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Old 25th August 2021, 07:01 PM   #1
Ganapati
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Default 6 kerises I just bought from an inherited collection

I am awaiting delivery. Can send more details pics once they arrive.
Most are reportedly from 1960s-1980s, the unhilted ones might be older.
Please give thoughts? Are they all recent madura mass produced replicas or truly well crafted? I didn't pay much per keris.
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Old 25th August 2021, 09:47 PM   #2
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You only posted two of them and the details of the photos are not that clear, but my initial feeling about both of these is that they are indeed modern era (kamardikan) keris.
The keris sajen is always a difficult one to judge age on as the form has not changed much over the centuries and the form is always somewhat rough so it is harder to use details and quality of forging as a guide. However, the depiction of the figure on the hilt is not just simplistic and would be expected, but a bit cartoonish.
I can't tell too much about the age of the other keris from these photos, but suspect it is a newer blade. It doesn't seem to be too badly executed, though the quality of the carving is difficult to see. And it does have a more complex and desirable pamor pattern. Usually a keris will be carved like this preparing it to receive kinatah (gold decoration), but i don't see any evidence any was ever applied. The Yogyakarta gayaman dress does seems to be older though and of a decent quality and it appears to be an older mendak. You will have to check the inside of the opening in the sheath to see if the dark wood shown on the outside of the sheath extends all the way through the to the inside. Often they will fake pelet wood by painting or dying the outside, but if it extends through it is real pelet and that is a desirable trait. The reprousse work on the pendok also looks fairly good.
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Old 25th August 2021, 10:02 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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The sajen is recent, but more likely to be Javanese than Sumenep.

The Jogja keris blade is recent, but it appears to be a pretty decent keris, definitely Sumenep, Madura. The dress is older. This combination of older dress with young blade is just as common as older blade with younger dress.

I have a feeling that at least the Jogja keris might have come from me.

The pelet markings of Timoho do not always penetrate the wood, in fact when a Timoho atasan is re-finished the m'ranggi needs to be careful not to polish out the dark patches. But with a kendit it is often the case that the dark belt will penetrate.
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Old 25th August 2021, 10:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
The pelet markings of Timoho do not always penetrate the wood, in fact when a Timoho atasan is re-finished the m'ranggi needs to be careful not to polish out the dark patches. But with a kendit it is often the case that the dark belt will penetrate.
Thanks for this additional info Alan. Though one can not be sure from photos, i suspect this one is true pelet. When i enlarge it on my screen it seem fairly sincere.
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Old 26th August 2021, 01:36 AM   #5
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It sometimes gets pretty difficult to tell the difference David.

There was one really very high quality, old, Balinese keris that I had --- "old", it had been in Australia for over 100 years --- that I decided to give a bit of a facelift to, and when I got to the polishing, and it was only very light, cosmetic polishing, more than half of the dark grained wood was found to be false.

This Jogja atasan looks like the real thing to me, but the bare facts are that even if it is not, it is old, and it was perfectly satisfactory to the person who originally had it made.

Sometimes the expectations and standards of collectors who are outside the originating society do not align with the standards and expectations of the people who live in that originating society.

One well known example of this is the expectation of Western World collectors that all stones used in keris ornamentation should be "natural" stones. In fact, as most experienced collectors know, it is the visual effect that is important, not whether the "stones" are natural or not.

I've got several extremely high quality Balinese keris hilts, even though the hilts might be made of silver, or silver gilt, or even 22k gold, some of the "stones" in all of those hilts, are pastes, ie glass.
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Old 26th August 2021, 01:56 AM   #6
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Old 27th August 2021, 02:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Usually a keris will be carved like this preparing it to receive kinatah (gold decoration), but i don't see any evidence any was ever applied.
Hi David,

Do you know why a keris is carved like this but then no kinatah was applied?

Thank you.
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Old 27th August 2021, 03:08 AM   #8
A. G. Maisey
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David, I can possibly respond to this question a little more fully than you might be able to.


When a keris is made and prepared for kinatah work it is then up to the retail seller to put gold onto it, or to leave it up to the retail buyer to put gold onto it.

The craftsman who applies kinatah is totally separate from the craftsman who makes the blade.

Kinatah work comes in various qualities and at differing prices, and no matter if you choose to have the lowest quality work from the cheapest, most barely competent craftsman, it will always be extremely expensive.

It is difficult to find any craftsman at all now who can execute competent kinatah work.

Then there are the people who prefer to be able to see the excellence or otherwise of the metal carving.
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Old 27th August 2021, 03:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
David, I can possibly respond to this question a little more fully than you might be able to.


When a keris is made and prepared for kinatah work it is then up to the retail seller to put gold onto it, or to leave it up to the retail buyer to put gold onto it.

The craftsman who applies kinatah is totally separate from the craftsman who makes the blade.

Kinatah work comes in various qualities and at differing prices, and no matter if you choose to have the lowest quality work from the cheapest, most barely competent craftsman, it will always be extremely expensive.

It is difficult to find any craftsman at all now who can execute competent kinatah work.

Then there are the people who prefer to be able to see the excellence or otherwise of the metal carving.
Thank you for your explanation Alan.

I have another question in regards to craftsmen who applies kinatah.

Are they specialize only in applying kinatah or they do other works like the craftsmen who do sunggingan normally also do wayang?

Thank you.
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Old 27th August 2021, 03:53 AM   #10
A. G. Maisey
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I think it varies.

There used to be one very old gentleman in Solo who only did kinatah, not just on keris of course, but on other items as well. His work was the best of the best.

I really do not have any idea at all who might do it now, nor what method they might use. I suspect that they would perhaps provide some services to the jewellery trade

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That additional keris you posted a pic of is recent Sumenep too, all recent, recent dress, recent blade. I probably supplied this one too. I think I know the collection these keris came from. The gentleman who had it passed away some years ago. It was a pretty big collection, I did not supply most of the Philippine items, in fact I might not have supplied any, but I most probably did supply all, or at the very least, most of the keris.
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