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Old 17th February 2021, 07:11 PM   #1
Athanase
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Default Very large (East?) Javanese Keris for Comments

Hello

When I bought this Kriss, I didn't pay attention to the dimensions. So I was very surprised by its size when I received it.

The blade is 45.5 long, the Ganja is 10cm wide and the base of the Pesi is 1.1cm in diameter.
The Selut is in silver alloy.
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Old 17th February 2021, 07:35 PM   #2
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Well, i'll take a stab at this and suggest the blade is possibly Tuban, if for no other reason than the rather large (for a Javanese keris) size.
The hilt cup is a mismatch though. It is both too large for this hilt and not the correct style. I would recommend replacing it with a proper mendak.
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Old 17th February 2021, 07:43 PM   #3
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So far I have never seen a mendak or selut with an opening wide enough for a Pesi of 1cm in diameter. I think I'll take a while to find.
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Old 18th February 2021, 07:10 AM   #4
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This is an interesting keris.

There are several things that strike the eye immediately upon seeing this keris:-

Wilah

the front of the gandhik is slightly concave

the gonjo is inclined to be thin and with only a very slight curve

the tikel alis is the old style that proceeds to the front of the gandhik

the material appears to be coarse and the pamor looks as if it has been "smeared" over the surface; this material would require close examination under magnification before any conclusions could be drawn.

it looks as if there is a rudimentary ada-ada

The slightly concave gandhik front is associated with West Jawa more than any other location, it is fairly common in West Jawa keris and seldom found in Central Jawa & East Jawa

Gonjo

The thin, flat gonjo is a Pajajaran tell, the sirah cecak has been damaged, but if it can be imagined as undamaged a Pajajaran classification could be supported, and the same is true of the buntut urang.

Wrongko

The down turned lip at the front of the atasan is associated with areas west of Tegal, there is a similar style associated with Blambangan, but here it is not as pronounced as in the example under discussion, and the same is true of a similar Balinese style.

Questions

Is the cross section of the body of the blade smoothly curved on its faces, or is there evidence of a slight ridge at its center?

The blade is within length parameters for a Javanese blade, and it is relatively broad, but is this blade also thick? Does it feel heavy or is it light in the hand? Is it lively and easily moved or is it a weight that requires a conscious hand movement? To judge this the keris needs to be held with thumb & index finger pinching the blumbangan and the gonjo resting on the index finger, with the hilt itself only loosely held, the blade more or less supported on the index finger as a fulcrum point.

Is the blade a reasonably good fit to the wrongko , maybe a bit sloppy, but that sloppiness able to be attributed to wear rather than to a poor refit?
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Old 18th February 2021, 10:46 AM   #5
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I do not see any trace of a central ridge on the blade.

In the middle of the blade the thickness is about 5mm

By manipulating the blade, we feel its weight weighing a little on the wrist.

The wrangka fit is very good. On the other hand the gandar is very damaged, the interior is totally eaten away by worms and very fragile because it is hollow. The black spots that we see on the scabbard are from old repairs where the holes were filled with putty.
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Old 18th February 2021, 11:12 AM   #6
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Thanks Athanase.

So the faces of the blade are smooth curves?
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Old 18th February 2021, 11:42 AM   #7
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Yes it's smooth curves.
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Old 18th February 2021, 11:43 AM   #8
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Hello Alan,

Do you know why the gonjo has these triangular notches?

Don't you think the gonjo might have been replaced? The not well-defined sirah cecak does not seeem to fit well with the neatly sculpted gandik, does it?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 18th February 2021, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Alan,

Do you know why the gonjo has these triangular notches?

Don't you think the gonjo might have been replaced? The not well-defined sirah cecak does not seeem to fit well with the neatly sculpted gandik, does it?

Regards,
Kai
Glad you asked about these notches. I was going to enquire and then forgot to mention it. I am curious as well.
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Old 18th February 2021, 05:25 PM   #10
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For me the notch on the internal face of the Ganja was made during forging to give its domed profile on each side, while starting from a thin piece of metal, in the but to save material.
After that do not say if it is the original Ganja or a replacement.
Originally it was rust welded to the blade, but after a vinegar bath to remove the rust it became free again.
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Old 18th February 2021, 06:58 PM   #11
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Kai, the removal of material from the underside of the gonjo is done to facilitate fitting.

The gonjo might have been replaced, it is not fitted at the moment and I'd need it in my hand before I could give a supportable opinion, but whether it was or was not replaced , it is a west Jawa gonjo, and in my opinion this is a west Jawa wilahan.

Just read Athanase's post.Sounds like an original gonjo.

