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Old 18th February 2021, 09:44 PM   #1
mross
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Default New Kris off ebay

Not going to mention the seller as he is on the forum and can chime in if he wants to. If you saw the listing ya'all know who it is anyway.
I read the description very carefully and looked at the pics even closer. I am a firm believer in buy the sword not the story. However in this case I think the story was spot on, if not a little understated! I do think it is closer to 18th than 19th century. If it is 19th it is very early. It as more in common with my archaic pieces then it has differences. Full disclaimer; I am pretty much a sucker for the archaic ones. When I saw the pics I did think there could be a twist core under there. Upon closer inspection, I don't think so but the laminations are killer.
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Old 18th February 2021, 11:07 PM   #2
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When I saw it on Ebay, I thought it has some distinct features similar to my Kris here:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26349

I would say 3rd quarter of 19th cent.
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Old 19th February 2021, 01:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav
When I saw it on Ebay, I thought it has some distinct features similar to my Kris here:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26349

I would say 3rd quarter of 19th cent.
How long is your blade? Mine is only 19 inches.
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Old 19th February 2021, 02:36 PM   #4
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Mine is 3 inches longer.
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Old 19th February 2021, 05:12 PM   #5
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Talking

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Mine is 3 inches longer.
Stop bragging, Gustav!
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Old 19th February 2021, 05:28 PM   #6
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(and two Luk more )
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Old 19th February 2021, 05:37 PM   #7
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Well, I'm not positive that having it bent a couple of times more really is an advantage...
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Old 19th February 2021, 05:37 PM   #8
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Hello Mike,

That's a cute little kris!

I don't see any features that would suggest an early origin - there also are some later examples with short blades, even from Mindanao.

From my experience, I'd have placed this at the last quarter of the 19th century (especially based on the angled separation line and the hilt style which also seems to be a later development). The provenance of Gustav's kris may suggest that this style could possibly date a tad earlier; some more examples with reliable provenance would certainly be needed to validate this hypothesis.

To sum things up, I believe that what you might interpret as resembling archaic kris is mainly the result of miniaturization and possibly somewhat lesser craftsmanship.

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Kai
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Old 19th February 2021, 06:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Well, I'm not positive that having it bent a couple of times more really is an advantage...
Well, surely not from medical viewpoint...
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Old 2nd March 2021, 03:33 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input. Upon further consultations and research I am going with a date of 1800 give or take a decade.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 05:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mross
Thanks for the input. Upon further consultations and research I am going with a date of 1800 give or take a decade.
As with all our acquisitions we are welcome to go with whatever date makes us most comfortable, but i will also throw in with the others on this thread who have suggested a somewhat later date that is post 1850.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 07:40 PM   #12
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Hello Mike,

Quote:
Upon further consultations and research I am going with a date of 1800 give or take a decade.
I'd love to hear some reasons for this estimate - I tried to give some reasoning for my suggestion.

