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Old 20th January 2017, 07:42 PM   #1
mariusgmioc
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Default Balinese Keris for comments

Hello,
I just received the Keris in the attached photos. Any comments are welcomed as I would like to learn as much as possible about this Keris.
Any idea who is the hilt representing?
What about the Pamor?
Regards,
Marius
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Old 21st January 2017, 12:07 AM   #2
Battara
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Very nice example.

The hilt looks ivory and in the form of a Balinese priest.
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Old 21st January 2017, 04:12 AM   #3
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Very nice hilt indeed !!
It seems to be elephant ivory; closer pictures would help to identify Schreger lines.
Maybe not so old, vintage I guess (less than 70 years old), but nicely done with a strong and vivid face expression, finely carved details. Beautiful hilt !!
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Old 21st January 2017, 04:17 AM   #4
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Sorry, rectification : looking closer and magnifying the pictures, I think that the hilt is older than I wrote previously : could be 100 to 180 years old, if it is elephant ivory.
Let me insist that it is a high quality carving hilt !
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Old 21st January 2017, 04:53 AM   #5
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I know nothing of keris but that is a lovely and artistic piece.
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Old 21st January 2017, 08:48 AM   #6
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This kris was recently sold at an Italian auction house, a very artistic and contemporary piece in my opinion. The hilt is not in traditional balinese style, the blade includes a carved kalarau motif on the gandik and looks well made.
Regards

Last edited by Jean; 21st January 2017 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 21st January 2017, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
This kris was recently sold at an Italian auction house, a very artistic and contemporary piece in my opinion.
Regards
Contemporary? I believe ivory items dated post 1947 are illegal to sell in Italy so presumably this hilt is dated prior to that if it is indeed elephant ivory.
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Old 21st January 2017, 06:09 PM   #8
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Thank you for your comments!

The hilt is definitely old ivory an judging by the patination and cracks, I would say around 100 years old.

Any comments about the Pamor?
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Old 21st January 2017, 09:20 PM   #9
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very nice pics !!!
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Old 22nd January 2017, 08:57 AM   #10
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Well, while this keris has been photographed in a beautiful manner these images don't actual make for a very good assessment. But then photographs often don't.
This is a lovely artistic piece. I i'm not convinced we are looking at antique ivory though i could not say if it dates pre-1947 or not.
The blade raises some questions for me. The greneng and ron dha look rather odd for an old Bali keris. The work at the gandik could have been added later to this keris. Hard to tell without a good close-up. The groves cut into the front of the gonjo look rather sloppy compared to the garap of the rest of this blade.
The sunggingan is very nicely done, but seems in unusual condition if it were to be very old, though it is always possible that it is just very well preserved.
A very attractive keris regardless.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 11:48 AM   #11
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Thank you very much for the comments!

Today I unmounted the Keris and started cleaning and examining it. I also took additional, hopefully more revealing photos (the previous ones were from the seller).

The blade appears quite new and shiny and I would appreciate any comments regarding the Pamor or the fierce looking figure.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 11:56 AM   #12
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The ivory hilt appears to be older than the blade and on the left side bears traces that it was exposed to open flame (perhaps a former owner wanted to test if it is ivory).

The figure, appears to be Buddha or a Buddhist priest... in my novice's oppinion (the rather typical mudra position of the right hand, the protruding belly, the extended - with earrings - ear lobes, and the smiling face, are in my oppinion all pointing to Buddhism).

Any oppinions regarding my theory are welcomed!
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Last edited by mariusgmioc; 22nd January 2017 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 12:00 PM   #13
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The base of the hilt appears to be a low content gold alloy (Souasa ?) but I am by no means very knowledgeable and it can be very well be some kind of brass.

The inside is partly filled with some kind of resin.

I cannot identify one of the stones, but all the others appear to be Agates.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 05:39 PM   #14
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Stones with colour stripes are agate without any question, such as the ones on the penultimate picture (5th image).
The other stones, without stripes, might be agate as well or quartz.
Unfortunately, no real "precious" stones such as ruby, just decorative stones.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 07:53 PM   #15
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The use of stones, pastes or glass in a Balinese hilt is not merely for decorative purposes. The type and/or colour of the stones carries talismanic intent, and it is this talismanic intent that is more important in the Balinese scale of values than the value of the actual stones.

I have yet to see gem quality stones used in a Balinese hilt, and I have seen and handled some of the best in existence. It is not at all uncommon for a gold hilt with an intrinsic value of tens of thousands of dollars to have a mix of precious stones, semi-precious stones, and glass or pastes.

Where a hilt/uwer/selut has stones/pastes/glass of the talismanically related types or colours we can be relatively certain that it has been made for Balinese use.

Where it does not have stones/pastes/glass that carry a talismanic value we can be relatively certain that the hilt was not intended for Balinese use, or in the case of an older hilt, that the original stones/pastes/glass have been replaced.

Even if every stone in this hilt under discussion was found to be diamond or ruby, the intrinsic value of those stones would be very small, as the stones that are invariably used, even in royal hilts of the highest quality are never of gem quality.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 01:23 AM   #16
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The selut looks to be gilded silver (unless there are lighting issues).
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Old 23rd January 2017, 07:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
The selut looks to be gilded silver (unless there are lighting issues).
Just the white glare. The selut is fully golden, even if scratched, so I assume it is either low gold alloy or brass.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 08:48 AM   #18
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Old 23rd January 2017, 09:00 AM   #19
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Few additional comments for discussion:
As said earlier the figure carved on the gandik is called Kalarau and it seems to have been introduced recently (refer to the book from Neka) but I am not sure. From the pics I can't see if it is integral to the blade or welded separately.
The pamor pattern is not complete but it looks like the Javanese pamor Pandan Iris (sliced pandanus leaves).
The figure depicted on the hilt seems in Chinese style and the base is very short.
Other opinions will be welcome.
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Old 23rd January 2017, 09:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGuy
Contemporary? I believe ivory items dated post 1947 are illegal to sell in Italy so presumably this hilt is dated prior to that if it is indeed elephant ivory.
When I say "contemporary" I do not mean brand new since this piece was in an Italian collection for some time but it may be about 30 years old. And it would not be difficult for the auction house to convince the Italian Customs authorities that this hilt dates from pre-1947 since it has some patina.
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