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Old 11th August 2017, 09:49 AM   #1
Roland_M
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Default Silver Keris

Hello,

As promised, here is my Silver-Keris. I believe it is a Bali-Keris.

I don't wanna say too much, just listening to the opinions of other collectors.

What I can say is that hilt, scabbard and blade are of good quality. The golden layer on the blade is very thick, around 1/10 mm or more. Thick enough to hide some details of the figurine. Modern gold leaf is between 1/3000 (the thickest type) and 1/9000 mm thick. This means modern gold leaf is around 300 times thinner than this.

Now I'm really interessted, to read some opinions.


Best wishes,
Roland
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Old 11th August 2017, 09:50 AM   #2
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more objects of photography
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:52 AM   #3
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Hello Roland,
Nice kris but not traditional Balinese IMO, especially the sandang walikat scabbard with added buntut.
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Old 11th August 2017, 10:58 AM   #4
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Hello Roland,
The kinatah technique does not use gold leaf.
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Old 11th August 2017, 11:50 AM   #5
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Hello Roland,

I am probably one of the less knowledgeable people here, but to me, this keris looks fairly new.
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Old 11th August 2017, 12:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Hello Roland,
The kinatah technique does not use gold leaf.
Regards


Hello Jean,

thank you for your opinion, it is helpful for me.

From the Internet: "On blades from Malaysia, Kinatah is a relief decoration on a blade of the highest order."


Regards
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Old 11th August 2017, 01:50 PM   #7
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I know and have handled the keris Roland own already longer several times and have Roland always told that this keris is very unusual and don't show traditional Bali work, this for dress and handle. The blade is an other object but in short, it's also not what I would think to see by a good old Bali blade.

Like all can see by the pictures Roland has posted is the quality of the silver work a very good one but I am unsure where done. The motives are like stated from Jean already are not Balinese style. But when you look to the pictures carefully (see in down) you can see the wooden core, the wood is old and very dry, this is nothing what I would to see by a recent worked scabbard. Also the overall impression let me think to see a fairly old piece in all parts in front of me.
By my visit to the Hollenstedt Exhibition I have had the chance to handle to more keris where the scabbard was worked in exactly the same manner, I am sure they coming all from the same workshop. One of this other two pieces has had a similar worked blade like the one from Roland without gandik figure and kinatah, the other one has had a fairly good worked older Bali blade. Also by this both examples was the wooden core visible and show good age. So I think that this pieces get worked wherever as earliest end of 19th century until latest the thirties.
Like said before, I am very very unsure where this three pieces get worked.
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Old 11th August 2017, 01:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Hello Jean,

thank you for your opinion, it is helpful for me.

From the Internet: "On blades from Malaysia, Kinatah is a relief decoration on a blade of the highest order."


Regards


Hello Roland,
I mean that kinatah is made from gold sheet (thicker than leaf). Yes, original kinatah blades are generally of high quality.
As you have my book you can find a rather similar silver pendok on pic 3.15, page 201.
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Old 11th August 2017, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
As you have my book you can find a rather similar silver pendok on pic 3.15, page 201.


Hello Jean,

yes, so far I can see it it could be indeed the same workshop.

BTW, great book from you, congrats!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th August 2017, 06:46 PM   #10
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Hello Jean,

Quote:
As you have my book you can find a rather similar silver pendok on pic 3.15, page 201.

Considering that your book is already sold out, it might be a good idea to post a pic of your keris here, too…

Regards,
Kai
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Old 13th August 2017, 02:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
yes, so far I can see it it could be indeed the same workshop.

I don't know. From what i can see of the pendok in Jean's book (there is no detail shot of it) it would seem a bit of a leap to identify it as coming from the same workshop. Both the stem of this sheath and Jean's pendok use a vegetal pattern, but from what i can see it does not appear to be the same foliage motif. They could very well use the same silver working technique, but i would have to see Jean's example closer to tell. I do agree with Kai that if we are to make such comparisons it would be nice if Jean could upload a photo or two of his pendok to make that easier.
It is interesting though that both these works in silver seem to appear on what we would otherwise assume were Bali keris even if the workmanship of the dress appears otherwise. Is it possible this silver work could be a product of Lombok? Could that explain the other flavors we are detecting in these forms of dress?

