A question of space
Spaces between the blade's base and the gonjo.
There seems to be no rhyme nor reason when I see the amount or variance across Malay keris.
I don't see the variance in Java examples. All Java keris I have seen are tight and of exact tolerances, pressed firmly in place against the body of the blade.
Using the two images below as an example Patanni vs Perak, is there a cultural significance in having a gap as opposed to having tolerances firm and exact :shrug:
Mainly a matter of craftsmanship, I suppose, Gavin.
Since the gonjo is soft iron, it may also get bend from use which is culturally more likely than with keris Jawa for the last 1-2 centuries...
There certainly are substandard keris Jawa, too.
This gap is very probably the result of the gonjo having come loose and then being replaced by somebody who did not understand how to do the job.
There are several ways to fix a gonjo in place, the best is to use a tiny key that is hammered into a keyway that has been cut into the hole in the gonjo.
Another way is to leave a step protruding around the base of the pesi, to fit the gonjo it is put in place and a small punch used to hammer down the step and tighten it.
Another common method of tightening the fit of the gonjo is to make it just a little less than a press fit, heating it, and fitting while still hot, in effect, a heat shrink fit.
Perhaps the most common method with blades of less than premium quality is to make the gonjo a cold press fit and then use a punch to punch around the pesi hole, thus tightening the gonjo.
When a gonjo comes loose, most people who do not understand how keris are put together, and particularly those who want a quick result so they can get on with the business of selling the keris, just put the gonjo in place and tighten it by punching down the metal around the pesi. This has the effect of causing the gonjo to rise away from the neat fit it should have, it will fit close to the wilah and pesi in the middle, and rise at the ends, or sometimes only one end.
The base of most keris blades, including the pesi is usually soft, heat treatment should extend no further than the tip of a sogokan, and often is only the first couple of inches of a blade.
Gavin, the reason for the gap is not societal nor cultural, it is pure ignorance and/or laziness.
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