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Old 12th March 2005, 10:00 AM   #1
Alam Shah
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Default A keris for comment

I have recently bought this piece, an average piece. This is what I was told about this keris.

A keris of Southern Sumatran, Bugis Riau provenance. Handle is the typical Bugis kerdas style, made of ivory, and fitted with a repoussed silver pendoko.

Top sheath (or sampir in Malay) is made of kemuning woods. Bottom stem (or batang in Malay), is wood and fully encased with finely repoussed silver. Different motifs at the front and back.

Blade has 11 luks, well executed and deep perabots which includes the kembang kacang nguku bima. Pamor patterns are arranged in the mlumah technique and are called pamor Banyu Tretes, (or dripping water).
It is said to enhance the owner's material well being as well as a protective pamor.
I was told, the blade should go back to late 18th century with a late 19th century fittings.

The blade had recently gone through traditional cleaning ritual. It was blackish before cleaning. Now it's more whitish.
Let me know your opinions on this piece.
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Last edited by Alam Shah : 13th March 2005 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 12th March 2005, 10:03 AM   #2
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Default Closer picture

Closer shots...
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Old 12th March 2005, 05:10 PM   #3
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This keris is not Riau and is not Bugis - Straits or otherwise. Its East Sumatran and probably belonged to a Malay. the blade is Javanese and appears to be of the kodi variety - a trade blade but decent pamor. Banyu netes - I don't know though - I would have said kulit semangka. The silver is new - no more than a few years. I've seen a lot of this coming on the market lately.
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Old 12th March 2005, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Dave,
Your comments are noted. Would you elaborate more regarding "the kodi variety".

Last edited by Alam Shah : 13th March 2005 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 13th March 2005, 02:51 AM   #5
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Something off the discussion of this keris -- what makes a keris kodi a keris kodi? Is it quality/form of the blade, the original intent for the blade at the time of manufacture, or does it just apply to keris blades that have been sold to another island, regardless of quality or intent?

We see Javanese blades in Bugis or Malay dress all the time. I recently acquired an E Sumatran keris (or so I thought) with a blade that was clearly E Javanese. What was more amazing was that after a few days, I saw another keris (belonging to another collector) in Sulawesi dress, with the same E Javanese form of blade. These blades are generally well-made, with full perabots and really nice ron dha, greneng, kembang kacang, sogokan and luks. Would these be considered 'trade blades'?

If a blade like this one (currently in Solo dress) were to get sold to another island, would it be considered a 'trade blade'? The way I see it this blade may be slightly nicer than Alam Shah's blade, but essentially of the same level.
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Old 13th March 2005, 03:15 AM   #6
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The E Sumatran keris in question.
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Old 13th March 2005, 09:41 AM   #7
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Kodi, as most of us know by now know, comes from the Javanese kodiat. It refers to a bundle of "20", in this case, kerises. These were trade blades made in Java for sale and sold in quantity. As with most things I should think they would have been of varying "quality" based on where and when they wer produced, as well as who produced them. Most would have been fairly average, a few probably less so and some may have been very nice indeed. Of course this can only be presumed as we know very little about the keris trade at this point.

Trade blades should not however be confused with high quality, high status pieces which were gifts from the courts of Java for earstwhile vassals. This is especially true of South Sumatra, which was ruled by Javanese appointed regents until about the time the Dutch took over. So, if you do come across a court quality keris its as likely as not its in this category.

As for your E. Sumatran keris Blu, I'd say actually that the dress is Sulawesi Bugis. And a very nice keris at that. Whether the blade is Javanese or not it another question. I have seen several Bugis keris with Javanese looking keris. Its likely as not these were trade blades, but they may also have been locally produced.
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Old 13th March 2005, 10:00 AM   #8
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This keris was said to be a Bugis keris. I agree with that. What do u guys think? Is it a Sulawesi piece? The sampir looks new and in Minang (?) style. Some books refer this kind of sampir as Sulawesi keris. Is it true?
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Old 13th March 2005, 10:13 AM   #9
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Another thing, is this a Sulawesi keris? As stated in Blu's posting in the other thread, Strait bugis uses lower pendongkok. This one uses that kind of pendongkok, but i think its Sulawesi due to the akwardness of the dress. It kinda wider than average. However the blade is thinner than an average bugis keris. What do u think of the quality of the blade? I think its average. Can u guys please comment? Can somebody post some pictures of Sulawesi Bugis keris and Sumatran/Bugis keris to ease the explaination? Would appreciate that very much.
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Old 13th March 2005, 10:30 AM   #10
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Rasdan -- I think the sampir on this keris is more Minang than Sulawesi. I suspect this keris is a composite keris with handle, blade and sheath from different sources. For Minang kerises, I've never seen blades such as this. The pendoko form is rather unfamiliar, but I think it could actually be straits Bugis form.

