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Old 23rd March 2021, 07:04 AM   #1
maximummason
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Default Sharing a Durga hilt

Hello friends! I wanted to share this Durga that I found on Facebook with everyone. It is a beautiful example, and used for the keris panjang, the keris of execution. Does anyone have more information about these types or this specific one?
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Old 23rd March 2021, 07:21 PM   #2
David
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I have always loved the minimalist form of this particular style of Sumatran hilt. I have seen just in recent years some collectors suggesting this might be a representation of Durga. I must say that i remain unconvinced. There is certainly no specific symbolism that directs us to that goddess.
The only name i am familiar with for this hilt form is hulu Putri Malu, which translates to something like "shy princess". There are probably other names that have been applied to it over the years. If names mean anything (i suppose sometimes they may be misleading) i think it would be odd to call Durga a "princess". But then i am uncertain just how far back this name "Putri Malu" goes or whether it was ever an accurate description or not. When hilts get this abstracted from the human form it is difficult to know anything for sure. But there does seem to be a crown-like intention for the top of the head.
This hilt is missing its selut. Often these are made of silver and engraved or reproussed.
I would not think this hilt type a good match for a keris panjang, which i will refrain from calling "the keris of executions". It is not the type of hilt generally associated with the panjang.
This thread has some nice examples of this form along with the "Batman" sheath it is sometimes paired with.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23759
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Old 23rd March 2021, 07:29 PM   #3
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This link also has some good discussion and further relevant links with it about Putri Malu.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ght=Putri+Malu
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Old 23rd March 2021, 09:31 PM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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There are a number of hilt styles that depict a slightly bowed figure that has no facial features. This hilt belongs to that group of hilt styles.This faceless style is found in Bali, Jawa and in Palembang and sometimes has characteristics that vaguely suggest the female form.

This particular example is from Palembang.

Some people refer to it as Putri Malu, as David has said, others use the name "Balu Mekabun".

Balu Mekabun is understood as "widow in a garden", but this usually applied spelling, as well as its variations, seem to indicate that this name might not have been coined by a native speaker of either Javanese or Balinese. The stories that get attached to this hilt form can be quite fanciful.

I feel that some day a dedicated student of the keris might make the effort to get to the bottom of exactly what these faceless hilt forms represent. In some cases we might have a representation of Durga, but in other cases, perhaps not.
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