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 29th September 2006 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 29th September 2006, 08:17 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I could probably dig up Jerzy's results if they interest you. Any sort of luck I could probably put my hand right on them. That would allow you to assess the relevance or otherwise of occurrence of natural arsenic in the material.

That'd be great if you could, I'd be very interested.
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Old 29th September 2006, 01:57 PM   #64
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Thanks for you response and clarification of your methods Georgia. I agree with both you and Alan that museum workers should certainly be made aware of these findings. Considering the condition of these blades prudence would be wise even if any danger is unlikely. I am glad these clarification have been made because your original statement that "it (arsenic) is certainly present in sufficient amounts to cause adverse health effects" seemed unnecessarily alarmist to this group of collectors who in all probability maintain their collections in much better condition than the museum seems to do. You would find no surface residue on the keris in my collection (and certainly no white powdery substance) and though there may be something hiding in the crevaces of the gonjo it seems highly unlikely that i am at risk of ingesting any of the substance or even absorbing it through the skin. I hope you understand that i also am not discounting your research which is indeed very interesting and valuable, but i am trying to put this information into perspective for the audience you are addressing on this forum. Of course, if there are any paranoid collectors out there who want to now get rid of their collection cheap i would be happy to help them out. I look foward to hearing more about your findings when your project is completed.
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Old 1st October 2006, 04:47 AM   #65
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Hi All,
Stone's description of warding with a sheath or keris is exactly the same technique that is used with Okinawan sai. The sai, which resemble European poingards save that they have no edge or point, are used in pairs. The large quillons serve to catch sword blades and also to revolve the weapon so that it can be held either blade or pommel out. If held pommel out, the blade acts as a guard for the forearm (the blade should be long enough to extend about 1" past the elbow) and the pommel can be used to strike a blow. Stone, on pg 422 item #17, lists a mace (that is exactly like an Okinawan sai) as Chinese. If this attribution is correct, then perhaps the Indonesian method that Stone reported has its roots in some form of Chinese martial arts.
On a completely different note: Is there any possibility that amok has its roots in the Hindu weapon classification of mukta/amukta?
Sincerely,
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Old 6th October 2006, 09:56 AM   #66
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salam to all,

I'm not an expert on types of keris, etc but i hv been activley involved in martial arts for the past ten years especially silats from peninsular malaysia and a few from javanese style .. Had to give my thoughts of view regarding the main topic or as i might say 'questions' raised by Mr. Bram because the replies had been "off-topic".. My answers will be only based on what my guru's taught me and none of my own opinion so, don't ask me for historical facts..

Mr. Bram's brought up the fact that keris is not used for fighting or combat in Jawa but silats in Malaysia, it is the main weapon taught for fighting. He then asked for explaination on when did the keris in Jawa ceased to be used in normal fighting? >> here goes>> my answer would be, the Javanese lost their trust in keris as a main weapon for fighting since Majapahit's warrior named Tameng Sari died in a duel with Hang Tuah from Malacca. Taming Sari was so great at that time in the Jawa land, thus the defeat of Taming Sari (which was stabbed by his own keris) made a big impact for the whole of indonesia and ceased their trust on keris as a responsible weapon to defend themselves..

Second question, about the hilt.. both ways (Malay and Javanese) of attaching the hilt to the keris is different, one is horizontal and the other paralel with the blade. It is true that the Malay way of holding the hilt (like holding a gun) will hold the blade in a position that would readily be able to slip between ribs but bare in mind that you cannot hold the hilt the same way for Javanese kerises!! There is a different way of holding the Javanese keris which will also make the blade parallel and readily able to slip between ribs.. i have two pictures for example and as you can see, both blades are positioned the same, just the hand gripping way is different..

I could see that someone has already showed a picture of gripping the Javanese keris but seems quiet wrong to me as it not firm and your grip has to be straight along with your arm, just like punching, or you can't even thrust a banana tree with that style of gripping. AND you would be easily disarmed just by being kicked on the wrist..

Some replies also questioned that the Javanese slip their keris at the back, while malays slip it on their front. It is not the question of which one is practically logic for fast drawing their weapon or sticking the keris at the front is easier to pull out in a combat, but there is a greater reason to that!
Most of the pencak in Javanese Style prefer very low stance pattern (kuda-kuda). While you are performing bunga or langkah in a very low manner, it is impossible to slip a keris into your belt in front of your body (especially long ones!!) that is why they slip it at the back.. Unlike silat styles from Malaysia which uses higher stance in their silat form, it is still comfortable to slip the keris infront..

Not to mention, holding the keris Javanese style is more efficient to make a thrust from a lower position than holding a malay keris the malay way. And vice versa, it is more devastating to hold a malay keris the malay way if using a higher stance than using a Javanese keris. That is why it is important to choose the right type of keris with the right type of "lok" when fighting your opponent.