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Old 13th August 2017, 08:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I don't know. From what i can see of the pendok in Jean's book (there is no detail shot of it) it would seem a bit of a leap to identify it as coming from the same workshop. Both the stem of this sheath and Jean's pendok use a vegetal pattern, but from what i can see it does not appear to be the same foliage motif. They could very well use the same silver working technique, but i would have to see Jean's example closer to tell. I do agree with Kai that if we are to make such comparisons it would be nice if Jean could upload a photo or two of his pendok to make that easier.
It is interesting though that both these works in silver seem to appear on what we would otherwise assume were Bali keris even if the workmanship of the dress appears otherwise. Is it possible this silverware could be a product of Lombok? Could that explain the other flavors we are detecting in these forms of dress?


Hello David,
I am not at home so I can only show this pic of my pendok. Athough I see some similarities with the one from Roland (buntut), the style of floral engraving and silver quality are different indeed. I got this piece separately from the kris itself but it was fitted on another Bali/ Lombok scabbard. I would also place the origin of my piece to Lombok or Sumbawa (Bugis influence).
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Old 14th August 2017, 08:45 AM   #13
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Hello guys,

There was much discussed about the dress of the keris but very little about the keris itself.

To me, this keris looks very new (max 10 years) and very Javanese and definitely not Balinese.

Am I right?! Am I wrong?!

PS: I find the hilt absolutely fascinating with respect to artistic craftmanship, albeit I am aware it is not in the traditional style.

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Old 14th August 2017, 09:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc

To me, this keris looks very new (max 10 years) and very Javanese and definitely not Balinese.

Am I right?! Am I wrong?!



Hello,

The pictures were made with a modern DSLR, the Nikon D7000 plus a high quality lens. Every picture has seen different automatic algorithms to increase the picture quality, without any possibility of influence by the user. The D7000 doesnt allow to use the raw-data. What I try to say is that pictures of old artifacts taken with a modern DSLR like this are always looks more modern than they are, always!

1: The scabbard of this Keris has been worn without any question with the typical signs of strain in the middle of the scabbard. Who was wearing such a big Kris ten years ago?

2: The blade itself has a mirror surface finish and a mild Waranga but there is corrosion everywhere and it takes some decades until a blade is corroded like this.

During the last cleaning the "foot" of the scabbard became loose and the resin inside the foot and also the wood from the core seem to be much older than 10 or 25 years.


If I see a artifact which is of unknown style to me, I would never judge the age of the piece by pictures. Especially if they are had been taken by an DSLR and if the artifact is made from gold or silver.

Without any question, this Keris is non traditional but this fact alone is no evidence for a recent production. What shall I say, my collection is full of unusual blades, I'm a kind of magnet for unusual artifacts


Regards,
Roland
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Old 14th August 2017, 01:03 PM   #15
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I do not wish to speculate about the age of this piece from the pics but would like to make the following observations:
. The silver color looks very clear, there is not much dark patina in the cavities which is typical of old silver artefacts. The silver quality seems excellent.
. I don't see much corrosion on the blade but some artificial pitting made by punching on the ganja and the pudak sategal on the sides of the blade around the kinatah.
. The kinatah fully covers the Ganesha figure but around the axe which he holds in one of his left hands there is a trace of gluing or welding which could indicate that the figure was added later.
. From my observations the "studs" on top of the ganja seem to be a recent javanese fashion.
. I have some quite recent silver krisses in which the wood core appears old and dry as this one.

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Old 14th August 2017, 02:04 PM   #16
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With precious metals any age estimation tends to be very tentative since newly pieces can be made to look old and genuine old pieces can look spanking new if repolished (or well preserved). Thus, we tend to look for a combination of craftsmanship, patina (if any), wear/damages, stylistic and other hints. However, none of these are really reliable since precious metals are fairly easy to be mended with...

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Kai
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Old 14th August 2017, 02:18 PM   #17
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I guess we all agree that these 2 hilts are of the same style.

Still, I'd be very cautious of any claims like same maker/workshop/school - successful designs tend to get copied very quickly!

My best guess would be that this non-traditional hilt reflects the European influence during the first half of the 20th century (up to Indonesian independence) in Bali (or, possibly less likely, Lombok). I can't rule out a Madurese origin nor Kota Gede work though.

Regards,
Kai
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Photo credits: left hand pic cropped from the catalog of the IFICAH exhibition (Weihrauch & al. 2015), copyright Günther Heckmann (IFICAH); right hand pic from Roland (post #1).
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Old 14th August 2017, 02:31 PM   #18
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The scabbard is certainly interesting and with 3 examples we have established an pattern...

