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Old 15th June 2017, 07:33 AM   #1
Gavin Nugent
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Default An unusual blade

Here is an unusual blade that I'd expect to be Sumatran.

There are differing opinions as to where this was made.
Henri was kind enough to produce one from his own collection reputed to be Bugis Salayer. Other thoughts range from Minangkabau to Pagar Alam.

Its clearly Bugis, but so far from the norm with the central features placed in this specific manner, that I am at a loss at to how to attribute it.
The broad bevelled edges are typical of the bugis "penghulu" keris types which are typically central Sumatra to my eye, but the absence of a clear hexagonal cross section and the introduction of the faceted central section leaves me asking, where from?

Gavin
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Old 15th June 2017, 09:36 AM   #2
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The blade has apparently no pamor pattern(?) and it does not clearly look Bugis to me (but Bugis influenced). I never saw a similar blade identified as Sumatran but who knows?
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Old 15th June 2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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hmmm...i would have placed it on the Peninsula.
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Old 15th June 2017, 01:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
The blade has apparently no pamor pattern(?) and it does not clearly look Bugis to me (but Bugis influenced). I never saw a similar blade identified as Sumatran but who knows?
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Hi Jean,

Have you ever seen a similar blade with these features?

I have not treated the blade in any way buy there could be something subtle in the blade when I give consideration to its typical layered gonjo.
Under a bright light there holds some potential throughout the blades surfaces, but nothing in the traditional pamor sense, but certainly a clear differential heat treatment that I cannot capture with the camera...

With regards to pamor and this blade; the single open line running the length of one face only (the image presented) can be considered a pamor. With reference to Newbold's work and other keris I have seen and own, this occurrence could be considered as pamor tiga alif, an occurrence which I doubt is random as I do not believe random was ever the desire in any keris forging.

I've another very large old sepakol blade with a rather mono-steel looking blade but three perfectly spaced and placed openings in one face only, (the same face as this keris I present above) and in the same open manner, albiet more precise in the other keris...it is Alif pamor.

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Old 15th June 2017, 05:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
hmmm...i would have placed it on the Peninsula.
Me too in absence of any similar reference from Indonesia... It would help to see the hilt & scabbard if they are original or at least old of course.
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Old 15th June 2017, 10:40 PM   #6
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Gavin, does the "differential heat treatment" produce dark edges and a lighter coloured blade centre, or a dark front section of the blade, with a lighter coloured base?
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Old 16th June 2017, 03:03 AM   #7
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After looking at it off and on today, I get a peninsular feel from it also.
I'm not sure myself when what seems to be a forging flaw (if my eyes don't deceive me) becomes pamor.
If that's the original patina you've got to wonder if a stain would be out of place.
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Old 16th June 2017, 03:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Gavin, does the "differential heat treatment" produce dark edges and a lighter coloured blade centre, or a dark front section of the blade, with a lighter coloured base?
Hi Alan,

It is the later, dark front section, lighter base.

Gavin
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Old 16th June 2017, 03:53 AM   #9
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To me, the non-contrasting pamor and fullered blade would indicate a peninsular origin. To hedge one's bets, one could easily add "Bugis-influenced" to that statement.
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:03 AM   #10
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Thanks Gavin.

Yeah, that is the normal thing we see, it is just due to where the immersion into the quench stopped, front hard, back soft.

I asked the question, because sometimes the edges of the blade will show dark and the central area greyish, which indicates pamor of some sort or another , usually just pamor sanak.
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:24 AM   #11
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David, Rick,

My initial thoughts when it arrived were north east coast peninsular, but I soon forgot the features of the Gandik and was lost in the broad bevelled edges and followed another path and have been lost in Sumatra.
Given the almost mono-steel appearance and the nature of the heat treatment, these points are typical of Patani through to Terengganu.

As you suspect, it is likely better placed in Malaysia.

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Old 16th June 2017, 04:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laowang
To me, the non-contrasting pamor and fullered blade would indicate a peninsular origin. To hedge one's bets, one could easily add "Bugis-influenced" to that statement.
Thank you for coming in Laowang. Perhaps Bugis Patani?

Gavin
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:38 AM   #13
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Cool Mono

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent
David, Rick,

My initial thoughts when it arrived were north east coast peninsular, but I soon forgot the features of the Gandik and was lost in the broad bevelled edges and followed another path and have been lost in Sumatra.
Given the almost mono-steel appearance and the nature of the heat treatment, these points are typical of Patani through to Terengganu.