And there is a post that mentioned holding a keris looks familiar as holding a "sai" or "tcabang" in Indonesia or "tekpi" in malaysia.. believe me, they are not the same, as i also master the movement of "sai's"..

Thanks.
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Old 6th October 2006, 02:11 PM   #67
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Thanks for your post Zartane. Can't say that i can find enough credence in your idea (related from your teacher) that the Javanese stopped using the keris as a weapon due to Tameng Sari's loss to Hang Tuah. First of all, while i am sure that these were truly historical characters, i believe that their "history" is more legend than truth. Sort of like saying George Washington gave up using the hatchet after his embarassing encounter with the cherry tree. Secondly, if this line of thinking was the case it would seem odd to me that the Javanese would continue to so greatly venerate the weapon that failed their greatest hero.
I see very little difference with the photo example you present as to how to hold a Javanese keris with the one Alan Maisey presented. You show a side view, Alan shows top and bottom. Yes, Alan shows a bend in the wrist which you probably would not have during use, but what he was trying to show us was the grip itself which is essentially the same as yours.I suspect that Alan may have been photographing his own hand here which would make it a little difficult to keep the wrist in proper position. Either way, his grip seems no less firm than your example.
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Old 6th October 2006, 03:20 PM   #68
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Continuing along these lines of grip ; I would be very interested in seeing the way in which the keris scabbard would be gripped for use as a left hand parrying device .
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Old 6th October 2006, 03:21 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Sort of like saying George Washington gave up using the hatchet after his embarassing encounter with the cherry tree.


Hey, wasn't this G.W. and the cherry tree tale a fallacy??
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Old 6th October 2006, 03:28 PM   #70
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Here's another variation of holding a huge Sumatran keris.
Note: Left-hander... right hand holding the camera.


Personal preferred holding technique...
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Old 6th October 2006, 03:52 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Continuing along these lines of grip ; I would be very interested in seeing the way in which the keris scabbard would be gripped for use as a left hand parrying device .
In some Peninsular Malay silat form, the scabbard (sarung) serves a few purpose. To parry as well as a secondary assault tool. It is held with the scabbard facing the opponent, 2 fingers and the thumb holding the shaft (batang) of the scabbard, while the other 2 fingers support the cross-piece (sampir) from behind. In a single block, the sampir tips can be used to target the softer part of the opponent or used as a distraction while the blade in the other hand, move into a striking position.
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Old 6th October 2006, 05:49 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
Hey, wasn't this G.W. and the cherry tree tale a fallacy??


Yes, Kai Wee, that would be an affirmative. That doesn't mean that i am suggesting that this famous duel didn't take place. It may have, it may not have. It may have happened, but not quite as it is told today. Such is the stuff of legends. My point is that it would be difficult to base any academic conclusion on it.
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Old 6th October 2006, 07:26 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
Hey, wasn't this G.W. and the cherry tree tale a fallacy??


Maybe ....... but he did throw a silver dollar across the Potomac river ; I swear !!
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Old 6th October 2006, 07:59 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Maybe ....... but he did throw a silver dollar across the Potomac river ; I swear !!


You are absolutely correct Rick....in fact, i happen to own that very same silver dollar. It was passed down to me from my great-great-great-great-great-great gandpappy Jebediah Bulldungy, who just happened to be fishing the far bank at that time and lost his left eye when the coin hit him smack in the face!
I was going to put it up on eBay, but if any of my fellow forumite would like a good deal.....
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Old 7th October 2006, 04:28 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zartane
my answer would be, the Javanese lost their trust in keris as a main weapon for fighting since Majapahit's warrior named Tameng Sari died in a duel with Hang Tuah from Malacca. Taming Sari was so great at that time in the Jawa land, thus the defeat of Taming Sari (which was stabbed by his own keris) made a big impact for the whole of indonesia and ceased their trust on keris as a responsible weapon to defend themselves..


I do have a question in regards to this legend. In my internet research (which can, of course be limited) the only reference i have been able to locate of Taming Sari being a person who dueled with Hang Tuah is fro a silat website:
http://www.silat.f9.co.uk/hangtuahintro.htm
There are, however, countless references to Taming Sari as being Hang Tuah's keris (the stories i am more familar with). Is this a legitimate variation on the legends or merely a modern silat misreading of the legends?
Again, this is the problem with using these legends to reach any academic conclusions on the actual origins and uses of the keris.
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Old 9th October 2006, 06:52 AM   #76
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No David, I did not take that photo myself, my wife took it, and the bend in the wrist is to allow her get the pic.