Note that Roland's example has the tips curled inside while in the 2 examples from the IFICAH exhibition they are pointing outside. Moreover, the carved motifs of all 3 examples are very different!

Any hints for the buntut being a repair for a broken scabbard tip in your piece, Roland?

I'm not convinced that Jean's pendok has any relationship with these 3 discussed here. (Thanks for adding the pic!)

Regards,
Kai
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Photo credits: left from Roland (post #1); middle & right hand pic cropped from the catalog of the IFICAH exhibition (Weihrauch & al. 2015), copyright Günther Heckmann.
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Old 14th August 2017, 02:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
The pictures were made with a modern DSLR, the Nikon D7000 plus a high quality lens. Every picture has seen different automatic algorithms to increase the picture quality, without any possibility of influence by the user. The D7000 doesnt allow to use the raw-data. What I try to say is that pictures of old artifacts taken with a modern DSLR like this are always looks more modern than they are, always!

While i will not speculate on the age of this piece at the moment i will make a few observations.
Firstly i would like to comment on your statements here Roland because as a professional photographer for 35 years who has worked with modern digital cameras (all Nikon) for almost 15 years your above remarks make absolutely no sense to me. I am familiar with the D7000 and it does indeed allow the use of RAW data. You have photographed a quality item with a fairly high quality camera. You did a technically accurate job and shot in reasonably good light producing sharp and detailed photographs that reveal both the craftsmanship and the wear. But i can think of no reason why the equipment itself would make your keris look newer than it does in person.
But even in hand we must be careful assessing age based solely on the appearance of wear and the over all condition of the piece. We know, for instance, that there are early examples of keris in European collections that have the appearance of being made yesterday. We must look carefully at the type of techniques that were applied to the crafting. Can we detect modern tools used? We must study the style of the embellishments. Does this appear to be an older style of kinatah? Can we recognize if this application and style of gold is distinctly Balinese or Javanese? Can we provide any other examples to support that opinion?
In trying to identify the origins of the blade, Marius thinks it looks Javanese? Is this a pamor that we are likely to see on a Javanese blade? What about the dhapur?
Lastly, could you add the dimensions of the keris to this discussion, both blade and sheath. The blade is obviously much shorter than the sheath. Thanks!
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Old 14th August 2017, 03:07 PM   #20
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Hello Roland,

Quote:
The blade itself has a mirror surface finish and a mild Waranga but there is corrosion everywhere and it takes some decades until a blade is corroded like this.

In a tropical climate, the corrosion visible here can easily develop in much shorter time!

I'm uneasy with this blade. To me it looks like a larger blade got sacrificed for carving the "picture"/figural gandik as well as the open-worked kinatah on the blade (and raised kinatah on the gonjo); especially the cuts made into the base of the blade to demarcate the kinatah borders does not flow with traditional esthetics IMHO. While Ganesha is done akin Hindu style, the general craftsmanship looks almost Madura/Jawa to me; however, the warangan looks acceptable by Balinese standards - something I've not seen coming from Jawa/Madura mranggi yet...

While Madura as well as East Java received quite a bit of Balinese cultural input by expats, I'm inclined to believe these ensembles may be from Bali, possibly pre-independence attempts to sell keris to affluent European visitors?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 14th August 2017, 05:20 PM   #21
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Hello,

More pictures and the measurements.
I hope that the Keris is still interesting and that I can add more good pics for the discussion.

The piece which I call "foot" was solid in place. It became loose recently, after I tried out a new cleaning method with sweet almond oil, which is very thin. The wooden core looks old. Even the the red wax-resin-mixture (?) doesnt looks new to me. And not to forget it was hermetically closed before I was using the almond oil.
The scabbard is full of small dents and one large one from which I think it could be caused by bending stress, the typically markings.
The piercing in the area above the greneng were made with great effort, not just simple drillings.
The Ganesha-figure is an integral part of the blade, no upgrade.

Really hard to say what it is. One possible old background could be, that it was made for the dutch VOC as a present for proved soldiers.