Straits Bugis kerises attached
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Old 13th March 2005, 10:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAHenkel

As for your E. Sumatran keris Blu, I'd say actually that the dress is Sulawesi Bugis.


What about the lack of buntut on the batang? This batang has the bulge near the top, but has the typical 'rounded' bottom of Sumatran sheaths.

I hear that keris forms on E Sumatra are heavily influenced by Sulawesi forms, and so we see kerises which smacks of Sulawesi, but are actually produced locally in Sumatra.
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Old 13th March 2005, 11:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Another thing, is this a Sulawesi keris? As stated in Blu's posting in the other thread, Strait bugis uses lower pendongkok. This one uses that kind of pendongkok, but i think its Sulawesi due to the akwardness of the dress. It kinda wider than average. However the blade is thinner than an average bugis keris. What do u think of the quality of the blade? I think its average. Can u guys please comment? Can somebody post some pictures of Sulawesi Bugis keris and Sumatran/Bugis keris to ease the explaination? Would appreciate that very much.


These are the pictures of my second posting. Forgot to attach in the message. Looks Sulawesi to me. But, what about the blade? Its thin and looks like straits bugis ones.
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Old 13th March 2005, 01:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
What about the lack of buntut on the batang? This batang has the bulge near the top, but has the typical 'rounded' bottom of Sumatran sheaths.

I hear that keris forms on E Sumatra are heavily influenced by Sulawesi forms, and so we see kerises which smacks of Sulawesi, but are actually produced locally in Sumatra.


Could easily have lost the buntut and been re-worked or perhaps the entire batang is a replacement. Actually with the exception of Palembang you rarely see the batang terminate in a - for lack of a better term - iras buntut. While frequently rounded, they are usually tekak belalai or patat lipas style, made from a separate piece, typically of different material.

The entire Straits & Peninsular region is heavily influenced by Bugis forms and they are, occasionally difficult to tell apart. But I don't think so in this case. The sampir form and especially the "swollen" throat and tapering batang are classic Sulawesi.

Rasdan - you've posted pictures of a magnificent S. Sumatran Bugis keris. The lacquer is Palembang and a dead giveaway, as is the sheath form which, as has been frequently noted before, is popularly referred to as a "chieftain" or "penghulu" style. The blade is more or less typical for S. Sumatra and not necessarily a bad blade. It's clearly shows some heavy wear through age or neglect.

BluErf has already posted some fine examples of Straits Bugis keris. Here are some confirmed Sulawesi keris to compare.
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Last edited by DAHenkel : 13th March 2005 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 13th March 2005, 01:52 PM   #14
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That's a classical Riau Bugis keris, just like mine on the brown background.
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Old 13th March 2005, 01:58 PM   #15
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Next, a selection of East Sumatran Bugis for comparison. Note again - East Sumatra is highly varied. Some seem more Minang, some more Bugis, and some Malay.
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Old 13th March 2005, 02:01 PM   #16
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Another Sulawesi keris with a N Malay (?) blade. We see all sorts of keris forms in Sulawesi dress...
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Old 13th March 2005, 02:09 PM   #17
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Also, while we're at it, here are a few Riau keris as well.

Confused yet? Me too - but that's what's fun about these things. And I'm only including archetypal pieces here - If I sprang some of the wierder stuff on you you'd be even more confused.
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Old 13th March 2005, 02:42 PM   #18
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Thanks all. I having "indigestion" right now. Will get back soon, i hope.
Dave, if you don't mind. Bring it on. May be confusing, but what the heck, it will be a good learning experience.

Last edited by Alam Shah : 13th March 2005 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 13th March 2005, 03:29 PM   #19
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Default Comment on your blade...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BluErf
If a blade like this one (currently in Solo dress) were to get sold to another island, would it be considered a 'trade blade'? The way I see it this blade may be slightly nicer than Alam Shah's blade, but essentially of the same level.
Blu - I agree that your blade is nicer, looks more refined, while mine is cruder.

Last edited by Alam Shah : 13th March 2005 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 13th March 2005, 07:22 PM   #20
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Great thread and great examples of Bugis/Sulawesi/Pelambang Keris. I wanted to add two examples to the thread as interesting(potentially) variants. Example 1
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Old 13th March 2005, 07:25 PM   #21
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Here is the 2nd example, much simpler dress, but an intereting blade.
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Old 14th March 2005, 01:15 AM   #22
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Thanks all for nthe wonderful examples -- and the utter confusio you've all generated!

It would be most useful for a beginner like me if you can 'decompose' this discussion and generate what you see as defining charactersitics of the different types of keris -- blades, sampir, batang and all.

Otherwise, I'm looking (and drooling) at all these examples and not knowing what to look out for. BTW, what's this 'throat/ you're talking about earlier on?

