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Old 11th August 2016, 11:35 PM   #31
Rick
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Cool

I think it might be very helpful.

Someone once referred to keris study as 'a pretty deep rabbit hole'.
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Old 11th August 2016, 11:58 PM   #32
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Rick, I cannot publish the contents of the pdf here, it is a restricted publication with the rights to publication reserved by the author --- and maybe by the University of Hawaii too.

However, I will send a copy to anybody who wishes to contact me.
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Old 12th August 2016, 06:17 PM   #33
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We as people from this era with the whole world around us where we can get information about everything by our computers, we do not need a god anymore to believe in a mystic power of material things.

However when i handle my keris and when i work on them, i always try to follow the habits and guidelines given by the people who used to do so.
It helps me concentrate, and what is more important to me, it is the only way i still can show my deep respect for the men making such difficult to make and beautiful pieces of art.
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Old 12th August 2016, 07:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seerp Visser
We as people from this era with the whole world around us where we can get information about everything by our computers, we do not need a god anymore to believe in a mystic power of material things.

However when i handle my keris and when i work on them, i always try to follow the habits and guidelines given by the people who used to do so.
It helps me concentrate, and what is more important to me, it is the only way i still can show my deep respect for the men making such difficult to make and beautiful pieces of art.
Seerp, i'm not sure that anyone here is actually dismissing the spiritual/mystical/magickal aspects of the keris. The question has been raised about the practice of standing keris on end and whether that is a sign of a well forged blade. Also many people in recent years have made claims that balancing keris has something to do with mystical/magickal powers. In reality it is just basic science.
I might be way off base here and if so perhaps someone in the know can advise differently, but it seems that this penchant for balancing keris is a fairly recent phenomenon in certain places in Indonesia. I am not at all convinced that this is a practice that comes from any long-held tradition and have wondered if old school keris aficionados might not look at the practice as being somewhat disrespectful to the spirit of the keris, making them do tricks for public attention like this. I could be wrong of course. Maybe this is a long-held spiritual belief that i am simply unaware of.
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Old 13th August 2016, 12:12 AM   #35
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A personal keris is representative of its custodian. Such a keris is not displayed publicly. It is not removed from its wrongko to satisfy the curiosity of others.

A family keris (pusaka) is representative of its previous custodians and of the extended family, both past and present. Such a keris is a family heirloom and is kept within the family.

The profane keris in its role as a curiosity, a collectable, a store of wealth, an art work is in spite of its profane nature still symbolic of the Gunungan, which is linked to ancestor worship and the Gods.

Is it fitting to perform parlour tricks with such a powerful cultural symbol?

The major problem here is that we have several generations of people living in keris bearing cultures who have become disconnected from the traditional values and knowledge of their own cultures.

They know not what they do.

It is simply not possible to understand anything about the keris unless one has an understanding of the culture and society first.

Regrettably many people living in societies across the world have lost touch with their ancestors.
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Old 13th August 2016, 05:03 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
A keris can, and does, sometimes lose its gonjo often for culturally related reasons.
What are the cultural reasons that a keris would loose it's gonjo?

A keris that is forged without a separate gonjo, what completes the blade, a scabbard?
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Old 14th August 2016, 12:42 AM   #37
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The most usual reason that a keris will lose its gonjo is in the case where an heirloom keris needs to be passed to more than one person. In such a case, the original gonjo is incorporated into the body of a new keris.

Usually only one new keris is made, but I have heard of a gonjo being incorporated into more than one new keris. In such a case the whole gonjo is incorporated into a single base forging which is then split into two or more forgings to to make the number of new keris required. The heirloom keris receives a new gonjo.

Then there is the situation where a keris needs to have its geometry altered to prioritise a dress requirement.

A gonjo that has been damaged either by accident or by time will commonly be replaced, this is regarded as keris maintenance. To many people the keris is a living entity, it needs to be taken care of as is any living entity.

Many, if not most, instances where a kinatah motif was awarded involved the making of a new gonjo.

Sultan Agung decreed that nobody in his realm could wear a keris with a pamor gonjo. All existing keris at that time needed to have a new gonjo fitted.

When we think about the keris, we need to think of it in terms that can relate to a man. A man can legitimately have many women, many wives. A woman can legitimately have only one man, one husband. From the man's perspective, the woman is replaceable, but if a woman is replaced, then her replacement needs to be in harmony with her husband, if she is not, the man gets rid of her.

Javanese symbolism is multi symbolism:- the same thing can be interpreted in many ways, depending on context.

Thus the keris is symbolic of the man, the family, the kin group, the ancestors, the community, the Kingdom, the Ruler, the Gunungan, the Meru and of Siwa.

The wilah is purely masculine and is the keris, but when paired with the gonjo and considered as such it becomes the keris as symbolic of the human situation where the symbolism has moved from singularity to duality, that is, not only the masculine singular, but the complete foundation stone of society:- man + woman, one cannot exist without the other.

