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Old 11th August 2021, 01:19 PM   #1
stilgar
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Default Help ID'ing 3 Kris

Hi all,

I got these three at auction and would love to learn more about them if anyone can help?

The large one looks like Barong so I am guessing it is Balinese. It seems very large for a traditional Kris so maybe made for the tourist market? But it does appear well made, to my untrained eye.

The middle Kris has a very rough blade as if it has been cast and not worked?

The smallest kris has a sheave with a carving of a hairy mythical cat like creature I dont recognise

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Thanks a lot!

Calum
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Old 11th August 2021, 06:30 PM   #2
David
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Hi Calum. I'll start on the right. This is indeed from Bali and it is one of the few types of "keris" that i feel comfortable referring to as a "tourist" keris. This has nothing to do with its size. Bali keris in general are the largest keris from Indonesia, barring the Indonesian sundang or keris panjang. But in all probability this is a not a forged blade, but rather, it is formed bu stock removal rather than forging. The sheath is classic for this form and while we do from time to time find actual old keris married with these heavily carved sarongs this particular form would never be used for cultural use. In other words, this is a keris like object made specifically for sale to tourists.
I don't think the blade in the middle was cast. The rough surface comes from years of acid washing. This is not a keris of any particular quality and seems to be a village made keris with dress that may well have been made (or at least had parts replaced, by the owner rather than a skilled mranggi.
The keris to the far left is dressed is a style that has bee called a "soldier's keris". This style was popular amongst Dutch soldiers who brought these back from their time in the service in Indonesia. The hilt, known as Topi or Pulasir, displays as aspects of Dutch military influence. Note the helmut top and the epilauettes on the shoulders of the hilt. Yours is what i might consider somewhere in the middle quality on the carving level for this form a dress.
The blade is an old Kebo (Mahesa) Lajer dhapur. This is indicated by the elongated gandik at the front base of the keris. This dhapur as agricultural associations. Something about the proportions of this blade gives me the feeling that it may have been shortened at some point.
In a way these "Soldier Keris" can be considered the first indonesian tourist keris, though unlike the Balinese blade you show these did use real keris blades, though not usually high quality ones. But i do find them quaint and intriguing and would consider this one perhaps the most collectable in your grouping.
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Old 11th August 2021, 10:26 PM   #3
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Thanks so much David for your help, it's very much appreciated.

The large one does have a touristy look to it and I can see that the middle one is a lesser quality.

The soldier Keris is my favourite, Ill do some more research now I know what it is.

Heres some more detailed photos if anyone is interested:

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Old 11th August 2021, 10:27 PM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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All agreed David, however, in respect of the "soldier keris".

There are several of this type of keris on display in the museum attached to the Sumenep kraton, they are named as gabilan wrongkos.

From three informants living in Sumenep, one of whom was an abdi dalem of the kraton, I was advised that this type of wrongko is a form of folk art, very often carved by the owner of the keris himself.

Supposedly Madurese men who joined the Dutch forces would take a keris of this style with them when they left to serve. Often the keris style reflected a Dutch motif or idea, which was believed to be a show of loyalty to the Dutch.

This particular "cat" style is supposed to represent the Dutch Lion of Orange.

I would gently suggest that these Madurese keris were never made as "tourist keris", they began as Madurese folk art, they were taken into Dutch service by Madurese mercenaries, and perhaps when the Madurese soldier returned home he might have sold or given his keris to a Dutch soldier.

These keris might have become "tourist objects" for the Dutch, but they never were this for the Madurese.
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Old 12th August 2021, 03:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
All agreed David, however, in respect of the "soldier keris".

There are several of this type of keris on display in the museum attached to the Sumenep kraton, they are named as gabilan wrongkos.

From three informants living in Sumenep, one of whom was an abdi dalem of the kraton, I was advised that this type of wrongko is a form of folk art, very often carved by the owner of the keris himself.

Supposedly Madurese men who joined the Dutch forces would take a keris of this style with them when they left to serve. Often the keris style reflected a Dutch motif or idea, which was believed to be a show of loyalty to the Dutch.

This particular "cat" style is supposed to represent the Dutch Lion of Orange.

I would gently suggest that these Madurese keris were never made as "tourist keris", they began as Madurese folk art, they were taken into Dutch service by Madurese mercenaries, and perhaps when the Madurese soldier returned home he might have sold or given his keris to a Dutch soldier.

These keris might have become "tourist objects" for the Dutch, but they never were this for the Madurese.
Yes Alan, i completely agree with this.
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Old 20th September 2021, 12:44 PM   #6
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Any insights into the origins of these Madurese "warangka kucing"? I've seen one or two before, and I happen to like cats, is all... I understand cats are the friend of the bibliophile, and that Islam has a certain affinity for cats... Why are cats not featured on handles? I've seen Youtube footage of a housecat sending an interloping cobra on it's way, but... Why on Madurese warangka, and no others that I know of? And I'm not concerned with the keris Singobarong (spelling as per Ki mpu Djeno Harumbrodjo) here; just the "cat warangka" (and any cat handles [no obviously leonine handles], whether they are Madurese or from somewhere else (if anyone knows of any from somewhere else in the Nusantara).

Last edited by Mickey the Finn; 20th September 2021 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Specificity. More precise wording. Orthography.
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Old 20th September 2021, 01:01 PM   #7
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Post #4.

The Dutch Lion of Orange.
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Old 20th September 2021, 01:48 PM   #8
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Yes Mickey, as Alan has pointed out, the lion on this wrongko is a reference to the Dutch Lion of Orange. It has nothing to do with any Islamic beliefs or anything indigenous to Madurese culture.

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