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Kai
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Old 2nd March 2021, 08:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I'd love to hear some reasons for this estimate - I tried to give some reasoning for my suggestion.
Mike, to build a little bit further on the reasoning Kai suggested for his later dating please have a look at this classic example of an archaic kris that was posted elsewhere on this forum.
You wrote: It [h]as more in common with my archaic pieces then it has differences.
Well, that is probably true of any Moro kris, but let's look and what the differences are which lead me to believe the dating of your kris is not so close to these "archaic" styles.
Most of these "archaic" keris (certainly there are exceptions) have rather slow and wide luks or waves. They have a tendency to have 5-7 luks as in the example below and often the blade straightens out as it nears the tip. Yours has quite a lot of waves (i think i count 19) and they are very quick and shallow that run right to the very tip of the blade.
As you can also see (and know if you have examples of these in your collection), these older keris tend to have a rather full set of carved features on the blade. We have what would be called sogokan on a Javanese keris as well as another flame shaped carving around the sogokan. The lines that run down the blade again peaking in a flame shaped motif is also a common element of "archaic" blades. Often the area inside these lines display a twisted core when etched. Your blade displays none of this.
Archaic kris also don't tend to have a center ridge, what would be called ada-ada in Java, but if i am not mistaken yours does.
Your blade also seems to have darkened just around the edges when lightly etched in a manner that i have seen time and time again on late 19th century kris.
Kai has already mentioned the position of the angled slant on the gangya. In these older kris that slant takes place further to the back of the gangya and is therefore shorter or they sometimes run straight across with not slant up. Yours looks more like it is on later kris.
Kai also mentioned the hilt and kakatu pommel, which seem to be a later style. Though we can't count too much on that since this hilt could very well be replacement, factored in with the other points it does carry some weight.
Yes, i do realize that you weren't saying your kris was as old as these archaic kris, but i am afraid i am not seeing the similarities of which you speak and think what we are seeing here is pretty much in line with what we would expect from the second half of the 19th century.
Like Kai i would also be interested in what you were told in your further consultations. Change our minds. Better, more detailed photos might help.
It's a nice kris, but i don't see it as a transitional blade from the archaic style.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 04:38 PM   #14
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This is the best pics I can do at the moment. My phone is old and the camera not the best. But it shows what I want. The size of the kris under discussion and one of my archaics is spot on. Length, width are the same. As David and others pointed out thee are differences. Interestingly the differences you mentioned are exactly why i think it is a intermediate style between the different styles. I stopped using transition piece as that termis used by Cato to describe going from the smaller Malay keris to the battle kris. No point in trying to redefine terms. It does nor show up in the photo but in hand the steels seem to be very similar as well. The Jungyangan handle is not as large as it seems and is very close or would be very close to the one on the archaic if the archaic one was not broken. I do think it may be a later replacement. With it, the balance on the blade is awful. Definitely no twist core on the kris in question, the archaic one shown does indeed have one, though it took me awhile to see it. That's another story. Another thing I considered though in a different way then the previous discussion is size matters. Or more importantly is has meaning both as a status symbol which kris where and as a weapon. If this kris in question came up against a later part of the 19th century battle blade it would be at a major disadvantage both in reach and strength. I do not disagree at all with the differences pointed out, as I said they are the reasons i think it is a intermediate style. As to who I consulted with I can and will not name names as it was a private discussion. However I value his opinion quite a bit as he has seen an held many more than I can ever hope to.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 05:46 PM   #15
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Mike, what I notice about one of the details of your new/old kris is that the 'elephant's trunk' feature is quite different from most. Instead of looking like an elephant's trunk the feature on your blade looks quite like a rooster head in profile.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 07:15 PM   #16
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Mike, there are many examples of late 19th century kris that have similar length blades. Here is an example that i let go of a couple of years ago that is also about 18 inches. Also not the similar manner in which the blade has etched to your example. This kris has many of the features of archaic keris (sogokan surrounded by flame design, etched lines down the blade that terminate in another flame-like motif, 5-luk blade that is half wavy, half straight). But it does not have the same level of craft put into these features that we tend to see on the archaic blades. In many ways when it comes to features it has far more in common with your archaic blade than your new kris does. But it is not an intermediate form, it is most certainly not any older than late 19th century.
I don't believe we were asking you to reveal the name of your consultant. What i was interested in was the actual information you consultant revealed that convinced you of the earlier age of your kris.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 07:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Mike, what I notice about one of the details of your new/old kris is that the 'elephant's trunk' feature is quite different from most. Instead of looking like an elephant's trunk the feature on your blade looks quite like a rooster head in profile.
Detailed photos would be helpful. I can't tell if that is the original intention of the "elephant trunk" or if material has been lost to age and erosion.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 08:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Mike, there are many examples of late 19th century kris that have similar length blades. Here is an example that i let go of a couple of years ago that is also about 18 inches. Also not the similar manner in which the blade has etched to your example. This kris has many of the features of archaic keris (sogokan surrounded by flame design, etched lines down the blade that terminate in another flame-like motif, 5-luk blade that is half wavy, half straight). But it does not have the same level of craft put into these features that we tend to see on the archaic blades. In many ways when it comes to features it has far more in common with your archaic blade than your new kris does. But it is not an intermediate form, it is most certainly not any older than late 19th century.
I don't believe we were asking you to reveal the name of your consultant. What i was interested in was the actual information you consultant revealed that convinced you of the earlier age of your kris.
No worries. He was referring to pieces in his personnel collection and ones he has seen in museum. He attributes it to around 1800. Which coincides with my estimate, the plus or minus was mine as unfortunately we will never truly know and the minus part is suspect, as I am putting it in early 1800's. It would have been helpful if they signed their work or kept records like the Japanese did.
David, I have a similar one in my collection. Now I have to pull it out and see if it is the same one! There seem to be a very small degree of separation amongst us collectors. That type I believe is an attempt to copy the style of carving and construction of the archaic ones. The carving is not up to the standard of the older ones and almost seems like it was mechanically milled in as opposed to carved, it may or may not have a twist core usually not.
I can see the rooster. If you know how to read the carvings you can get a good idea of the origins of the blade. That is on my to do list as I cannot do it. There are some on this forum who can and the guy I talked to definitely can.
One thing I would really like to see is a catalog of blades that have been grouped together by area and school of craftsman. Think Japanese Bizen school etc. To my knowledge no such reference for Philippine blades exist.
As usual don't be afraid to offend me as I do not offend in scholarly discussion with legit disagreements. It helps us all learn.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 09:47 PM   #19
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Mike,

Like several others, I think your sword is most likely from 1880-1900. I also believe it is from the Sulu Archipelago rather than Mindanao.

