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Old 25th July 2007, 04:30 PM   #1
asomotif
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Default Bugis Celebes Keris / info on age/dapur ?

Recently bought this Bugis Keris from a pre WW2 collection.
So before WW2 is sure, but can you help me on the age of the blade ?

The hilt seems Hippo ivory to me, am I right ?

There is a simple loop of wire attached to scabbard. seems of later date.
Any suggestions how such a loop should be fixed ?

Thanks for any input.
best regards,
Willem
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Old 25th July 2007, 05:32 PM   #2
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I don't know all that much about ivory, but AFAIK hippos are an African animal and i would think a more local material would be more likely. It looks like sea ivory to me, but better pictures would help. Possible Dugong (also known as sea cows or manatees).
The fittings look like fairly well reprossed silver. As for the loop, i agree that it doesn't look original to the ensemble.
I am very curious about these loops. Are they functional (for wearing pehaps) or merely decorative? Are they specific to a particular region or do we find them where ever the Bugis went?
Will the hilt fit down any further on the pesi. If not i would guess that either the hilt or the pendokok (or both) are later, badly fitted additions.
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Old 25th July 2007, 08:51 PM   #3
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I completely agree with David

The ukiran is probably sea ivory. About the fitting of it see the comment of David.

The loop is often seen on Bugis or Sumatran keris. AFAIK it is only seen on Sumatra. The function of it is for me unknown. I guess it is ceremonial and the cord was mostly covered with gold (suasa) or silver and dressed up with stones. But there where also more simple loops like yours. The functional use for it what I can think of is attaching the keris to the belt.

Age of a keris is very hard to tell. With this blade I wouldn't try to guess.
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Old 25th July 2007, 09:51 PM   #4
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Are the mounts tarnished silver or gilded silver (which it looks likely).

I agree with needing better pictures for the ivory - some did trade in hippo ivory in the region.
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Old 26th July 2007, 12:46 AM   #5
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The wrapping to the bottom half of the sheath seems missing.

Blade-wise, a very good blade indeed, with pamor Raja Abala Raja.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Any suggestions how such a loop should be fixed ?
The loop is known as toli-toli. Normally, this type of keris is worn with a type of sash with a loop at the bottom end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henk
The loop is often seen on Bugis or Sumatran keris. AFAIK it is only seen on Sumatra. The function of it is for me unknown. I guess it is ceremonial and the cord was mostly covered with gold (suasa) or silver and dressed up with stones. But there where also more simple loops like yours. The functional use for it what I can think of is attaching the keris to the belt.
I believe the loop originated from Bugis Sulawesi. We can see it on older examples in many museums and books. Keris from Bima, Gowa... with the golden hilts etc. Bugis influence gradually grew on Sumatra, Riau-Lingga archipelago and elsewhere, so does it's keris and fittings.

The sheath cross-piece looks Malay... the hilt suggests Sumatra.
I agree that the loop is a possible later addition... but quite sometime back.
Looking at it again... basing on the hilt/hilt ring, unable to fit nicely... is it a composite piece?

Last edited by Alam Shah : 26th July 2007 at 03:28 AM. Reason: add observation...
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Old 26th July 2007, 02:10 AM   #6
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Great looking pamor; one I haven't seen before .
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Old 26th July 2007, 08:34 AM   #7
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Lot of questions and answers. thanks in advance.

- The wrapping of the sheath is intact, I will try to make some pictures in focus.

- The hilt and pendokok/selut are completely tight on the blade, no movement at all. considering the material of the hilt I am somewhat reluctant to try and get it loose. any suggestions ?

- the selut looks like solid gold, and the the mountings on the scabbard maybe gold on silver. I will go and see a goldsmith to be sure on that.

- as for the composite suggestion. it might be, but than before 1940.
and certainly not with the poorest of materials.
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Old 26th July 2007, 09:15 AM   #8
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Hello Willem,

Congrats!

Quote:
The hilt and pendokok/selut are completely tight on the blade, no movement at all. considering the material of the hilt I am somewhat reluctant to try and get it loose. any suggestions ?

The pendokok doesn't move, too?

There's a good chance that the blade is still fixed with resin: Carefully heating the base of the blade and gently trying to turn the hilt will probably allow you to remove the hilt. Go slowly - if it doesn't move, let it cool down and try repeated heating cycles. This also works if the pesi sticks to the hilt due to corrosion (rust may crack the hilt in the long run and it would be preferable to clean the pesi). However, since this piece has been in a collection for a long time (and probably not deteriorated any further since WW2) it may be questionable wether there's any real need for restoration. OTOH, it would be nice to close the gap between pendokok and blade if the hole in the hilt is long enough to completely cover the pesi. If the pesi is "too long," this would seem to be a safe sign for a composite piece.

