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Old 2nd May 2013, 09:15 AM   #30
Bjorn
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Netherlands
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I'll be sure to look into those books in future, Alan.

This reminds me, that while coffee-table books generally offer very limited information, at least in the case of the Invincible Keris 2 I do find that it offers a plethora of references to check.

A lot of these are not sources dealing strictly with keris but rather sources that delve into the world of knowledge that indirectly touches on the keris and the symbolism of it and its parts - and as we know, owing to Indonesia's syncretic nature that world is quite large. The intricacies of Javanese society, the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms of old, geometric designs in Islam, Indian symbolism, etc. To me this all forms a fascinating realm to be explored further.

On a small side note, while living in a society itself is of immense value, at times reading a book can still teach you new knowledge. I've lived in Mainland China for some four years but was largely unaware of the symbolism of Chinese motifs on keris dress. I could recognize them as Chinese or Chinese influenced, but knew little to nothing about their meaning. I did inquire about such things while in China but found that, generally speaking, people had little knowledge of such things. No doubt, the Cultural Revolution played its part in that but I also suspect that modernization and urbanization contribute greatly to a lack of interest for old symbolism.

Alan, could you share with us how you find to be the state of knowledge in this regard in Indonesia? I imagine it is not dissimilar to China in that many - especially younger - people are no longer familiar with the symbolism and hidden meaning behind many patterns and designs as such knowledge is no longer relevant to their successful functioning in present-day society.
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