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Old 23rd February 2021, 12:58 PM   #51
A. G. Maisey
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Join Date: May 2006
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Sorry Mickey, I'm still a bit lost, however, I'll try expand a bit on what I wrote in Post 45.

The features that are considered to be correct for any particular dhapur can and do vary from place to place, from time to time, from keris study group to keris study group, and even from person to person.

We have one book that was issued under the aegis of the Surakarta Karaton that lists a large number of keris & tombak dhapurs, and I think probably most collectors tend to accept that book as the authority in so far as Javanese dhapurs are concerned. The general attitude is that unless the features of a keris match those listed in this "Surakarta Pakem" (a "pakem" is a guidebook, no more , no less) then that keris is "diluar pakem" and cannot really be considered to be any specific dhapur.

But the problem is this:- that guide book is really only valid in Surakarta, if you go down the road a bit to Ngayogyakarta you find that many keris literate people there will disagree with some of the material in the Surakarta Pakem.

Not only that, but if we work through the Surakarta Pakem, dhapur by dhapur, we will find that some of dhapurs shown and described in that Surakarta Pakem do not agree with the present day broad understanding of the name for each dhapur.

Then if we go across to Malang in East Jawa we find different opinions again. Go from Malang down to Surabaya we find more difference of opinion --- and so on, and so on, and so on.

The situation in respect of dhapur is repeated with pamor names.

It is repeated in respect of tuah.

There is very little about the names of various things associated with keris that is universal. This is why I coined the term "The Name Game" something like 40 or 50 years ago when I began to understand that virtually nothing about the keris is carved in stone. Everything varies.

Just as the simple, straightforward things like names vary, so do the beliefs.

Then, when we dig just a little below the surface we find that all those strange names that we took so much trouble to learn, mean absolutely nothing, they are red herrings that are intended to hide the true meanings.

The more we dig, the more we find that we have spent X number of years learning irrelevant names, ideas and concepts.

When we finally begin to come to some sort of a limited understanding of the keris we realise that what we thought we knew was not even the beginning of a true understanding of the keris.

But then again, not many people want to gain an understanding, most people simply want to gain a grab bag full of meaningless names so that they can classify and record. This is the essence of true collecting, and there is nothing wrong with that. But it has precious little to do with an understanding of the keris.

My personal opinion is that we are all entitled to our own opinion.

My principal teacher was Empu Suparman Supowijoyo. I knew him for more than 15 years and he taught me as much about the keris as I was able to absorb from him. His attitude was that only the Surakarta beliefs associated with the keris could be regarded as true knowledge, because those beliefs were guided by the Surakarta Karaton, which was the Senior Karaton, and in fact the only true Karaton in Jawa. If anything came from any other source it was wrong. No two ways about it.

I never, ever disagreed in even the smallest degree with Empu Suparman.

Even if I may have held a somewhat different opinion about something.

For as long as I have held a keris interest I have bought every book and booklet and pamphlet about keris that I could get my hands on; I have photo copies of a lot of other published and unpublished material, including everything about the keris that is held by the Mangkunegaraan Library in Solo.

However, what I have found is that most of this printed matter has not been of much use to me. I don't think I'm alone in this. During the 1970's through to the beginning of this century, perhaps the most frequent comment I heard from keris people in Solo was more or less:-

"it is a pity that people who write books about keris do not bother to learn about keris before they write"

the core keris beliefs in Central Jawa were always transmitted verbally, not in writing.

And these core beliefs vary.

Which makes argument and debate about the "correct name" for anything to do with the keris a pretty pointless exercise.

EDIT

On variation of ricikan.

Just a comment about my quote on legitimacy of a dhapur.

Mickey, you probably have quoted me correctly, I have said similar things for years, and still do, but that can only ever apply in the context of an accepted pakem, Surakarta or otherwise.

I usually don't speak or write an explanation of this along with the comment, because I expect the person I am addressing to understand this.

Probably if I know I'm addressing somebody who has not yet come to an understanding of the variability in keris belief & terminology I might give a very brief explanation, but usually I do not consider this necessary --- I don't really like to go on & on repeating the same things.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 23rd February 2021 at 10:21 PM. Reason: clarification
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