Would really appreciate this...
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Old 14th March 2005, 03:02 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAHenkel
Also, while we're at it, here are a few Riau keris as well.

Confused yet? Me too - but that's what's fun about these things. And I'm only including archetypal pieces here - If I sprang some of the wierder stuff on you you'd be even more confused.


Whoa, i'm a bit dizzy right now. It seems that there are no general rule of determining origin of Sumatran kerisses. Some bugis looks Malay, Minang etc. Heres some basic conclusion (on the dress) i can made:

1. The penghulu sampir originated in South Sumatra and the laquer is Palembang work

2. Sulawesi kerisses has a bit smaller sampir compared to penghulu ones and the batang is tapering with a flaring buntut.

3. East Sumatran kerisses are closer to their Sulawesi cousins, but have some other influence such as Minang etc. However flaring buntut is not a must.

4. Pendongkoks be it Long "necked" or the shorter "dulang" type can be either Sumatran or Sulawesi.

5. Riau kerises are generally of composite influences, many dont have flaring buntut.

If there is anything incorrect regarding the conclusions, can somebody correct me? Can i say that Sulawesi keris MUST have tapering batang?

Phew... and this is only regarding the dress, the blade is another thick chapter. hee..hee..

RSword, love your example, especially the one with the gold oversheath. The blade looks very close to Dave's giant bugis keris which is presumed originated in Sumbawa.

Last edited by rasdan : 14th March 2005 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 14th March 2005, 05:26 AM   #24
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Default Sampir...

Since we are still dicussing sampirs, can anyone tell me where does this sheath originated from?
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Last edited by Alam Shah : 14th March 2005 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 14th March 2005, 07:05 AM   #25
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This also confuse me. It is stated as a bugis keris. Does Bugis kerisses have this kind of hilt?
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Old 14th March 2005, 07:25 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasdan
This also confuse me. It is stated as a bugis keris. Does Bugis kerisses have this kind of hilt?

Rasdan - The sampir looks Buginese, the hilt looks more Straits type sea sword handle. (Ref. Frey's The Kris -Kris Archives, pg.58).
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Old 14th March 2005, 08:25 AM   #27
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There are some general 'guidelines', but as people move around in the archipelago, ideas and aesthetics are exchanged and lines get blurred.

I remember asking Dave and Paul a few years back how do they tell the kerises apart and I would never get a straight answer because there were (are) none. After seeing more examples and always asking -- where did this keris supposedly come from. And mulling over the information, judging for ourselves whether the information is reasonable or not, we begin to form a basic construct of what makes a Sulawesi sampir Sulawesi, and what makes a Riau sampir Riau etc. Not a neat thing... and frustrating always. And nobody's totally sure, especially with people (me included) swapping handles and pendokos around. Sometimes, even sheaths get swapped.

There you have it -- the whole conundrum.


As to RSword's kerises, I think the first one is Straits, judging from the blade, which looks S. Sumatran, and judging from the pendok motifs -- the distinctive swirling vegetation motif. The pendoko looks S. Sumatran. Could it be Sumbawa -- Maybe.

On the second one, I think its Sulawesi. The sheath has dauns (or 'leaves', at the 2 top ends of the sheath) that do not curve inwards. Sulawesi sampir has this tendency to have dauns that curve outwards. Also, I'm not sure if I spy a 'bulge' at the throat of the sampir.
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Old 14th March 2005, 08:25 AM   #28
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Since I am also confused, let me add to the general confusion:

Alam Shah - your hilt and mendak are Jogja. So is the pendok. The wranka I don't know

Pak Rasdan - methinks your hulu is Kaki Kuda typical of Sumatran pieces.

But I'm only a beginner...
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Old 14th March 2005, 08:30 AM   #29
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That hilt form on the gold keris shown by Rasdan -- I've seen it a similar type on Nias 'keris'. Nias 'keris' is not really a keris. The sheath has a elongated sampir, which I believe is supposed to represent oxen ears, while the blade can be a sewar or golok type of blade, mounted on a hilt like this.

But this gold keris is dressed new. Traditional aesthetics and rules may not apply. The "horse hoof" hilt is typically found on keris panjang, anak alang, and on Minang kerises -- those small luk blades.
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Old 14th March 2005, 09:53 AM   #30
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Default Resources - reference

Links to reference site, hopefully can help to understand the Bugis history and culture, a little.
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/utilities/bugis.htm

Sumatra Keris
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/...umatrakeris.htm

The Kris (by Edward Frey), Kris Archive section.
page 66 - Sumatra-Bugis kerises
page 67 - Sulawesi-Bugis kerises

Last edited by Alam Shah : 15th March 2005 at 03:12 AM. Reason: add ref.
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