Sharial, are you sure that the hilt is not from Sulawesi?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 26th July 2007, 09:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
... as for the composite suggestion. it might be, but than before 1940. and certainly not with the poorest of materials.
Agreed... that the materials are of good taste with fine worksmanship... the hilt cup, sheath wrapping and end-piece... even if it is composite. With this blade, it deserves the existing dressings...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Sharial, are you sure that the hilt is not from Sulawesi?
Kai, it might or might not be,... better picture would help... I'm not certain, given pictures from several awkward position, are u?

Kind Regards,
Shahrial

Last edited by Alam Shah : 26th July 2007 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 26th July 2007, 01:02 PM   #10
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I would have leaned towards Sulawesi in describing this hilt as well...but then nailing down the origins of various Bugis forms is certainly not my strong suit. Rather than say it may be this or that it would certainly be helpful to those of us who struggle with these identifications to qualify one's opinion with some reasoning (i.e. the way the hilt curves here implies this or the way it is carved there implies that). Of course, better pictures will no doubt help these qualified assessments.
The qualities that determine Bugis sheath origin are much more vague for me than the for hilts. I know Shahrial and Kai Wee have touched on this subject before, but for the most part i still find myself guessing.
Willem, better picture sure would help. I get the feeling that your camera's color balance might be off a bit, since i wouldn't have thought the pendokok was gold at first. Check to see that you are set for the right white balance. If you camera only has auto white balance try shooting on a day when there is brighter light. If you are having problems holding the camera steady try using a tripod. You probably shouldn't try to hand-hold exposures slower that 1/60 of a second. Also know the limitations of your camera. It looks as though you may have taken some pictures that are closer that the camera is able to focus. If so it would be better to back off a bit and then enlarge the photo somewhat in post production by cropping.
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Old 26th July 2007, 01:45 PM   #11
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There are different ways to remove the ukiran and those methods are described in the forum before.

The first one is putting the keris in the furnace and heat the blade and ukiran. Control it well and try gently to turn off the ukiran. Another method is to heat the blade with a candle just at the base beneath the gonjo. That will warm up the pesi. Glue or resin will become soft again and release the ukiran.
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Old 26th July 2007, 02:31 PM   #12
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Thanks Kai and Alam Shah for the compliments.

I will try to (very) gently heat the blade and see is some movement is achieved. also indeed to remove rust from the peksi, otherwise in time the rust will surely crack the hilt.

I only know elefant from hippo ivory, so sea cow did not pass my mind yet.
Could well be Sea Cow indeed. enclosed maybe a better picture of the hilt.
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Old 27th July 2007, 03:06 AM   #13
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I am infact much fascinated by the pamor (raja abala raja). This is unique and rare pamor for a bugis at least.

About the ivory, what is needed is to observe the grain lines. Couldn't see much from the pictures.
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Old 27th July 2007, 03:25 AM   #14
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I would caution against putting the blade and hilt into a furnace or oven, and even against putting the blade into a furnace or oven, with the hilt outside the heat.

Heating the base of the blade is the usual method to remove a hilt.

A candle or small kerosene lamp is safe, I use a propane torch, but I would not recommend this to anybody who has not had a lot of experience in the use of propane torches. If you hold the blade a few inches down from where the heat is applied to the blade you will easily know when you have heated sufficiently.

Line the jaws of a vice with plenty of newspaper and place the blade into the vice sideways.As already recommended, reheat and try again if you do not succeed the first time, however, you must be aware of the risk that if the tang is heavily rusted, it is possible to break the tang in attempts to remove it, no matter how gentle those attempts may be.
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Old 27th July 2007, 08:37 AM   #15
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Hello Sharial,

Quote:
Kai, it might or might not be,... better picture would help... I'm not certain, given pictures from several awkward position, are u?

Nah, I bow to your experience. From pic #2 and #5 I'd have guessed at a Sulawesi origin (short base of the hilt, nearly perpendicular "bow," very stylized head). I'm far from positive though - just curious which hints are suggesting a possible Sumatran origin.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th July 2007, 08:51 AM   #16
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Hello Alan,

Quote:
I would caution against putting the blade and hilt into a furnace or oven, and even against putting the blade into a furnace or oven, with the hilt outside the heat.

Yeah, I'd be very hesitant to place any wood or horn (and any material with hairline cracks into an oven...

Using those padded kitchen gloves, you can also protect the hilt from radiating heat which helps to keep the stress (e.g. on hairline cracks) minimal.

Quote:
Line the jaws of a vice with plenty of newspaper and place the blade into the vice sideways.

I prefer to hold the blade in my hand for better control. Gloves do help to avoid getting bitten...

Quote:
As already recommended, reheat and try again if you do not succeed the first time, however, you must be aware of the risk that if the tang is heavily rusted, it is possible to break the tang in attempts to remove it, no matter how gentle those attempts may be.

Thanks for the added caution!

BTW, did you ever experienced a "northern" keris tang breaking? These are usually pretty sturdy (and, of course, shorter). Just curious (Willem's keris won't be a problem IMVHO)...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th July 2007, 09:44 AM   #17
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Forunately we have an oven with gas (propane or whatever it is that comes from beneath the surface of our country.)