I did these pics three times. I tried to get one of my sons who has Asian type hands, to hold the keris while I took the photo, but although it looked OK when I took the pics, when I got home and processed it, he had not got it quite right so I held the keris while my wife took the pics.

The previously published photos of this grip had one of my sons holding it, and it looks a lot more convincing.

Donn Draeger spent his life researching the way in which South East Asian weapons were actually used. If anybody was expert on this, then I think that perhaps Donn F. Draeger was that man. His remarks on the way in which a keris was used, when it was still an everyday weapon are interesting. He maintained that because the keris in Jawa had not been used as a common weapon for many, many years, and that since no documentation of methods of use existed, it simply was not possible for somebody living at the present time to truly know how the keris was held and used in Jawa when every man carried one as a weapon.

I cannot comment on the practicality or otherwise of the grip that I have shown, for use in silat applications.

I am not a silat practitioner, I have seen demonstrations, and I find it an admirable, athletic, and beautiful form of martial art which seems to require a very high degree of flexibility and extremely fast reflexes.

What I can comment on is the person who taught me this way to hold a keris.

This gentleman was a neighbour in Solo almost 40 years ago. He had worked as a "waste disposal contractor" during the period from the time the Japanese occupied Jawa until into at least the 1950's. His teachers were the sons and grandsons of the overseers and enforcers who were used by the Dutch. He was not a pencak silat teacher, he was a man who used elements of silat, kun tao, and other arts as his professional stock in trade. His objective was to avoid fights. He did not get paid for fighting. He did get paid for getting rid of the waste he been paid to get rid of. His preferred tool of trade was not a keris, but he had used a keris in his work. The way in which he taught me to hold a keris was the way in which he had been taught to hold a keris.

Perhaps the grip that I have shown photos of would be totally useless for pencak silat situations. I do not know, and have no foundation upon which to offer a comment. But this grip was used by one man at least who earnt his living with it, and by ensuring that others did not.

Although I cannot vouch personally for the efectiveness or otherwise of this grip, I can say that it is a very firm grip, because it effectively locks the blade into three pressure points in the hand:- the pinch between forefinger and thumb, and the first joint of the forefinger locked down onto the top of the gonjo.

I would suggest that if this grip is not applicable to use in pencak silat, then the obvious solution is not to use it.

But as to whether it was used in a practical situation or not, well, theoretically bumble bees cannot fly.
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Old 11th October 2006, 02:39 PM   #77
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Here is a short clip about Pendekar Steven Benitez, the only real western Pendekar to my knowlage http://www.goldenlightstudios.com/g...vari3=video_tfm
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Old 11th October 2006, 03:15 PM   #78
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I'm sorry Pusaka ; I get no image; just the soundtrack .
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Old 11th October 2006, 03:40 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I'm sorry Pusaka ; I get no image; just the soundtrack .



Have no idea why, when I click on the link I get video and sound
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Old 11th October 2006, 04:06 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I'm sorry Pusaka ; I get no image; just the soundtrack .
You'll need Adobe or Macromedia Flash Player...
http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/down...=ShockwaveFlash
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Old 11th October 2006, 04:36 PM   #81
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Great video he is really good but I doubt that keris was 500 yrs old it looked more recent to me?

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Old 11th October 2006, 04:44 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Great video he is really good but I doubt that keris was 500 yrs old it looked more recent to me?

Lew


He did not say how old the keris was, he just said "its old"

When he referred to the Vedic period he was saying that the symbol of the winged horse has its origins in the pri Islamic Vedic period.
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Old 11th October 2006, 04:51 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
He did not say how old the keris was, he just said "its old"


I think he said it was Bali or Lombak and it was from when the Indians ruled that area but I could be wrong? The blade looks to be Sulwasi or Bugis to me too small to be Bali?

Lew

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Old 11th October 2006, 05:22 PM   #84
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Well, Steve seems like a nice chap and he sure does move pretty well, but i think it's fair to say that he doesn't know squat about keris. Firstly this keris, or at least the dress that he comments on is a very typical form of Madurese keris, not Lombak or Bali. He moves the blade quickly so it is hard to see, but it doesn't look all that impressive and my feeling is that this is a piece "made for travelers" so i doubt this would be a piece with much life energy in it. Hard to say without handling it though. The winged horse is a symbol rather specific to Madurese form an is post-Hindu as far as i know. Infact it may well be a European influenced symbol as the Madurese incorporated quite a bit of that into there dress designs.
Also i dare say that for someone who has traveled so much in Indonesian he hardly treats the blade in the manner i would expect to see from a person claiming to be knowledgable of the tradition. None of this, of course, necessarily reflects on his knowledge or abilities in silat.
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Old 11th October 2006, 05:42 PM   #85
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I thought his demonstration of fighting with his eyes covered showed that he has sufficient sensitivity to know if the blade is alive or not.
His definition of a keris being “real” or not is quite simplistic but I like it. Basically if it is “alive” it is real and if it is “dead” it is not a real keris.
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Old 11th October 2006, 06:59 PM   #86
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So by this logic every new keris made by a talented panday is not a 'Real Keris' !?!
I don't mean to insult Pusaka but I think this viewpoint is sort of silly .

