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Old 1st February 2008, 06:57 AM   #1
Alam Shah
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Default Kocet-Kocetan hilt form

What is the kocet-kocetan hilt?
Where does it originate from?
What are its meaning and symbolism behind this hilt form?

I'm a bit puzzled about this kocet-kocetan hilt "kurisi"? [ link ]
Is it a local name, for this type of hilt form? Hmmm...

This are the info that I've seen... from Dominique Buttin's site.

"It is an insect as can be seen by its six legs. Some sources identify it as a stink-bug.
The story behind the Kocet-Kocetan is the following: The beetle (or bug) Batara Karpa was born out of an egg which was laid by his mother Dewi Winata, a bird-demon, who was married with the Rishi Kasyapa, a tortoise. Three other animal gods were born out of this marriage: Batara Garuda the sun-eagle, Batara Agniya the marten and Batara Kowara the snake.

So the xenomorphical shape of a beetle is a very old motif and probably has a very deep mythological background.
The Kocet Kocetan equals Batara Karpa. That is why the shape of it was only permitted to be used by the Brahman, the Hindu priestly caste.
It is believed that the kerises of the Brahman do have magical powers and are able to create `Holy Water`.

But some of the hilt's head does looks like a horse?
Any ideas, suggestions, comments, objections... etc.
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Last edited by Alam Shah : 1st February 2008 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 1st February 2008, 12:05 PM   #2
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Alam
Before i always thought that this hilt was a horse.
Then, ...reading Kerner's books and other books i ear "Kocet Kocetan" but If i speack with Bali people about this hilt they don't seem to unerstand well what is "Kocet Kocettan"
Sometimes the hilt has 4 legs (horse ?) more times 6 legs(insect?)
The face of the subject is very ducky indeed
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Old 1st February 2008, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
Alam
Before i always thought that this hilt was a horse.
Then, ...reading Kerner's books and other books i ear "Kocet Kocetan" but If i speak with Bali people about this hilt they don't seem to understand well what is "Kocet Kocettan"
Sometimes the hilt has 4 legs (horse ?) more times 6 legs(insect?)
The face of the subject is very ducky indeed
Marco, if shown the hilt, what do they call it there?

Looking into Kerner's Keris-Griffe,
Pg 86, G116, show a mantis with 4 windows and 2 legs;
Pg 87, G120-121, shows an insect head with 6 legs
Pg 87, G123, shows a horse head with 8 legs.

Looking into Tammen's De Kris 2, on Pg 28, described as 'Kocet Kocettan'... possibly an earlier representation, with it's head, looks beak-like.
Pg 29, described as 'Kocet Kocettan','Boktor'... looks like the 2nd picture I've posted but without any gold decorations.
Pg 31, described as 'Kocet Kocettan', 4 legs, neck and belly ornament; head with tiara.
Pg 32, described as 'Kocet Kocettan' modern version, where the head is more horse-like, legs(?) hardly visible (if any).
It's as though I'm repeating what Marco had just said.
So now I'm confused.

Does 'kocet kocettan' have many variants?
Does anyone knows what 'kurisi' means?

Marco, your duck, does look horse-like...

Last edited by Alam Shah : 1st February 2008 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 1st February 2008, 12:51 PM   #4
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For more confusion: Hamzuri (an indonesian person!) in his keris' books says : horse
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Old 1st February 2008, 01:20 PM   #5
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To add to the confusion, Suhartono Rahardjo's, in his book... mentioned;

Bali Kocet-kocetan or Kusia, kepompong shape style. In the olden days, this hilt type is reserved for priests or religious leader. It resembles a horse head with the body of "kepompong (?)"...

Does anyone knows what is "Kusia" and what is "kepompong"?
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Old 1st February 2008, 01:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
For more confusion: Hamzuri (an indonesian person!) in his keris' books says : horse
Yup... you're referring to "Petunjuk Singkat tentang Keris", Fig 9... right? Opps! also appear in Hamzuri, "Keris" pg 32.
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Old 1st February 2008, 03:07 PM   #7
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Default Kocet-Kocetan