As you suspect, it is likely better placed in Malaysia.

Gavin
From other places too.
Iirc this was collected in Makassar, 1920's.
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Old 16th June 2017, 05:35 AM   #14
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Apart from the unusual arrangement of the "fullers", and using Adni's reference as an ID guide, the Ron Da Nunut is also very unusual to my eye...specifically that nothing protrudes beyond the edge of the blade but it is "within".

Here is Henri's keris;
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...t=inlaid+keris

I have seen another 9 luk version of the type too.

Gavin

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Old 8th November 2023, 12:08 PM   #15
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Mystery solved some years ago, Jambi is the origins.

A couple of others crept into the collection since 2017 too.

Those either side carry Alif pamor.
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Old 8th November 2023, 07:44 PM   #16
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Gavin, would a close-up of the "alif" pamor be possible?
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Old 14th November 2023, 08:46 PM   #17
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Hey Gavin. I guess you missed Alan's request. I would like to see that close-up as well because i cannot really see ANY pamor on any of these blades. Thanks!
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Old 17th November 2023, 05:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Hey Gavin. I guess you missed Alan's request. I would like to see that close-up as well because i cannot really see ANY pamor on any of these blades. Thanks!
Hello, David, Alan,

Apologies, I thought you may have seen the first image in the post and read on. (inserting broken shrug emoji.(when will the emoji be fixed?)).

The feature is Anak Sungai, not Alif. All is solved on both fronts.

I have below an Alif image from another Malay blade here though, it is part of a blade with triple Alif.
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Old 17th November 2023, 12:17 PM   #19
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Thank you very much Gavin, I do appreciate you providing both your text and the image, however, I am mystified.

Perhaps you might be able to give us a little bit of the back story on how, where or who you sourced this information from?

I am familiar with the alif, & also the problems surrounding that letter ( & other letters).

In the context of bladed weaponry, the word pamor indicates metal that has been mixed, your image in post 18 is a mark, it is not pamor. What I believe I can see in your post 18 image is an incision, it might be a flaw, it might be something else, but it is not any sort of pamor motif. The line in the center of the first blade you posted is a cold shut, a flaw, it is not pamor.

Where pamor alif --- or more correctly in BI & Malay, "alip" --- does occur, it has the form of one of the ways in which the letter alif can be written, and it is normally an inclusion in a more dominant pamor, usually an intended inclusion, but it can occur accidentally.The main thing is, it is a part of the more dominant pamor from which it emerges. Sometimes a bad flaw will be filled with a strip of pamor & the seller will name it as "pamor alip" , I suppose that's OK if he can convince the buyer that it was all intentional.

The welding flaw that is usually described as "anak sungai" in some Malay keris usually occurs in blades with pamor miring where the construction of the pamor requires a weld that joins two bars of manipulated material, when this welded joint fails and a cold shut results in the finished work, that cold shut gets named as "anak sungai". An "anak sungai" can occur in any blade where the material has been folded and welded, but wherever it does occur it is just a polite name for a cold shut in the welding work.

The term "anak sungai" means a small tributary of a larger stream, and that cold shut running down the middle of the blade looks just like a little wandering creek or brook.

In your photos I can see what could be referred to as an anak sungai in the first blade, but since this blade has no pamor, we cannot call it "pamor anak sungai". In the other blades I also cannot see any pamor, nor can I see any marks that resemble either an alip or an anak sungai.

In respect of the use of the English word "random" in reference to a pamor motif. When we consider a blade to have a "random" pamor motif, it is a pamor that has been made by repeated folding & welding but without any manipulation, ie, a pure mlumah pamor, wos (beras) wutah or ngulit semangko. In Javanese we call this random pattern a "tiban" pamor motif; the word "tiban" means something that has come down or fallen, in the case of a tiban pamor motif, that pamor motif has come down from above, ie from the hand of God, it is not an intended pamor motif created by the maker.
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Old 19th November 2023, 11:28 AM   #20
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Hi Alan,

Thank you, I can very much appreciate where you are coming from, and understand exactly what it is you are saying. Pamor is the incorrect term.
I had moved on from the term pamor and called it a feature though.

I rely heavily on learned Malaysian friends and others for some of the finer points on Malay Keris lore, often bouncing thoughts, ideas and quandaries off them whilst I flesh through the myriad of complexities, refer to books, institute collections and elsewhere to gather and or confirm data found and discuss. Often detail is lost in translation and my more my interpretation.
I have been assured though, the feature itself though is Alif and culturally considered Alif.

