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Old 21st February 2021, 07:48 PM   #17
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,755

Kai, I need to explain something:- if I give an opinion, I like to be able to support that opinion. It is not difficult at all to look at superficiality in a photograph and put forward a few ideas, but it is difficult to look at a photograph and form a supportable opinion --- well, at least for me it is.

So, the gonjo.

Yes, it is a different colour to the colour of the body of the blade, this is because it is different material to the material we can see on the body of the blade, and it has been worked in a different way.

The material that forms the blade has been made up of a number of layers that are comprised of iron and a contrasting material that is very likely to be nickelous material, possibly from Luwu. Erosion has removed parts of some of these layers.

The gonjo has been made from only iron, and the sides of the gonjo display the edge of the forged material. The gonjo was carved from a very much larger bakalan, so what we see on the sides of the gonjo is iron that has the edges of a small piece of material exposed by cold work, ie, carving.

We cannot compare the colour of the gonjo in total with the colour of the blade body in total, we might, perhaps, be able to compare the colour of some exposed areas of iron in the blade body, but even then, we need to have both pieces of material that we are comparing in precisely the same light, and we would need to be able to find an area of exposed iron that had not been affected by heat treat. I would need to use magnification.

Is it even remotely possible to compare the colour and qualities of the iron in the blade body, with the iron in gonjo, using as reference a photograph?

For me, it is not. That is one of the things that I am unable to give a supportable opinion for.

The other thing I cannot give a supportable opinion on is the authorship of the gonjo. It is unfitted. It & the blade have been through a cleaning process, the warangan is far from perfect. The gonjo appears to have suffered some damage.

What sort of opinion can I form in these circumstances?

Not one that I could support and that is certain.

In respect of relieving the underside of the gonjo.

It is much easier to mate narrow strips along the edges of the meeting surface of the gonjo than it is to try to get the entire bottom face of the gonjo to meet perfectly with the mating base of the blade. Sometimes the central portion of the mating blade base will also be marginally relieved.

I'm not guessing here, this is something that I know with absolute certainty.


Personal experience.

The absence of cecekan on the hilt is, as Kai has remarked, something that is not uncommon in early examples of this hilt form. The planar hilt form is a very old form in Jawa, and the Javanese form that we are now familiar with had its roots in the Demak era. Going back to this era and before it was not unusual for a man to carve his own keris hilt. This was widespread across Maritime SE Asia and can be thought of as a display of the artistic side of a man's nature in much the same way that weaving was a measure of a woman.

It would be of interest to know the provenance of this keris, my feeling is that it has been outside its originating culture for an extended period of time.
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