Thread: keris palembang
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Old 18th August 2020, 01:38 PM   #26
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,783

Well Gavin, you're not bad.

Got no kewpie dolls to hand out, but for a non-keris sort of bloke that's a real good ten cents worth.

Yes, Surakarta.

If we were to work through the indicators one by one we would see that it agrees very heavily with Surakarta. The only questionable indicator is the blumbangan. Kai tells us it is square, but on my monitor it is just marginally elongated. Camera angles and monitors can distort the exact proportions, and it is not the classic long narrow blumbangan that is typically Surakarta.

But putting that blumbangan to one side, everything else is there, however, it is there in what I would call a "comic book" rendition, as if the maker has heard all about what the Surakarta blade looks like, but maybe is not very familiar with them in his hand.

For a Surakarta blade, I could not consider this blade to be high quality work, there is too much variation in the ron dha sections of the greneng. These ron dha are definitely Surakarta and are primary indicators, once we see this ron dha form we then begin to look for something that will tell us that the keris cannot be Surakarta, something that will without argument eliminate Surakarta. In this keris there is no negative indicator that will positively eliminate Surakarta.

The variation that is very obvious in the ron dha sections possibly indicates that there will be considerable variation in placement and execution of the features on opposite faces of the blade. High quality workmanship demands that the features perfectly echo each other on each blade face. Perfect means exactly that:- perfect. Almost perfect is not good enough in this case.

I believe this keris was made in Sumatera, but that does not make it Tangguh Palembang or Tangguh Jambi. However, the entire ensemble is a very nice example of a Palembang keris.

If it were mine I would not change a thing on it, everything hangs together nicely exactly as it is.

There are solid cultural reasons, apart from personal preferences, why men choose to wear humble clothing and non-ostentatious accoutrements, and when such a nice example as this comes our way it is perhaps a little arrogant of somebody who is not a part of the originating culture to take it upon himself to override the taste of the previous owner.

This thread might be of interest:-

Gavin, your comments on the overall form of the blade are quite perceptive, a Surakarta blade should ideally have a defined "chest" on the front edge, and on the back edge and placed a little lower, more towards the gonjo, there should be a defined swelling that is the "back". It is not so much a narrowing in the centre but a swelling that protrudes beyond the line of the edge, front higher, back lower.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 18th August 2020 at 01:49 PM.
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