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Old 28th May 2023, 10:03 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Central Javanese keris for comment

Hello dear members,

Having given the minimum bid to this keris by a German auction, I've got the information that I am the winner. I have my own idea about it but want to read your comments about it, so please feel free to write what you think about it.

It should be 51 cm long stated the auction house, I don't know if with scabbard or without. Attached are the auction pictures.
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Old 28th May 2023, 11:33 PM   #2
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This is an older keris in good condition, it needs a serious appraisal.

Serious appraisals from photos are not something that I'm much good at, but I'll give it a shot.

The blade age is probably early 20th century, late 19th century.

It has been made in Central Jawa, but does not have indicators that suggest high level workmanship, the workmanship is heavy and lacks refinement, the rondha are neither Surakarta or Ngayogyakarta, the forge work appears to be better than adequate.

Based upon what I believe I can see in the photos, the work appears to be second or third level down from the quality expected from a kraton based mpu, the heavy ada-ada tends toward what we might think of as Kajoran, or at least something from the Klaten area, but it is not old enough for Koripan nor for Kajoran, and it lacks the features we expect in Kajoran.

Godean is not able to be considered because of the lack of high curvature in the gonjo and absence of other Mataram-like indicators. It is not Matesih.

The tikel alis puts it firmly into a more recent period of time.

I would very much like to see the top of the gonjo, no hilt, photo taken straight down onto the tip of the pesi.

At the moment I think I would need to place its geographic point of origin as simply "Jawa Tengah".

The wrongko appears to be terusan, ie, carved as a single entity, atasan & gandar from the same material & without a joint. I cannot comment on quality from these photos, maybe not from any photos.

The hilt appears to be adequate, but again it is impossible to comment on quality from photos.

In my opinion, this is a very nice addition to any serious collection.
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Old 29th May 2023, 03:26 PM   #3
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Thank you Alan,

Your appraisal is very welcome! I'll post a picture from top of the gonjo soon as I have received the keris.
I have the hope that I need only to reverse the pendok, add a mendak and give the blade a new stain to let it look nice again.
Thank you again and best regards,
Detlef
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Old 29th May 2023, 06:36 PM   #4
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Detlef,

I would definitely keep the old stain.
A good Keris.
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Old 29th May 2023, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
I would definitely keep the old stain.
A good Keris.
Thank you Gustav,

I thought about it because the blade is in very good condition.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 29th May 2023, 10:43 PM   #6
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In respect of the blade stain.

From the Javanese perspective this blade needs to be cleaned & stained. This keris is a cultural icon of the Javanese people, and they do own their own culture.

However, from the point of view of many collectors outside of Javanese culture & society, the preferable approach can be to attempt to freeze virtually any collected item in time.

My own approach is that if an existing old stain is sufficient to permit the blade to be read, then it might be best to try to preserve the old stain if possible.

I begin this process by washing the blade under warm running water and giving it a thorough clean with dishwash detergent & a toothbrush, then dry thoroughly including the use of heat --- sunshine, heat gun, low oven --- and spray with WD40 a few times over a few days. This is what I would be doing with this keris, it could well be found to be sufficient.
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Old 29th May 2023, 11:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
Detlef,

I would definitely keep the old stain.
A good Keris.
I am in agreement with both Gustav and Alan on this. I believe that if you clean and oil the blade as Alan suggests that you will find that the existing stain will look much better than it does in these dealer photos.
I like this keris. It displays good character IMHO.
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Old 30th May 2023, 10:45 PM   #8
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Thank you gentlemen,

When I have received the keris I'll clean the blade like Alan suggested and will post a picture of the result.
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Old 30th May 2023, 11:17 PM   #9
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Detlef, when you get to the final dry, if you are forced to use an oven it might be best to support the blade at the pesi & the tip on oven proof glass, something like a couple of small Pyrex dishes or similar, if you put it onto the bars of an oven shelf they can leave a mark, and the oven very low.

Hair dryers are good too.
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Old 31st May 2023, 06:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Detlef, when you get to the final dry, if you are forced to use an oven it might be best to support the blade at the pesi & the tip on oven proof glass, something like a couple of small Pyrex dishes or similar, if you put it onto the bars of an oven shelf they can leave a mark, and the oven very low.