If I take Kerner's book : Keris-Griffe, Museum Rietberg Zürich 1996, (this book has only 73 pages and the last photo is N° 70) I cannot find your reference Alam Shah. But my copy of Kerner's book shows on page 34 and 35 two kocet-kocetan handles of Bali and kerners's legend precise on the page 34: a silver handle, of modern technology, with a shape reserved for Brahman. The kocet-kocetan would have a horse head and 6 legs but they are stylized. For me clearly an insect.
On page 35 it is a golden and ebony kocet-kocetan, also an insect, horse head and 4 legs (?). legend say the Balinese handle represent the shape of a beetle, a very old shape initially reserved for the Brahman and which had very probably a deeper mythological content.
My own kocet-kocetan is coming from Bali and when shown to Gaspar de Marval (quite knowledgeable author of "Ukiran a classification of keris handles") was immediately identified as an insect, was named kocetkocetan and was coming from Bali.
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Old 1st February 2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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Michel,
I was referring to the other Kerner's book, "Keris-Griffe - Aus Museen Und Privatsammlungen".

Btw, nice pictures... (this is the one, that looks beetle-like).

Last edited by Alam Shah : 2nd February 2008 at 03:14 PM. Reason: add pic comment.
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Old 1st February 2008, 03:31 PM   #9
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Kocetkocetan is a name of a bug in Balinese (I attached a picture from internet). I ask my Balinese friend about kurisi and kusia, both have no meaning to him. Internet search result: Kusia is a name of a banjar in Sawan, Buleleng

In Minang, both kurisi and kusia will have a meaning, kurisi=kursi=chair, kusia=kusir=horse courier

Kepompong is cocoon.

That Kocet is equal to Batara Karpa is the most interesting part....I'll try to dig on this one...
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Old 1st February 2008, 04:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunggulametung
Kocetkocetan is a name of a bug in Balinese (I attached a picture from internet).
This makes sense... I thought so, just to confirm. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tunggulametung
I ask my Balinese friend about kurisi and kusia, both have no meaning to him. Internet search result: Kusia is a name of a banjar in Sawan, Buleleng

In Minang, both kurisi and kusia will have a meaning, kurisi=kursi=chair, kusia=kusir=horse courier

Kepompong is cocoon.
As for 'kurisi', horse courier sound more meaningful(?), need to explore...
Ah! cocoon. Thanks again for your help... really appreciate it.
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Old 2nd February 2008, 12:05 PM   #11
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Michel
i would like to know when the name:"kocetkocetan" rise for the first time.
Maybe in the mr. Marval's book "ukiran"? ( perhaps this book was written with the collaboration of Mr. M. Kerner: in the book there are a lot of mr. MK's hits.)
....it would be nice to have mr. Marval or mr. Kerner in the forum...
Marco
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Old 2nd February 2008, 01:56 PM   #12
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Without getting into a deep meanings for this grip form, it has always looked to me to be a depiction of a Luna Moth (or a local similar large moth) just after it has left the cocoon and is waiting for its wings to dry before it can fly away.
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Old 2nd February 2008, 01:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
Michel
i would like to know when the name:"kocetkocetan" rise for the first time.
Maybe in the mr. Marval's book "ukiran"? ( perhaps this book was written with the collaboration of Mr. M. Kerner: in the book there are a lot of mr. MK's hits.)
....it would be nice to have mr. Marval or mr. Kerner in the forum...
Marco


Marco,

Already in Jasper & Pirngadie's classic book De inlandsche kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indie from 1912 is "kotjčt-kotjčttan" mentioned (fig. 325).

Michael
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Old 2nd February 2008, 02:16 PM   #14
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Default Kocetkocetan

Yes Marco,
Its a long time I wish Gaspar de Marval would join the forum as he has a very extensive knowledge of the kris world and of many aspects of the Indonesian culture but unfortunately I do not think he works with a computer and to my knowledge he does not have any experience with Internet. Now my information are a bit old, as I think that the last time I saw him was 3 years ago !
In all his writings related to kris, the pictures I have found were of the same origin and the handle Kocekocetan was identified as an insect and coming from Bali. The first one being : le kris, Java et Bali in the Gazette des Armes of June 1976.Ukiran is dated from May 1993 and Le Monde du kris is from 1997.
Was Ukiran written with Martin Kerner ? I have no idea but I could ask !
I am sorry not being able to bring more valid information on Kocetkocetan origin and time of appearance but I think that what I should do is to write to Gaspar de Marval and try to convince him to join the forum ! It may take some time but one never knows, I may succeed !
Regards
Michel
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Old 2nd February 2008, 04:30 PM   #15
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Hi All,

Not a keris expert, but I am a biologist. I agree with tunggulametung. Specifically, it looks like the pupa of a long-horned boring beetle (family cerambycidae). The "horse head" is actually the head and mandibles of the beetle. The fact that the abdomen is shown on the back, and the wings aren't fully formed, along with the orientation of the curled antennae, make me pretty sure that this is a pupa, not an adult beetle. Beetles go through a complete metamorphosis, as do moths, so the similarity with a moth (noted by Mick) is understandable.