However, even when the wilah is paired with the gonjo, it requires a warangka (wrongko, scabbard) in order to fully symbolise the other societally based things, because the nature of the warangka is feminine and family and community require both male and female to produce family. This is not to say that the wilah + gonjo cannot fulfil the symbolic roles associated with family and community, but when coupled with the warangka that symbolism is strengthened.

In its role as symbolic of the Gunungan, the Meru, and of Siwa, the wilah can fulfil this role without the inclusion of the warangka.

So, when we think of the keris, the one component that is indispensable is the wilah, if we add the gonjo we gain a little more, if we add the warangka we gain more again.

Where a wilah has been made in such a way that the gonjo is forged as a part of the blade what we are looking at is the permanent unification of male and female.

Some symbolism associated with the keris was present from the time that the Keris Buda appeared, other symbolism has developed over time. The important thing to be aware of is that the keris is a culturally powerful icon that is loaded with symbolism, and we cannot begin to understand that icon unless we take the symbolism into account.
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Old 16th August 2016, 01:32 AM   #38
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Thanks so much for the datum, it's very interesting and complex.
I've read it several times and found that there is a lot to digest in those paragraphs. Reading it leads to more questions....



It is a "pretty deep rabbit hole".
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Old 16th August 2016, 07:59 AM   #39
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Its not really all that difficult, but it does require the learning of a new way to think and the adoption of a set of standards that are not common in most 21st century societies.
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Old 17th August 2016, 04:55 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Its not really all that difficult, but it does require the learning of a new way to think and the adoption of a set of standards that are not common in most 21st century societies.
The gonjo on this particular keris, is it a good replacement ?

I am still searching for opinions on how royal this keris might be.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 17th August 2016, 08:05 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
I am still searching for opinions on how royal this keris might be.
Willem, i am not sure exactly what you mean by this. Perhaps you need to define the term "royal" in your expectation for a more specific answer. As Alan has already state, he has personally examined some rather ordinary keris in the Kraton storeroom. Is that your standard for what a "Royal" keris is? If so and you are still trying to determine if this keris is a "royal" keris then i suppose that it does seem possible that it could be. However, stories of origins, even when held sincerely by families for long periods of time, are not always rooted in reality. The story told about this keris may or may not be accurate and must be taken with a grain of salt at best. Supposedly (according to the seller's website) this story was relayed by the granddaughter of the banker. He doesn't say exactly when the prince's family supposedly gifted this to the banker, but if the selut is indeed no older than the 1970s as Alan suggests that places this "gift" in the modern era.The "crest" on the back of the pendok is not any recognizable "royal" crest. So that is not a strong indicator that this keris actually did come from anyone in the royal family. Still, i must question, is a keris that is gifted to another by a member of the royal family to a commoner considered to be a "Royal" keris? I am not suggesting an answer, merely posing the question.
However, if by "Royal" you are speaking of a keris that might be personally owned and carried by a member of the royal family i strongly suspect that this is not an example of that. I do realize that the internet is filled with false information, but i did manage to find this example of a Keris Nagasapto supposedly made for Pakubuwono VII (seventh Susuhunan from 1830 to 1858). Personally, when i think of what a "Royal" keris is i think about keris that have been carried by members of the royal family, not just gifted to commoners or held in storage by the Kraton for one reason or another. Others may have a different standard.
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Old 17th August 2016, 11:19 PM   #42
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Willem, the gonjo on this keris is a barely acceptable replacement, the keris itself is very ordinary.

If the story is true, it may be able to be considered to be a royal gift.

But this raises the question of royalty in Central Jawa.

Javanese rulers had more than one official wife, and many unofficial wives (selir). My housekeeper of many years claimed descent from one such unofficial wife of Pakubuwono X.

Pakubuwono XII (1925 -- 2004) had six wives, and from these six wives he had 15 sons and 20 daughters. He also had an unknown number of selir and an unknown number of children from these selir.

Over the years I have known many people who can claim royal descent --- taxi drivers, shop assistants, factory workers, office workers, accountants, a physician.

There is nothing at all special about being able to claim royal descent, unless one is accepted as an active part of the hierarchy of the Keraton. The minor children pretty much don't bother, and simply get on with their lives.

This keris may or may not be a gift from one such person. It may or may not be a gift from the Susuhunan of Surakarta himself, but whoever gifted it, it remains a very, very ordinary keris.

EDIT

Willem, I've just read through this thread from the beginning.

I believe you already have a very clear answer on the "royalty" thing, given on more than one occasion, and by more than one person.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 18th August 2016 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 18th August 2016, 12:36 PM   #43
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Dear Alan,

Thank you for the interesting information about royalty in central Jawa.

Indeed reading back the entire thread most questions are answered.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate every reaction, but basically David and your good self are the main participants.

I am looking to keris from a very western point of view and the esoteric aspect is something I respect, but it does not play any role for me.