Hair dryers are good too.
Thank you Alan,
I use normally a hair dryer for something like this.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th June 2023, 09:47 PM   #11
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Received it, here some first pictures, fast taken with my handphone. Added a mendak.
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Old 6th June 2023, 11:38 PM   #12
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Congrats, Detlef, I do like this blade - dhapur as well as pamor!

Also the scabbard looks much better with reversed pendok; neat choice of timber and nice survivor despite the chipping. I guess this can be patched.

Could this blade possibly represent a Madurese take on another keris style?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 7th June 2023, 12:11 AM   #13
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No Kai, definitely not Madurese.

In my earlier post I suggested Central Jawa, probably somewhere around Klaten , I've looked at the top pic of the gonjo, this gonjo complies with Mataram form, and that supports my earlier suggestion.

I do not want to revise my initial ideas, it is a very nice keris, not top drawer, but very few keris are.

There is one indicator that places the complete keris into a lower level of quality:- the grain in the quite nicely sculpted wrongko has been incorrectly orientated, it should flow downwards towards the front of the wrongko. This deficiency tells us that it has been made by a lowly ranked tukang wrongko, somebody who really did not know the correct conventions. Or perhaps the material used for the wrongko was unable to support correct orientation, but it was used anyway, & this tells us that the original value of the blade was insufficient to encourage the time & cost of obtaining a better piece of material.
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Old 7th June 2023, 02:40 PM   #14
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Thanks, Alan!
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Old 7th June 2023, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
In my earlier post I suggested Central Jawa, probably somewhere around Klaten , I've looked at the top pic of the gonjo, this gonjo complies with Mataram form, and that supports my earlier suggestion.

I do not want to revise my initial ideas, it is a very nice keris, not top drawer, but very few keris are.

There is one indicator that places the complete keris into a lower level of quality:- the grain in the quite nicely sculpted wrongko has been incorrectly orientated, it should flow downwards towards the front of the wrongko. This deficiency tells us that it has been made by a lowly ranked tukang wrongko, somebody who really did not know the correct conventions. Or perhaps the material used for the wrongko was unable to support correct orientation, but it was used anyway, & this tells us that the original value of the blade was insufficient to encourage the time & cost of obtaining a better piece of material.
Thank you Alan for further comments!
May I ask you why the orientation of the wood grain has to look to the other side? Is it possible to give the blade a dhapur? Pamor?
I've cleaned the blade, and at the moment it's drying from WD40. I will post pictures soon.
Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th June 2023, 12:43 AM   #16
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The grain orientation is convention:- ideally the grain should slant down to the front of the atasan, but sometimes the material itself prevents this.

If we use the philosophical interpretation of "why?", it is because a forward slant indicates progression & a positive feeling, a slant towards the back generates a negative feeling.

If we use the Surakarta pakem, dhapur is Jalak Ngore.

I'd prefer to leave pamor comment out of it, there are too many ways to go.
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Old 8th June 2023, 03:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
The grain orientation is convention:- ideally the grain should slant down to the front of the atasan, but sometimes the material itself prevents this.

If we use the philosophical interpretation of "why?", it is because a forward slant indicates progression & a positive feeling, a slant towards the back generates a negative feeling.

If we use the Surakarta pakem, dhapur is Jalak Ngore.

I'd prefer to leave pamor comment out of it, there are too many ways to go.
Alan,

I am asking what you want to keep out of.

I find pamor and the esoteric "value" of keris some of the most fascinating things, and as noted, and my Java Keris knowledge is little more than superficial.

What fascinates me about Detlef's blade is the area central to the base of the blade that covers the pesi and the ring of pamor surrounding it, along with the wave of pattern almost gripping it, it really is remarkable.

Can anything be learnt or understand by this aspect, for the layman like me out here... I am always interested to know more, that is the Beggar's Bowl for which the mind is, always wanting to be filled with more...