Here's why I think it is late 19th C. The blade is not an archaic style. While it has some resemblance to an archaic (pre-1800) style, the high number of luk would be most atypical for a pre-1800 kris, and the blade width is greater than early kris. Blade length depends on the owner's preference and is neither here nor there in determining age (although the preference among archaic kris seems to have been for shorter blades than those of the late 19th C). For me, the blade just lacks the elegance and refinement of early kris. That's not to say this kris is not elegant--it is in its own way--but just not elegant in the way early kris are. Instead I think your blade is of a style that was emerging in the last quarter of the 19th C--best seen in Mindanao, but also in the Sulu archipelago--with a somewhat heavier blade and a "chunkier" kakatua (such as seen on your example).

As to why Sulu? First, the elephant trunk, which Rick has found unusual, is a style seen sometimes in the Sulu Archipelago and can be found on some archaic Sulu kris. It is seen too on some Malay kris (as distinct from keris). This elephant trunk style does not indicate an archaic origin, however, because it can be found occasionally on 20th C kris as well. The scabbard is clearly Sulu, despite missing half its sampir. The kakatua on your piece is in a style used in Sulu, but not until the second half of the 19th C in my experience.

Those are the reasons for my opinions. I hope you find them helpful.

Regards,

Ian
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Old 3rd March 2021, 09:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Mike,

Like several others, I think your sword is most likely from 1880-1900. I also believe it is from the Sulu Archipelago rather than Mindanao.

Here's why I think it is late 19th C. The blade is not an archaic style. While it has some resemblance to an archaic (pre-1800) style, the high number of luk would be most atypical for a pre-1800 kris, and the blade width is greater than early kris. Blade length depends on the owner's preference and is neither here nor there in determining age (although the preference among archaic kris seems to have been for shorter blades than those of the late 19th C). For me, the blade just lacks the elegance and refinement of early kris. That's not to say this kris is not elegant--it is in its own way--but just not elegant in the way early kris are. Instead I think your blade is of a style that was emerging in the last quarter of the 19th C--best seen in Mindanao, but also in the Sulu archipelago--with a somewhat heavier blade and a "chunkier" kakatua (such as seen on your example).

As to why Sulu? First, the elephant trunk, which Rick has found unusual, is a style seen sometimes in the Sulu Archipelago and can be found on some archaic Sulu kris. It is seen too on some Malay kris (as distinct from keris). This elephant trunk style does not indicate an archaic origin, however, because it can be found occasionally on 20th C kris as well. The scabbard is clearly Sulu, despite missing half its sampir. The kakatua on your piece is in a style used in Sulu, but not until the second half of the 19th C in my experience.

Those are the reasons for my opinions. I hope you find them helpful.

Regards,

Ian
Not sure where the Mindanao came from never said it was. It is definitely Sulu. That was not in question. We will have to agree to disagree on the age though.
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Old 3rd March 2021, 10:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I don't see any features that would suggest an early origin - there also are some later examples with short blades, even from Mindanao.
I mentioned Mindanao (i.e. short blades even known from a region with a clear tendency for longer blades) but did not refer to the piece under discussion.

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Kai
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Old 3rd March 2021, 10:52 PM   #22
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Hello Mike,

Quote:
He was referring to pieces in his personnel collection and ones he has seen in museum. He attributes it to around 1800.
I'm not picking on anyone but I certainly would like to understand the reasoning rather than opting for the easy way out and agreeing to disagree.

Thus, I'd be very keen to hear how this separation line is explained in the context of the suggested period.

I'd love to see any kris with reasonably documented provenance from around 1800! Even more so if any happen to exhibit similar features as your piece.

It is surely possible to explain away the hilt as being a later replacement, it surely can't be used for supporting any early date.

BTW, I closely examined a good number of kris from collections including musea. That does not make me infallible though...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd March 2021, 11:19 PM   #23
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Mike,

To relieve you of revealing a confidential communication, perhaps your informant might like to comment here directly and respond to the questions being raised by other members. You have expressed the information that you received. Several responders have asked for the reasoning behind those opinions, and that seems a fair request. If your consultant is not a member here, perhaps he could write something for you to post on his behalf. It's OK if he wishes to remain anonymous.

Ian.
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