But Athanase, this removal of material from the bottom of a gonjo is not the result of forging, it is stock removal for the reason I've given, and it is common. We cannot, in any case, forge minor details like this.
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Old 19th February 2021, 09:49 AM   #12
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What is the reason for the sloppy & blurred patras, religious reason or just poor craftsmanship?
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Old 21st February 2021, 05:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athanase
For me the notch on the internal face of the Ganja was made during forging to give its domed profile on each side, while starting from a thin piece of metal, in the but to save material.
After that do not say if it is the original Ganja or a replacement.
Originally it was rust welded to the blade, but after a vinegar bath to remove the rust it became free again.
I have some doubts about the originality of the ganja: the colour is different than that of the blade and the sirah cecak is not aligned with the blade.
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Old 21st February 2021, 05:52 PM   #14
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Hello Gio,

I did have the same feeling in my earlier posting #8...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2021, 06:01 PM   #15
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Hello Alan,

I hope your travel hasn't been too tedious?


Quote:
Kai, the removal of material from the underside of the gonjo is done to facilitate fitting.
I have to admit that I'm at a loss how this helps fitting the gonjo - could you please explain? (If anything, this might weaken the fit between gonjo and pesi, doesn't it?)


Quote:
The gonjo might have been replaced, it is not fitted at the moment and I'd need it in my hand before I could give a supportable opinion, but whether it was or was not replaced , it is a west Jawa gonjo, and in my opinion this is a west Jawa wilahan.

Just read Athanase's post.Sounds like an original gonjo.
Well, I have no qualms with it being old and possibly having been replaced in the originating culture.

However, the quality of craftsmanship does seem to be vastly different.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2021, 06:08 PM   #16
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Hello Jean,

Quote:
What is the reason for the sloppy & blurred patras, religious reason or just poor craftsmanship
Missing, highly stylized or "empty" patra seem to be an early development and examples are seen in a few of the extant early keris hilts.

In this case, I believe the hilt was not done by a specialized carver (maybe rather done by one of the former owners). The base of the hilt appears to have seen some wear or intentional thinning out (already a good while ago) - this may have contributed to the uneven lines teathering out towards the base.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st February 2021, 07:48 PM   #17
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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.

Why?

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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Old 21st February 2021, 08:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIO
I have some doubts about the originality of the ganja: the colour is different than that of the blade and the sirah cecak is not aligned with the blade.
I also noticed that the gulu meled of the ganja (the part behind the sirak cecak) looks to be wider than the pejetan.
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Old 21st February 2021, 08:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

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.
I bought this kriss on the internet a year and a half after having bought the kriss pictured below from the same seller (which I have already presented on the forum).
Unfortunately, I have no other information that they were both purchased in France from individuals who had them for a long time.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:08 AM   #20
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Thank you Athanase
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Old 23rd February 2021, 06:51 PM   #21
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Hello Alan,

Thanks for your explanation regarding the fitting of a gonjo!

Having had my share of training in filing a flat/even metal surface, this approach certainly makes sense.


Quote:
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.
I realize that material/color/laminations/surface texture need to be compared from the correct orientation and hopefully in similar surface condition as well as the need to take into account different stages of forging when (and if) the gonjo got removed from the bakalan.

I wasn't commenting on color/etc. in my earlier posts. Rather, I focused on what I described as vastly different craftsmanship. While the buntut urang (including the greneng) exhibits quite acceptable condition and style, the sirah cecak does not seem anything close to what I would expect to see considering the well sculpted gandik. As this is about the strongest part of the gonjo, I have a really hard time to imagine how this part could have been damaged without damaging the blade or other parts of the gonjo (short of crushing in a vice - again without damaging any other, much more fragile parts...).

Like already mentioned, an old replacement of apparently lesser craftsmanship seems to be a much more plausible explanation to me.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 23rd February 2021, 08:31 PM   #22
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Kai, my problem is this:- I cannot see nearly enough from an image on a computer screen to be able to know with a reasonable degree of certainty that this gonjo has been replaced or not, and in fact in this case it is not something that I regard as of much importance.

I think that we are probably looking at a very old blade here, it has been subject to the ravages of time and it has been cleaned, the gonjo is not mounted, the blade is out of stain, or at least not adequately stained.

I simply cannot see enough to give a solid supportable opinion. The best I can do is to look at the image on my screen and try to measure it against what I can remember from the last 70 odd years or so, and I'm sorry, but for me, there is simply not sufficient evidence available in these images to be too sure of a lot.

Perhaps you can gain sufficient information from a photograph & a screen image to be able to support your opinions, but I cannot.
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