Regards,
Roland

p.s. all pictures are untouched, I reduced the size only.
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Old 14th August 2017, 07:21 PM   #22
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Well, i don't think there is any question that this blade has some age. That doesn't mean that it is not of the contemporary period of keris manufacture. Let's keep in mind that even a keris made in 1977 will have 40 years of age on it.
Thanks for the detailed dimensions. Though the blade length is more in keeping with blades from Jawa and Madura i do not believe the length of only 14.5 inches counts it out as Balinese work. I personally own 2 keris which are most certainly Bali/Lombok blades that are 12.5 and 13.5 inches respectively.
Roland, the VOC ceased operation at the very end of the 18th century. While we may be able to continue debating the age of the blade i, for one, would rule out that it comes from that early a period of time.
I don't think there is really any question that we are indeed looking at a keris of some quality so regardless of where the final consensus falls regarding age and origin i believe we can all agree that this is still a keris worthy of discussion.
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Old 14th August 2017, 11:50 PM   #23
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I am finding the comments posted to this thread very interesting, and I do hope that discussion continues, however, I will not be taking part in this discussion because of personal reasons.

I do have one question.

the IFICAH exhibition has been mentioned a couple of times.

I do not have the hardcopy book that went with this exhibition, and regrettably I live a little bit too far away from the place where it was held to permit me to have visited.

My question is this:-

were the keris in this exhibition accompanied by reliable provenance?
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Old 15th August 2017, 12:20 AM   #24
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Default Not at all an expert myself but...

That is an excellent and exceptional object, old or not so very old, it is magnificent; and in 300 years it will continue to be wonderful, as it is today. Would love it in my collection. I would hang it between my Rajistan silver work and my Balinese items.
Thank you for sharing it with us.
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Old 15th August 2017, 11:49 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
were the keris in this exhibition accompanied by reliable provenance?[/B]



Detlef (sajen) knows some of the founders of the foundation and he probably knows the person, who donated the different Silver-Keris to the foundation.
He will try to find out in the next weeks, who is responsible for the descriptions.

Roland

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Old 15th August 2017, 12:26 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
.... who is responsible for the descriptions.


For this I don't need some weeks, the catalog descriptions are from Dr. Achim Weihrauch, Dr. Udo Kloubert and Adni Aljunied.
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Old 15th August 2017, 12:45 PM   #27
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I did not ask about the descriptions, I asked about the provenance, that is, where did the exhibits come from and when, from whom were they acquired?

Taking only one keris as an example:-

was it brought to Europe by some known person at some known time, or was it acquired from some unknown person at some unknown time?

Was it purchased at auction from an unknown seller?

Was it bought from an estate?

Where was it before it appeared in the exhibition?

Just exactly what is known about this object before it appeared in this exhibition?

Can we date the time and place where it made its first known appearance?

Perhaps some have provenance, perhaps some do not, so let us turn our attention to the two keris that Kai has mentioned. Do these keris have provenance? Can we date the time and place where these keris made their first known appearance?
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Old 15th August 2017, 12:54 PM   #28
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Hello Alan,

Quote:
the IFICAH exhibition has been mentioned a couple of times.

I do not have the hardcopy book that went with this exhibition

The link in my post #17 gives you access to the full book (PDF file).


Quote:
were the keris in this exhibition accompanied by reliable provenance?

Well, the short answer is probably no - unless you define reliable (and possibly provenance... ).

The keris in the exhibition were loans from private collections and there is no provenance stated for the 2 keris shown in this thread; however, most specimens in famous museum collections don't have any reasonable provenance either.

I assume the accompanying descriptions were done by Achim Weihrauch, Adni Aljunied, and Udo Kloubert. Certainly many keris in museum collections have not been studied in depth by experts accepted by any of the senior keris people from the land of Jawa (and if so they probably won't agree with each other either !).

Thus, I guess we have to live with what we have. The authors' estimates resonates with our discussion here: "Earlier 20th century, maybe end of 19th century." [As mentioned, I'd tend towards a later date.]

I guess, some pointers from you would not hurt though, Alan!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th August 2017, 12:58 PM   #29
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Thank you Kai, you have given me precisely the response I expected.
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Old 15th August 2017, 12:58 PM   #30
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Hello Alan,

You were typing faster than me...


Quote:
Perhaps some have provenance, perhaps some do not, so let us turn our attention to the two keris that Kai has mentioned. Do these keris have provenance? Can we date the time and place where these keris made their first known appearance?

I'll try to ask. I guess these 2 keris came from a fairly secretive collector but we may get some additional info. If so, I'll post an update ASAP.

Regards,
Kai
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