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Old 1st February 2024, 04:51 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Sraits(?), Malay(?), need your opinion

Hello dear members,

I was able to add the pictured keris recently to my collection. I am a little bit unsure about its origin. I strongly guess that it is a Straits keris but it could also be a Malay keris. Handle in Malay Jawa Deman form, strong 7 luk blade.
Another question, would you etch the blade or would you let it in this state?
45 cm inside scabbard, 43 cm without, blade with gonjo 35,5 cm.

Thank you in advance, I am curious to read your comments.
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Last edited by Sajen; 1st February 2024 at 08:24 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 1st February 2024, 10:27 PM   #2
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Can i assume you are thinking the Sumatra side of the Straits. The blade puts me in mind of this keris.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 03:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sajen View Post
Hello dear members,

I was able to add the pictured keris recently to my collection. I am a little bit unsure about its origin. I strongly guess that it is a Straits keris but it could also be a Malay keris. Handle in Malay Jawa Deman form, strong 7 luk blade.
Another question, would you etch the blade or would you let it in this state?
45 cm inside scabbard, 43 cm without, blade with gonjo 35,5 cm.

Thank you in advance, I am curious to read your comments.

A Bugis keris and probably etching using Lime would bring out the common nice pamor. It might be from Riau region.

Last edited by Anthony G.; 2nd February 2024 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 10:37 AM   #4
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Can i assume you are thinking the Sumatra side of the Straits. The blade puts me in mind of this keris.
Hello David,

No, I've meant Straits Bugis. I guess that your example is indeed from the Sumatran East coast. I would be more with Anthony and think that my example is more Bugis.
Here is an interesting old discussion about this thematic: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...hlight=straits

Regards,
Detlef

Last edited by Sajen; 2nd February 2024 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 10:47 AM   #5
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A Bugis keris and probably etching using Lime would bring out the common nice pamor. It might be from Riau region.
Hello Anthony,

I personally agree with you, I would classify this example as Straits Bugis keris, through the parallel batang I would rule out Bugis Sulawesi.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd February 2024, 12:34 AM   #6
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Hello Detlef,

I'm more leaning towards Bugis-influenced blade from the northern Melayu regions. Hilt & scabbard seem consistent, too.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2024, 12:14 PM   #7
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I'm more leaning towards Bugis-influenced blade from the northern Melayu regions. Hilt & scabbard seem consistent, too.
Hello Kai,

Thanks for your comment. As I said at the beginning, I'm not sure and had considered that. Are you able to justify that? Are you able to show a similar example?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 6th February 2024, 05:55 AM   #8
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Need new glasses.... disregard

Last edited by Gavin Nugent; 6th February 2024 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 7th February 2024, 11:27 AM   #9
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I can't get a read on it as a whole. IF I was to through out a guess i'd say Sumatran side of the northern straits.

Question, is the blade true to the sheath?

I ask as there is extra worn opening at the gonjo end where it typically should be sitting over that space.
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Old 7th February 2024, 07:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
I can't get a read on it as a whole. IF I was to through out a guess i'd say Sumatran side of the northern straits.
Hello Gav,

Another option I had reservations about but like always I can be very wrong!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
Question, is the blade true to the sheath?

I ask as there is extra worn opening at the gonjo end where it typically should be sitting over that space.
You have sharp eyes, yes there is a gap in front and back of the gonjo when it is in scabbard but I am nearly convinced that it's the original scabbard, the visible patina inside the scabbard and the secure fit let me think like this.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th February 2024, 07:03 AM   #11
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Hello Gav,

Another option I had reservations about but like always I can be very wrong!
Me too! It is all learning.

Some wear can be expected from the belalai, yet I don't expect the kerawang to wear so much away.

This is how I see a the blades should be seated in original dress.
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Old 8th February 2024, 06:27 PM   #12
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I'm afraid i need to agree with Gavin on this one. It would seem that your sheath was adapted to fit your blade. Especially considering the area where this keris seems to come from, a proper fit would look like the examples Gavin shows with the blade fitting somewhat proud in the sheath. Considering the space both behind and in front of your blade it seems most likely that it was re-adjusted to to fit.
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Old 8th February 2024, 11:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen View Post

You have sharp eyes, yes there is a gap in front and back of the gonjo when it is in scabbard but I am nearly convinced that it's the original scabbard, the visible patina inside the scabbard and the secure fit let me think like this.

Regards,
Detlef
Hi Detlef,

The blending of styles across the sarung, hulu and blade, I did not recognise as harmonious, and I still ask questions to my peers and mentors most weeks as there are always little nuances that are sometimes overlooked, in my case, on items I have had for years.