As a side note, TBH, until last week I had NO idea that the form of the Saras Jarum sepucuk was in the design, representant of lam and Alif. Not pamor I know, but representative of the characters, much like my thoughts on this Java blade's features being that of Arjuna Sasrabahu, the thread however died a natural death as I don't think such design elements are touched upon often enough to be explored to their full potential. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=28924

On the snippet shared, which I've called the Alif feature, the blade perhaps needs to be viewed under glass in hand.
I believe it is mechanically planned to open at the three Alif points. Whilst the thicker base and mid sections have what could be considered a post forging additions, there is too much variance in width and depth on close examination, and the Alif to the tip has variance in angles like a subtle 5 luk blade.
The blade is a blend of differential steels, and, not true pamor in the purest sense, more like the bark off an old ironbark in a two dimensional sense. A wootz without the finesse... I liken it to a blend of Besi bari lubang jarum, retak arong, and retak kaki lipan when looking at all features.
It has clear contrasting sections of very tiny proportions running the entire length, and I do see within the sections, being the base, middle and tip that carry the Alif feature or motif, a horizontal and vertical layering of differential overlapping metals, like scales if I had to describe it, whilst the sections between are all vertically running differential metals mostly.

Does this suggest the mechanical layering was by design intended to open in these particular three places during the manufacture process?

On the original blade discussed, the "little wandering brook" seems very purposeful in that it opens a on the medial ridge, a fraction above inner triangle, through to just short of the blades tip. The reverse as noted has nil such features.
The blade design leads me to ask, does the blade itself with the triple "v"s represent an inverted "V", Gunungan, or "8" in Arabic?
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Old 20th November 2023, 08:25 PM   #21
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Thank you Gavin, I believe I now understand much that previously was not clear to me.

Malaysian sources?

We are using very different understandings & value systems, when this happens it is a bit like a Frenchman, thinking & speaking in French, conversing about Turkey with somebody from Hong Kong who is thinking & speaking in Cantonese.

I probably have nothing of value to contribute further.
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Old 21st November 2023, 12:20 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Thank you Gavin, I believe I now understand much that previously was not clear to me.

Malaysian sources?

We are using very different understandings & value systems, when this happens it is a bit like a Frenchman, thinking & speaking in French, conversing about Turkey with somebody from Hong Kong who is thinking & speaking in Cantonese.

I probably have nothing of value to contribute further.
Thank you Alan,

That is the quandary right there isn't it... the home of Keris and Pamor lore structure in Java, that spread literally everywhere Keris are found and despite this influence, under various modern sub borders, regionally each take on their own cultural aspects diluted from the source, and remain sovereign ... what you describe is, in addition to foundational Java structure, the very overlays of makers origins and place of manufacture, time, migration or isolation, other cultural interactions and influences and with some though, likely many other sub factors.

Any thoughts to add to the Java Keris linked within?
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Old 21st November 2023, 01:47 AM   #23
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Yes Gavin, there are a few problems floating around. One major difficulty is that when keris were given as binding instruments to people outside Jawa, those recipients were never given the cultural insight to permit them to understand exactly what it was they were receiving. They got the keris, they did not get the socio-cultural interpretation. So they invented their own. This is a major reason why many Javanese ahli keris will not accept Malay & many other keris as authentic, they are simply "keris-like objects".

In which post is the link to a Jawa keris? I could not find it.
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Old 21st November 2023, 03:18 AM   #24
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Thanks Alan.

It was this link.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=28924
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Old 21st November 2023, 11:00 AM   #25
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I went back through this thread, still cannot find that link. Where is buried? What post number?

Anyway, thoughts on the keris in the link?

Jawa, moderately competent garap, stylistically late Mataram, no dada, no geger, pamor control sloppy, the maker over-reached himself, I think he was trying for one of the ronduru variations, but he failed, gonjo is a replacement made by a different hand.

It is a journeyman blade, commercially acceptable, definitely not made as a pusaka, I cannot with certainty say exactly where it might have originated but it displays some of the inadequacies we are used to seeing in keris from Sleman. Probably second half, 19th century. Certainly no masterpiece, but it would sit nicely in a reference collection.
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Old 21st November 2023, 12:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
I went back through this thread, still cannot find that link. Where is buried? What post number?

Anyway, thoughts on the keris in the link?
#20 Alan.
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Old 21st November 2023, 06:46 PM   #27
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Thank you Gavin.
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