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Old 2nd May 2013, 12:07 PM   #31
Tatyana Dianova
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 646

Good news: the book KERIS INDONESIA, Estetika dan Makna Filosofi /
INDONESIAN KERIS: Aesthetic and Philosophical Meaning is both in English and Indonesian. Some western dealers have it already for sale.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 02:53 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,259

Yuuzan, perhaps the hardest thing with any research is to ask the right question.

Answers to a question are not difficult to formulate, it is possible to take a smidgen of fact and spin that into a web of misinformation and error. However, if the question is carefully constructed then the answer must follow the parameters of the question and under these circumstances error and misinformation is rarely possible.

Thus, when we have a very great number of references then we need a very carefully constructed question, or set of questions in order to extract the relevant information from those references. The references are only part of the equation, the other parts are the questions and the answers, so if we wish to make use of references we must first decide the questions that we want answered and then address the references in order to find an answer to the questions.

Yes, Invincible Krises 2 has a lot of references, but what question do you want to answer?

First formulate the question before you go looking for an answer.

Chinese influences did penetrate Jawa, and other parts of Maritime SE Asia, and it is easy to find many Chinese motifs in the art of Jawa, especially in North Coast art, but I do not know if the symbolism of those Chinese motifs in a Javanese context is the same, or similar to the symbolism in a Chinese context. In fact, I have yet to meet anybody in Jawa who can provide supportable interpretations of most motifs, even the indigenous Javanese ones. The craftsmen simply copy what went before, the dealers simply sell, and the buyers simply collect or wear. Probably some academics may know, but in Jawa I never associate with academics --- well, at least not ones who practice in the field of Javanese art. I myself have not yet had the time to examine the relevant historical periods in order to analyse available data relevant to Chinese influences. In fact, I probably never will engage in this exercise as this field of enquiry does not very much interest me.

In respect of symbolism associated with the keris, the keris itself is a symbol, and has been seen as one probably from not long after the blade form that gave birth to the keris first appeared in Jawa. Within the keris, and by the keris I mean only the blade, there is a lexicon of symbols that can be interpreted in different ways depending upon the period in which the interpretation takes place.

That which is interpreted in one way now in 2013, was not necessarily interpreted in the same way 600 years ago. Similarly, interpretations of the iconography found in the keris are not universal, one group of people in a society can interpret in one way, others can interpret in a different way.

This can depend upon social conditions and upon the concept of "need to know". To illustrate this concept:- keris symbolism would have been interpreted in one way by the K'satriya and the Brahmins of the Majapahit court, but the Muslim traders in the enclaves along the north coast of Jawa, who were known to ape the style of the court, had no idea at all of the way in which the symbols of the keris were to be understood, as they were not a part of the relevant segment of society.

The keris began its existence as an indigenous object which developed under Hindu influences, but with the coming of Islam as the dominant political system in Jawa the interpretations that applied under the Hindu-Buddhist court rule of Majapahit underwent revision, probably unintentional, and caused by ignorance as well as the change in societal structure. Although I have said "unintentional" the opposite could be equally true, and caused by religious, political and social necessity.

In any case, if we wish to understand the symbolism of the keris, it is first necessary to identify the period in which that understanding is to apply, and the mindset that will be used to conduct the analysis of the perceived symbols in order to gain a possible understanding of the way in which they can be interpreted.

To begin such an analysis the first necessity is to gain a thorough knowledge of the period of history that will be examined. That is the start. You extend your enquiry from that point and then you do a lot of active thinking.

Eventually you may come up with some possible answers.

Yuuzan, it pleases me to see this type of matter raised here in discussion, if you do have an interest in pursuing enquiry along these lines I strongly suggest that you first ask the question of what you need to know in order to formulate the correct questions that will provide the answers you seek. This is not a casual exercise and I can guarantee you that it will keep you fully occupied for a number of years.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 06:08 PM   #33
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Posts: 6,662

Originally Posted by David
I am afraid that Patrick never returned an answer to my first two questions to him.
1. Have you read the book then?
2. What makes it a "very good book" for you?
So i guess we can extend those questions to others. However, if no one here has read these books then we have very little to move forward with.
I see Patrick still has not returned to this post to respond to my questions.
So, let's get down to what this thread is really all about. We still don't know if Patrick has read this book or not or what makes a "very good book" on keris for him, but here is what i do know.
1. Patrick is a long time keris dealer who regularly sells on eBay (nothing wrong with that).
2. Patrick is now selling this book on eBay.
3. Patrick's only other post since becoming a member last November was to praise another keris book which he also sells.
4. It seems that a "very good book" for Patrick is one that will earn him money.

So what this thread really boils down to is this; an advertisement for a new book. This is what i suspected at first, but still i let this thread go on, hopeful that it would become a discussion on the actual merits of the book. I would like to encourage that we do have real and substantial discussion of books written on the subject....that is, when we have members who have actually read the books in question. However, the use of this forum as means to promote commercial activities will not be tolerated. Period!
If someone gets a hold of this (or any book on keris) and wants to start a thread discussing it's merit or faults i wholeheartedly support that. Please bring to that conversation details and reasoning so that a useful discussion about the book can follow. If, on the other hand, you are simply hawking your wares, please find another forum for your activities.
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