With thanks

Gav
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Old 8th June 2023, 04:41 AM   #18
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I do not want to give an opinion on the pamor classification because the photos at the moment are not good enough, complete enough nor clear enough. If Detlef can produce a bit better pics when he has cleaned the blade up a bit I might float an opinion, I might not.

At the moment the pamor looks to me like a coarse wos wutah that has been cleared from the relieved areas of the blade, together with a number of swirls (puser) that have been inlet into holes drilled in the blade, the puser pamor patches running down the blade might be able to named as a Banyu Tetes variation.

It is nothing special, pretty simple and not hard to produce, but I think it might be pretty effective. I need better pics.

A lot of the esoteric stuff is either manufactured or misunderstood, I prefer to limit comment & discussion on that aspect to face to face discussion with people who have an adequate background.

Gavin, to "learn" the keris you need to study & preferably experience the society & culture, nobody can learn much by just trying to study the keris in isolation.
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Old 8th June 2023, 04:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post

A lot of the esoteric stuff is either manufactured or misunderstood, I prefer to limit comment & discussion on that aspect to face to face discussion with people who have an adequate background.

Gavin, to "learn" the keris you need to study & preferably experience the society & culture, nobody can learn much by just trying to study the keris in isolation.
Thank you Alan, I appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 8th June 2023, 04:45 PM   #20
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Here are some pics from the handle. In my opinion not bad but not the best carving quality I've seen so far. And the fit from the blade inside the scabbard.
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Old 8th June 2023, 04:48 PM   #21
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Blade!
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Old 8th June 2023, 04:52 PM   #22
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Other pictures after completing and giving it care.
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Old 10th June 2023, 05:31 AM   #23
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That Mendak is very beautiful too Detlef.
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Old 10th June 2023, 09:27 AM   #24
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That Mendak is very beautiful too Detlef.
Thank you Gav, it coming from my fund.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 10th June 2023, 09:36 AM   #25
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That has come up pretty good Detlef, its nice.

Did you do anything additional to what I suggested?

I don't think I want to add anything to what I've already said, cannot give a legitimate name to the pamor, I think maybe "Banyu Tetes variation" is about as good as I can do.

You're right, the jejeran is not good, this keris could do with something better.

Maybe refit the pendok too, it is not a good fit.
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Old 11th June 2023, 09:45 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
That has come up pretty good Detlef, its nice.

Did you do anything additional to what I suggested?
Thank you Alan. And no, not really but I brushed it with WD40.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
I don't think I want to add anything to what I've already said, cannot give a legitimate name to the pamor, I think maybe "Banyu Tetes variation" is about as good as I can do.
Thank you again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
You're right, the jejeran is not good, this keris could do with something better.
You mean the one in the last pictures, I guess. Which sort of jejeran would fit better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Maybe refit the pendok too, it is not a good fit.
I guess that you speak about the gap in down? I've noticed that as well and will work on the pendok to let it fit better.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th June 2023, 10:01 AM   #27
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Yeah, brushing in the WD40 doesn't do any harm, I usually just drench the blade a few times and let dry out, then brush on some fragrant oil, for this I've been using the same stuff for more than 50 years, it is +/- 50% medicinal paraffin (or baby oil), 45% synthetic sandalwood, 5% kenongo. I've tried natural sandalwood but was not very pleased with the results. Percentages are not critical.

Nothing wrong with the style of the jejeran, another planar hilt just like this would do fine, but the quality of this hilt looks to be very poor, I'd be trying to get something of far better quality.

The pendok:- yes, the poor fit both top & bottom, its fiddly exercise to get this fit right, it takes repeated fitting & refitting.
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Old 11th June 2023, 11:28 PM   #28
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Your new photos have only reinforced my liking of this keris. While it is good to point out the shortcomings of any particular keris, for me in the end it all comes down to "personality". This is certainly a keris worth having IMHO.
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Old 12th June 2023, 07:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Your new photos have only reinforced my liking of this keris. While it is good to point out the shortcomings of any particular keris, for me in the end it all comes down to "personality". This is certainly a keris worth having IMHO.
Thank you David! Will post in a while pictures with an other jereran and with the better fitted pendok.

Regards,
Detlef
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