There is a very small flame for preparing lovely tender beef dishes like rendang
This same flame was perfect for slowely heating the blade.
Tried it 3 times, but not the smallest movement.

Indeed I hold the blade wrapped with some cloth to keep a good grip and still have feeling with the material.
As there was no movement at all, I will not try to force it and poored 2 drops of oils into the pendokok and will let it lay for a while.

Will try to place some better pictures of the hilt this afternoon
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Old 27th July 2007, 10:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
...Nah, I bow to your experience. From pic #2 and #5 I'd have guessed at a Sulawesi origin (short base of the hilt, nearly perpendicular "bow," very stylized head). I'm far from positive though - just curious which hints are suggesting a possible Sumatran origin...

Hi Kai, you're being modest. I don't have much experience.
From pic #1 & #2, from the upright position... I initially thought that it had a 60 degree 'bow', that was what made me suggested Sumatra...

However, upon looking closely again... pic #3 and #6 shows the lower "bow", and flat balong at the back. The head area is 'fatter' with a 'droopy' chin, which leans towards Sulawesi... my mistake.
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Old 27th July 2007, 12:16 PM   #19
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We are getting there slowely.

I have some better pictures of the hilt from different angles.
Please note the very small notch on the top, that seems to be worn of in time.

I received pictures from a forumite of spermwhale tooth objects that were discoloured towards brown/brownish (thanks!). Looks a bit like this hilt. But this hilt has several pieces that almost look like wood on the top and left side. Nothing I have ever seen before.
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Old 27th July 2007, 12:26 PM   #20
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some close close ups of the hilt. maybe gives a clue on the material.
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Old 27th July 2007, 12:33 PM   #21
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Thanks for the new photos. From pic #1 and #4, it seems that the sheath is not original for the blade. Previously the sheath was home to a thicker blade, imho.
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Old 27th July 2007, 01:45 PM   #22
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Dear Alam,

Indeed the sheath is somewhat wider that the blade.
However the blade fits rather nicely, does not sink to low or remains to high in the sheath.
than with the marine ivory hilt (?) and gold / goldplated bits and pieces and a provenance from the previous owner. my best keris by far.
So I am quite happy all together.

Ps. the hilt, is that a 100% bugis now ?
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Old 27th July 2007, 02:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Dear Alam,

Indeed the sheath is somewhat wider that the blade.
However the blade fits rather nicely, does not sink to low or remains to high in the sheath.
than with the marine ivory hilt (?) and gold / goldplated bits and pieces and a provenance from the previous owner. my best keris by far.
So I am quite happy all together.

Ps. the hilt, is that a 100% bugis now ?
Hi Willem,

Congratulations! on a fine acquisition.
As mentioned before, the blade is rare and sought after.
Fittings are additional bonus...
The blade and sheath fittings... if it's ok by you, it's ok then...

As for the hilt, it's 100% Bugis (Sulawesi). I find it fun and fulfilling... restoring old pieces... (provided we know what we're doing). Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 27th July 2007, 03:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Great looking pamor; one I haven't seen before .

Really?
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Old 27th July 2007, 03:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
Really?


Yup .
Got any examples to show ??
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Old 27th July 2007, 04:36 PM   #26
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Hey Rick, i found some nice pics of another example here:
http://tengkurizan.fotopic.net/c1071527.html
Marco, take a closer look at this pamor. It might be a bit more than you originally thought it was.
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Old 27th July 2007, 04:58 PM   #27
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Default RAJA ABALA RAJA

Very nice blade David.
Seems I have to clean up mine just a little more and give it some etching with lemon.

But, Raja abala raja = King busy king correct
Is the meaning of this pamor known?
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Old 28th July 2007, 01:59 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Very nice blade David.
Seems I have to clean up mine just a little more and give it some etching with lemon.

But, Raja abala raja = King busy king correct
Is the meaning of this pamor known?

Raja Abala Raja means... king with a force of kings; maharaja.

Looking at the pamor pattern... likely it seems that "a force is being reinforced again and again... from base to tip", symbolically.

Some Javanese believed that this pamor have the 'tuah' to make it's owner more charismatic and 'powerful'. Some also believed that this pamor can deflect danger in the battlefield.

David, Tengkurizan is a friend. I've seen his pieces up close and personal. Many great examples. Normally, I would ponder who, the original owner of such keris was?
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Old 31st July 2007, 12:28 PM   #29
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Dear Alam and the other forumites.

Terimah Kasih Banjak !

I got so much wiser by this thread.
Thanks a lot !
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Old 31st August 2009, 12:14 PM   #30
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Default simple rope toli toli

In addition to this old thread I found a picture of a similar simple toli toli on the website of the Tropenmuseum at Amsterdam.

Are there other examples where the toli toli is extremely simple compared to the rest of the keris ?
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