Here's the science content: these beetles are not water bugs, but their larvae live in wood, and they include some of the largest insects in the world. They can certainly provide surprises, as the larvae can live in wood for years (wood isn't very nutritious, and they tend to grow slowly--the record I've heard is 50 years in a piece of furniture, and I've personally seen two years in an oak gavel I made), and when they get big enough, they metamorphose (the form shown here), and the adults come out, have sex, lay their eggs and die. Most of the cerambycids are tiny, but the largest can certainly be the size of a keris hilt, and I think that includes some Malaysian species.

Here's my guess for the origin of the hilt: some woodworker "unearthed" a pupa of one of these beetles in a piece of wood he was working on. Said woodworker made keris hilts, and he was also a bit of an innovator. He looked at this bizarre thing he'd dug out, the light went on, and a new hilt-form was born.

My 0.002 cents,

F

Edit: I'd even venture a guess for the beetle species: the sal heartwood borer (Hoplocerambyx spinicornis), which eats the wood of the sal tree (Shorea robusta), and is a fairly serious pest. The grubs of this beetle are reportedly eaten around Sarawak. From Wikipedia, resin from the sal tree is burned as incense in Hindu ceremonies, and sal is one of the most important timbers in India. Suggestive link between insect, plant, and hinduism, isn't it?

Here's a pic
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Last edited by fearn : 2nd February 2008 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 2nd February 2008, 05:42 PM   #16
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Hello Kerislovers,

there is a nice picture in W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp;
First European Artist in BALI (1997):52

The picture itself is from 1907

There you see two types of insect hilts.
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Old 2nd February 2008, 06:12 PM   #17
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In the small booklet "Pameran Hulu Keris dan Hulu Pengcelokan (1979) of the Museum Bali is mentioned the term "Kusia" and "Kocet-Kocetan" but I dont know is there is a difference or not. So we have three terms "Kurisi, Kocet-kocetan, Kusia".
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:09 AM   #18
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Thank you for uploading an image, Ki Joyomalelo
An image that is able to tell thousand words

From now I begin to know what hiltlovers are talking about
Before... even hearing a word "kocet-kocetan" made me itchy

warm salam,
Usman Djokja
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Old 3rd February 2008, 12:31 AM   #19
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Good and interesting discussion.
Unlike other 'balinese characters' - raksasa, god and godess, here we have an insect. What exactly is the philosophy or meaning having it as a hilt? What does it symbolise? Any myth behind this???
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Old 3rd February 2008, 03:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ki Jayamalelo
Hello Kerislovers,

there is a nice picture in W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp;
First European Artist in BALI (1997):52

The picture itself is from 1907

There you see two types of insect hilts.


Ki Jayamelo:

Nice pictures! the one on the left is the adult beetle, whereas the one on the right is the pupa. Different life stages, same critter.

Newsteel:
As for the myth... I've been searching for a while, with limited results. Here is what I have:

In the Wikipedia version of Hinduism, Kasyapa is a primordial creator sage/god, symbolized by a tortoise. He was father of the devas, asuras, nagas, and mankind. He had many wives (mostly daughters of Daksha), including Vinata (Dewi Winata), with whom he had two sons: Garuda (whom we all know) and Aruna, the footless/handicapped charioteer of Surya, the Sun. Part of the Garuda myth concerns a conflict between Vinata and Kadru, mother of the nagas (serpents). Agniya, the "marten" is another name for Agni, the old god of fire, who is sometimes said to be the child of Kasyapa and Aditi (goddess of the boundless sky).

I have yet to find reference to Kowara (the snake=Kadru, the naga mother?) and more importantly, Karpa, our divine beetle/hilt model. I suspect that there is an alternate mythological geneology at play here. I'm having trouble mentally linking Aruna (the charioteer of the sun) and Karpa (the beetle), but he's the obvious choice. The only link that comes to mind is that the ancient Egyptian Khepra, the scarab beetle who pushes the sun across the sky. That link's so far off in left field (mythologically and otherwise) that I'd be really surprised if it's something other than coincidence.

