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Old 2nd November 2011, 09:18 PM   #1
Richard W
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Default Fake vs genuine...

A big question and my first one posted here.
Recently got a small, supposedly Bali kris, on e-bay (sorry no photo to attached).
The blade looks fake to me. Not shiny at all, more of a matt texture.I thought the Balanise kept their blades smooth and shiny while Javanese blades are often dry and flaky looking. Am I wrong? If I am right is this due to the ritual cleaning practices in Java which seem to strip the blades down?
In a modern fake I would expect to see a rough aced-etched surface, used to expose the pattern. what texture/finish would result from an overly aggressive acid bath?
Okay, I know without an image this is nearly impossible, but any help on the above points would be appriciated.
Thanks, Richard.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 10:13 PM   #2
Rick
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Fake is a relative expression in the keris world .
A bali blade may be authentic and yet still be rough surfaced .
It may have not gotten that way in Bali ... but somewhere else in keris bearing societies .
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Old 2nd November 2011, 10:30 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Richard, the finish on a blade is only one of a number of indicators that is able to tell us something about that blade.

It is true that most Balinese blades that have come from Bali, rather than Lombok, do have a smooth finish to the surface, this is because the Balinese have traditionally polished their blades to clean them, rather than to use a fruit acid bath.

But this is only part of the answer, Balinese blades that have come from Lombok often have a surface finish similar to a Javanese blade, additionally, many Balinese blades, especially older ones are actually from Jawa in the first place.

Then we have the Balinese blades that have not been regularly maintained and have needed to be cleaned and stained before being sold. I am uncertain of the situation in Bali right at this moment, but as of 2 or 3 years ago, dealers in Bali were sending keris that needed to be cleaned and stained, to East Jawa for this to be done.

To complicate matters even more, if we encounter a Javanese blade that left Jawa a couple of hundred years ago, or even one that has been maintained by acid brushing, rather than acid soaking, the surface finish will be as smooth as any Balinese blade.

The typical surface finish on a Javanese blade that has been maintained in Jawa is a surface with topographic relief --- the brightly contrasting pamor standing above the dark iron --- and a dimpled surface to the iron. This same finish is often created on recent Javanese blades, not as any attempt at forgery, but because in general, the Javanese prefer this finish on a blade.

There is a common misconception that all Balinese blades are big. Some are, some are not. I have Balinese blades that are not as big as a normal Javanese blade.

You refer to "modern fake".

This is another common misconception.

In Indonesia keris that have been made since the revival of the art in the mid-1970's have been made for the local market, not as fakes, but as an essential part of traditional dress, as an expression of art, and as a necessary part of the culture.

Certainly, there has always been a small production of souvenir type keris, and this was true even before the revival. The souvenirs seem to have always been there.

The only true fakes are keris which have been processed by salesmen and presented as something that they are not, and in my experience, these true fakes more often use an old keris as the basis for forgery, than a newly made keris, and the forgery is directed at people in the local market in Indonesia who are prepared to pay very much more for keris than buyers in the western world. Generally speaking, buyers in the western world are very hesitant to spend serious money on keris, this is not the case in Indonesia.

If you can let us have a couple of photos of your keris, we may be able to tell you a little more about it.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 11:56 PM   #4
Richard W
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That is very good info and much appriciated.
My little kris (21cm blade) has a very black ground, with the silver pattern raised slightly above (Java style?). The the edge of the blade at the very tip does not come to a complete edge; but is an unfinished sort of dullness (suspicious). Obviously etched strongly to make the textural differences. It just doesn't feel like something that has been around a couple of centuries; no wear on the blade apparant, no smoothness to it. Could possibly be an older piece that has been reworked.
Sorry about the non-photo ability.
Thank you again for the help and insight.
I lived in Jakarta in the 1970's and on a trip to Bali at 16 (Kuta Beach only had one losman and no paved roads) I traded my Seiko watch for a nice antique kris; with shiny-smooth black blade and silver veining. Was trying to get it a mate, but fear I failed this time (out of Seiko watches I suppose)
Cheers!

Addendum :

Thanks for the advice and info. I always wondered why the Javanese blades looked so whithered compared to the Balinese.
My little kris (21cm blade) has the topographic pattern described for the Javanese blades. Very black background with the nickle raised above. Obviously heavily etched. No smoothing as time might produce. The edge doen't continue to the extreme tip, but blunts out as though unfinished.
Could be a refinished old blade, but the texture right now does not show any age at all.
I bought it to compliment one I got in Bali in 1971, swaped for a seiko watch and 2000 rupiah. This one is cute but not convincing. My original has a shiny black surface with fine silver veining.
That's ebay for you.
Glad to have found this forum
Thanks, Richard

Last edited by Rick : 5th November 2011 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 03:46 AM   #5
kai
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Welcome to the forum, Richard!

Quote:
My little kris (21cm blade) has a very black ground, with the silver pattern raised slightly above (Java style?).

Could as well be the Bugis-influenced style of blade maintenance...


Quote:
It just doesn't feel like something that has been around a couple of centuries; no wear on the blade apparant, no smoothness to it. Could possibly be an older piece that has been reworked.

Lots of genuine antique keris blades have no smooth surface and wear may not be apparent.


Quote:
Sorry about the non-photo ability.

We really do need pics! Otherwise we're just guessing in a vacuum.

Let us know the ebay number and we can lift the pics from there and post them here for reference.


Quote:
I lived in Jakarta in the 1970's and on a trip to Bali at 16 (Kuta Beach only had one losman and no paved roads) I traded my Seiko watch for a nice antique kris; with shiny-smooth black blade and silver veining.

Pics would certainly be great. Not a chance to take any with a cell phone or a loaned digicam?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd November 2011, 04:05 AM   #6
David
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Agreed. Without photos we have nothing but guesses for you.
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Old 4th November 2011, 01:04 AM   #7
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Welcome

1 picture = 1000 words.

Best regards,
Willem
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