I'm sure the fellow is a very talented martial artist and blindfolded combat is not unique to this gentleman's repertoire ; I've seen others fight blindfolded.

I take exception with his very narrow view of what is and is not a real keris.
If this works for you; fine , but I must ask how; in future discussions here when pictures of kerises are presented; are you going to know if they're real kerises ?

Last edited by Rick : 11th October 2006 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Further thoughts
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Old 11th October 2006, 08:39 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
I thought his demonstration of fighting with his eyes covered showed that he has sufficient sensitivity to know if the blade is alive or not.
His definition of a keris being “real” or not is quite simplistic but I like it. Basically if it is “alive” it is real and if it is “dead” it is not a real keris.


Sorry Pusaka, but i am not convinced that one thing is necessarily indicative of the other. Like i said, he is a good fighter, but he knows very little about keris. That sheath contains no Vedic symbols and is definitely from Madura, not Lombak or Bali. I tried to get a better look with freeze-frame and it does appear that it might be a pamored blade (sorely in need of re-staining), though it doesn't appear to be one crafted with any particular skill and is most probably village work. It is small and may be a patrem or possibily a dukkun's keris as he suggests, but it is questionable that even if this keris once were "alive" when it was maintained that it would still be so in it's current state. Many "real" keris no longer hold spiritual energy as that energy was maintained by the line of ownership and the care and feeding of that energy by that family line. Does that mean that an empu made keris that has sat in a Dutch museum since the 17th or 18th century and lost it's energy due to lack of care and feeding is no longer a "real" keris.

Last edited by David : 11th October 2006 at 10:20 PM. Reason: spelling :o
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Old 11th October 2006, 10:33 PM   #88
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This is a difficult one to answer, a lot depends on personal belief as to what a keris is. If a modern keris was made with all the care, attention and preparation as in older times then I would not hesitate to call it a “real” keris. If on the other hand a keris was rapidly beaten out, artificially aged and clearly made with little attention or skill I would have no hesitation in calling it a piece of junk and I have to say personally I would not regard it as a real keris. Ebay is full of such keris.
I am aware that there is a difference between a keris made for everyday use and a keris pusaka. The icing on the cake is if the blade is alive or not, if it has undergone the correct and complete process then it is. If it has not then it is just a piece of metal.
How long does it take a keris to die I cant answer, how long does it take a magnet to completely lose its magnetism? It will get weaker over time but it will probably always contain some residual magnetism, “life”.
I think of a real keris blade as a vassal suitably constructed so that it can be empowered and retain that for some period of time. It requires two things, firstly it must be physically constructed in the correct manner from suitable materials and secondly it must have undergone a meditative preparation.
A keris that was just hammered out with little care is not in the position to be empowered and neither can it ever become “alive”
On the other hand a keris which was constructed in the correct manner and with the correct care, even if its life has faded over time due to neglect it is in the position where it could be given new life by a good owner.
Hope I haven’t overdone it with the mystical talk about dead and alive keris but this is just my personal thoughts about keris, and “real” keris.

So finally my definition of a “real” keris is a blade suitably constructed so that either it has life or has the potential to be given life due to it possessing correct physical construction.

And a fake keris, a blade made in such a manner that it never was nor never will be a suitable vassal to be empowered.

Last edited by Pusaka : 11th October 2006 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 11th October 2006, 11:05 PM   #89
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You showed a nice modern keris that you own Pusaka; in your eyes is it real or not ?
If it is real then how did you make it so ?

Also I'd like to bring up the concept that a comissioned keris (old or new) was made to suit the person who comissioned it; the pamor, prayers, etc. directed for that one individual. Now when this piece comes into the market and is bought by another person how can it still be living and incorporate whatever traits were imbued in it for a total stranger ?

This concept puzzles me .
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Old 12th October 2006, 01:27 AM   #90
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I always thought that the pamor and prayers used in making the keris would be passed on the the next person who owned it that is of course that they have respect fo the keris in the traditional sense? I also have heard stories that practioners prefer new keris due to the chance that an old one could carry bad or an evil aura or karma. So if a keris is made by a skilled panday or smith it should always carry some type of spirit in it especially from the maker who has put part of himself in the keris.


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