Not much help. The interesting thing is that this isn't a mainstream Hindu story. I'll be interested in how it plays out.

F
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Old 3rd February 2008, 07:56 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
This are the info that I've seen... from Dominique Buttin's site.

"It is an insect as can be seen by its six legs. Some sources identify it as a stink-bug.
The story behind the Kocet-Kocetan is the following: The beetle (or bug) Batara Karpa was born out of an egg which was laid by his mother Dewi Winata, a bird-demon, who was married with the Rishi Kasyapa, a tortoise. Three other animal gods were born out of this marriage: Batara Garuda the sun-eagle, Batara Agniya the marten and Batara Kowara the snake.

So the xenomorphical shape of a beetle is a very old motif and probably has a very deep mythological background.
The Kocet Kocetan equals Batara Karpa. That is why the shape of it was only permitted to be used by the Brahman, the Hindu priestly caste.
It is believed that the kerises of the Brahman do have magical powers and are able to create `Holy Water`.
I'm checking my Ensiklopedi Wayang Purwa (covering Mahabarata, Ramayana, Kanda, Paramayoga, Pustaka Raja Purwa and Purwakanda) and here's the result:

There are 4 different Winatas:
(Note x equal to marriage)

I. Dewi Winata (the daughter of Betara Brahma):
Resi Kasyapa x Dewi Kadru = thousands of serpents sons
Resi Kasyapa x Dewi Winata = 2 eggs, Garuda Aruna and Garuda Aruni
Resi Kasyapa x 11 other daughters of Hyang Daksa.
The conflict with Dewi Kadru was when she lost a bet about the color of Ucesrawas, horse from Suralaya. This slavery paid by Saktiwisa, the holy water belong to Batara Brahma.

II. Resi Winata (Son of Batara Bribrahma).
He descents the Garudas from the line of his grand son, Resi Briswara:
Resi Briswara x Garuda Harini = Garuda Harna, Garuda Brihawan, Garuda Sampati, Garuda Jatayu

III. Garuda Winata (son of Dewi Tanti and Batara Darampal)
Garuda Winata has 3 younger brothers:
1. Batara Agniya, a chivet
2. Batara KARPA, a bug
3. Batara Kowara, a serpent
unfortunately no additional infos about this.

IV. Kapi Winata
a monkey raksasa from Kiskenda Kingdom under King Sugriwa. Created by Batara Yama (Yamadipati).

This is to add to Fearn's finding. So, in my opinion, Fearn is correct that it is not the mainstream Mahabarata story, probably a local adaptation.

Nice picture by Ki Jayamalelo. I always thought that a pupa symbolize fertility, eternity, immortality, etc. This applied to sprout-like design in some keris hilts. As for the kocetankocetan mood being described in a Balinese hilt, either describing a pupa-like position or yoga/meditation.

Thanks.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 09:06 AM   #22
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ko-cet... ko-cet-tan... o-ooo
ko-cet... ko-cet-tan... o-ooo
.......................................

derived from local song-music (DANGDUT) sang by Rhoma Irama

back to hilt, especially phillosophy meanings, I have the same question as newsteel concern. why was kocet-kocetan chosen? If God of Karpa's appearance is a bug. There are so many kind of bugs, including bugbuster

I tried to memorize my childhood when my friends and I looked for butterflies and coconut bugs (kumbang). After having some buterflies and coconut bugs, we went to my one of my friend home. Knowing we had lots of butterflies and before we did some cruelgame, his mother said to us that in some aspects we had to learn from butterflies and kumbangs. Buttterfly was metamorphosis from caterpillar while kumbang was from larva (local name was uret). Both caterpillar and uret were weak and disguisting. To change their destinies, they did long fasting till God accepting their wishes. Caterpillar became a beautiful butterflies and uret became a strong kumbang. Strong kumbang. Even beheaded, kumbang still alive quite longtime.

His mother lesson at that time was to urge us to do fasting, fasting and fasting. However, now situation change. If my cousins know I am fasting, he will said, "Om, be carefull... you can get malnutrized". Instead of I delivered a message that I got from old generation, now, you generation frankly share opinions they found from modern school of thought.