So if I check the Unique Selling Points of this particular keris as stated in the listing I have the following resume :

- KRATON keris :
not likely
- KRATON gift :
could be, as some kraton gifts can be of low quality and many can claim royalty
- GOOD FORGING proven by balance of the keris :
No relation between balance and good forging. it is more about center of gravity. (PS, I tried to balance my Zwilling kitchenknife. it was very difficult, altough it really does the job in the kitchen)
- GOOD FIT of the keris in Scabbard :
No, not really a good fit. Might be due to the replaced gonjo.
- ROYAL FAMILY CREST on pendok :
A not recognisable crest and a very common decoration.
- RED CLOTH insertion in the pendok claiming kraton use :
Not true, kraton use would mean red paint. cloth can be inserted at any time.
- SELUT :
1970's selut, a bit strange on a keris claimed to be mid 19th cent.
- UNIQUE MENDAK with the name of the banker :
No firm answer on this one, but personally I think this was part of some office utensil. maybe a stamp combined with upper and lower part of a mendak.

Somebody bought a poor keris with a rich story.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 19th August 2016, 01:14 PM   #44
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Willem, I have interpolated my response:-

- KRATON keris :
not likely

AGREED

- KRATON gift :
could be, as some kraton gifts can be of low quality and many can claim royalty

AGREED

- GOOD FORGING proven by balance of the keris :
No relation between balance and good forging. it is more about center of gravity. (PS, I tried to balance my Zwilling kitchenknife. it was very difficult, altough it really does the job in the kitchen)

YES, THE KERIS BALANCING THING IS A PARTY TRICK, ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF OF ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY OF THE KERIS

- GOOD FIT of the keris in Scabbard :
No, not really a good fit. Might be due to the replaced gonjo.

FROM MY PERSPECTIVE THE FIT OF AN OLD KERIS TO AN OLD SCABBARD IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT IMPORTANT. YES, I KNOW I'M VOICING A DIFFERENT OPINION TO THAT OF MANY VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE COLLECTORS LIVING OUTSIDE INDONESIA. PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES.
I'M NOT GOING USE THE SPACE NEEDED TO SUPPORT WHAT I HAVE JUST WRITTEN, BUT THE PRIMARY ARGUMENT THAT ITS ALL ABOUT THE MAN, NOT THE CLOTHES HE'S WEARING.




- ROYAL FAMILY CREST on pendok :
A not recognisable crest and a very common decoration.

YES

- RED CLOTH insertion in the pendok claiming kraton use :
Not true, kraton use would mean red paint. cloth can be inserted at any time.

TRUE, BUT RED IN THIS CONTEXT COULD BE READ AS AN INDICATOR OF RANK. I AM NOT SAYING IT IS, I AM SAYING IT IS POSSIBLE

- SELUT :
1970's selut, a bit strange on a keris claimed to be mid 19th cent.

YES

- UNIQUE MENDAK with the name of the banker :
No firm answer on this one, but personally I think this was part of some office utensil. maybe a stamp combined with upper and lower part of a mendak.

POSSIBLY

Somebody bought a poor keris with a rich story.

YEAH --- WELL YOU KNOW WHAT WE SAY ABOUT THAT. NO NEED TO REPEAT IT.
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Old 20th August 2016, 10:54 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
- GOOD FORGING proven by balance of the keris :
No relation between balance and good forging. it is more about center of gravity. (PS, I tried to balance my Zwilling kitchenknife. it was very difficult, altough it really does the job in the kitchen)
Sorry, can not resist to post this one.
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Old 21st August 2016, 02:22 AM   #46
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Well, it does look like a good knife...
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Old 21st August 2016, 03:34 AM   #47
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Default Can't Have One

Without the other.

It's the fork that is the unsung hero.
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Old 21st August 2016, 09:58 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Without the other.

It's the fork that is the unsung hero.
Yep, same as the scabbard in the sellers pictures

Without the fork I did not manage, probably due to bad forging
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Old 23rd August 2016, 10:14 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
Sorry, can not resist to post this one.
BRILLIANT!
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Old 31st August 2016, 05:23 AM   #50
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Just to add a little info from my experience about the Selut. I saw and bought the exact same selut during the 2008 in Jakarta market. Sold either in chrome silver or chrome gold.
Someone told me that he owns the same version in full gold (according to him) but I never hold and see with my own eyes, so I don't know. I just agreed with the owner statement and maybe its before 2000? I don't know.

regards,
rasjid
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Old 31st August 2016, 04:51 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rasjid
Just to add a little info from my experience about the Selut.
Have also such a selut, bought 2001 in Indonesia.
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Old 7th September 2016, 02:40 AM   #52
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Post #17 is a very good and clear picture of the lambang Karaton Surakarta, however, when this gets put on to a pendok its looks a little bit different.

Here is a pic of the Lambang Karaton Surakarta as we would expect to see it on a pendok.
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