OeS
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Old 3rd February 2008, 11:02 AM   #23
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Thanks a lot to all members for great full explanatons.
Now i have no doubts: it is a insect!

Michel
the booklet ukiran was written by G. De Marval but many De Marval's drawings are from "M.K. collection". So i have presumed it was a possible collaboration with M.K. (Martin Kerner ?)
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Old 3rd February 2008, 02:10 PM   #24
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Thanks all for the inputs...
mick, fearn... the observation and scientific viewpoints are highly appreciated, thanks.

Ki Jayamalelo... the picture provided the answer to why 4 or 6 legs.

Marco, Michael, Michel, tunggulametung... thanks for your references from the hilt prespective and symbolism.

So to recap...

What is the kocet-kocetan hilt?
It's a Balinese hilt form that was inspired by the beetle, (Batara Karpa).

Where does it originate from?
It's originated from Bali and specifically used there.

When the name:"kocetkocetan" rise for the first time?
in W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp; First European Artist in BALI (1997):52
The picture itself is from 1907

in Jasper & Pirngadie's classic book De inlandsche kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indie from 1912 is "kotjčt-kotjčttan" mentioned (fig. 325).

What are its meaning and symbolism behind this hilt form?
The pupa, pupa-like position or yoga/meditation symbolizes fertility, eternity, immortality... (?) ... unsure about this one...

Another question: Why a beetle?

Last edited by Alam Shah : 3rd February 2008 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 3rd February 2008, 03:09 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah

Another question: Why a beetle?


in some believes, even in some religions, BEETLE, BEE and ANT are great animals.
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Old 7th February 2008, 12:21 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
Thanks all for the inputs...
mick, fearn... the observation and scientific viewpoints are highly appreciated, thanks.

Ki Jayamalelo... the picture provided the answer to why 4 or 6 legs.

Marco, Michael, Michel, tunggulametung... thanks for your references from the hilt prespective and symbolism.

So to recap...

What is the kocet-kocetan hilt?
It's a Balinese hilt form that was inspired by the beetle, (Batara Karpa).

Where does it originate from?
It's originated from Bali and specifically used there.

When the name:"kocetkocetan" rise for the first time?
in W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp; First European Artist in BALI (1997):52
The picture itself is from 1907

in Jasper & Pirngadie's classic book De inlandsche kunstnijverheid in Nederlandsch Indie from 1912 is "kotjčt-kotjčttan" mentioned (fig. 325).

What are its meaning and symbolism behind this hilt form?
The pupa, pupa-like position or yoga/meditation symbolizes fertility, eternity, immortality... (?) ... unsure about this one...

Another question: Why a beetle?

In Bali's temples i have always seen a lot of Gods' pictures / statues but never a beetle
...maybe istead of to be distracted by local beauty i had to observe better
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Old 7th February 2008, 04:18 PM   #27
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I remember Mel Brooks the actor ; he had a character known as the 2,000 year old man . The fellow had the answers to all our questions about the past (his answers were humorus of course) .

Now wouldn't it be wonderful if we could find the 2,000 year old Balinese man .
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Old 8th February 2008, 04:06 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
In Bali's temples i have always seen a lot of Gods' pictures / statues but never a beetle
...maybe istead of to be distracted by local beauty i had to observe better
This is what I found today at Sentosa (resort island) in Singapore.
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Old 8th February 2008, 04:35 PM   #29
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Great Alam!!
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Old 9th February 2008, 06:33 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah

What is the kocet-kocetan hilt?
It's a Balinese hilt form that was inspired by the beetle, (Batara Karpa).

What are its meaning and symbolism behind this hilt form?
The pupa, pupa-like position or yoga/meditation symbolizes fertility, eternity, immortality... (?) ... unsure about this one...

Another question: Why a beetle?
Hi Alam,

I just want to pass some additional info that I got from a friend (I hope I translate the message correctly):

'Kocet' in certain Balinese region and also in Sasak (Lombok) means 'small'. In another Balinese area, it refer to a sound of a dry hinge. This explain that kocetkocetan bug also having the ability to made similar noise.

In Lombok version, kocetkocetan hilt derived/inspired by the a water bug called 'kenciut' that usually live in rice field. People of these area regard the bug as symbol of prosperity (for the farmers); as it possibly means that the land is fertile, etc - maybe Fearn can confirm this. That is the reason that mostly kocet2an appear in glamourous fashion, to show prosperity.

Thanks!
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