It was what I personally could not see as harmonious that prompted me to save the photos and zoom in, hence the need glasses comments above, then I saw in more detail these gaps.

For reference, I have several keris here that I can interchange the sarung and blades for a perfectly acceptable fit, so I can see how you came to feel this about the piece you have. I feel it is OK to have wear on older examples on the belalai side, and perhaps even a little sunken in on this side of the sampir, but not the kerawang end, it doesn't make practical sense to me.

Unravelling the confusion in my mind when viewing this as a whole leads me to think Sumatra side, particularly coupled with the gonjo shape, which can be Perak too, but other aspects of the blade I don't see Perak at all. I kind of get glimpses of Kedah in small parts, but aligned with certain angles in the features and luks, and the clear hexagonal cross section, I come back to Bugis Sumatra.

Regardless, these things can be changed if desired or required.
It is a genuine old blade and all aspects of the dress carry appropriate age aligning with the blade.

Last edited by Gavin Nugent; 9th February 2024 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 11th February 2024, 02:45 PM   #14
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Hello Gav and David,

Of course I agree with you and I know how the seat from the blade inside the scabbard looks normally (like shown by Gav in several examples), especially by Malay keris. But I am nearly sure that this scabbard is already some decades old together with the blade, the patina inside the opening tells me that. Of course it could be a replacement scabbard, this never could be ruled out. But it's for sure not done from a dealer or collector I assume.
I've owned and still own, especially some Bugis keris where the upside from the gonjo is in line with the opening in the scabbard.

Attached a few close ups.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 11th February 2024, 04:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen View Post
Of course I agree with you and I know how the seat from the blade inside the scabbard looks normally (like shown by Gav in several examples), especially by Malay keris. But I am nearly sure that this scabbard is already some decades old together with the blade, the patina inside the opening tells me that. Of course it could be a replacement scabbard, this never could be ruled out. But it's for sure not done from a dealer or collector I assume.
I've owned and still own, especially some Bugis keris where the upside from the gonjo is in line with the opening in the scabbard.
Just to be clear Detlef, it was never my intention to imply that this was a marriage created by a dealer just to be able to sell a complete keris. And i am sure you are correct that this keris and sheath have been together for a very long time. It is very common for people in-culture to replace an old worn out sheath with a used one that is in better condition. Not ever person is in a financial position to commission a brand new sheath for their keris when one is necessary. It seems that most Western collectors are most concerned about having keris with both old and original dress. I have even encountered some collectors dismissing some nice old keris simply because that have very newly made dress. They prefer both old and original dress only. But the truth is that people dress their keris as best they can. Within the various keris cultures i believe that generally means that if your dress is worn out or broken beyond suitable repair you either commission new dress for it if you can afford it or replace it with an older used dress that is still in good condition. I would say it is the latter that happened here.
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Old 11th February 2024, 07:17 PM   #16
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What David has said here is so, but there are other reasons for a keris blade not fitting precisely into the wrongko.

A keris might have been given a new wrongko that came already made, bought from a market, & the fitting has been done by the owner. Not everybody has the necessary skills to fit a blade precisely.

The Bugis style keris often does have a gonjo that stands proud of the wrongko, but just as often, or perhaps more so, the gonjo will sit flush with the wrongko. It seems that over time styles changed, & not every area employed exactly the same style.

The idea of "original" when applied to keris is totally out of step with cultural norms, it is entirely an idea that comes from collectors who are outside the keris culture. As David has pointed out, owners would give their keris the best dress they could afford, in Jawa one keris can have multiple sets of dress, not just one set of dress.

Then there is concept of using one's keris to store wealth, as has often been said to me by Javanese keris literate people, the dress of a keris is just like the dress of a man, it is a set of clothes and can be changed for many reasons. If you have fitted a gold pendok when times were good, there is no problem with selling that gold pendok & replacing it with brass when times are not so good.

The only part of the complete keris that holds any esoteric force is the blade itself, all the dress is simply that:- dress.

By setting one's standards for collection to require that a wrongko must be "original" to the blade & also old, a collector is limiting his collection to keris that have mostly been dressed within the last couple of generations.
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Old 12th February 2024, 04:43 AM   #17
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Some dress is revered and retained through one's lifetime.
Some are repairs with inserts of horn or timber, to lift the blade to appropriate placement within the dress.
Such things can be done in favour of other blades such as this example was.

With regards to this example, the sampir has received the insert as pictured, the rare hulu has received a new horn covering below the beltline, and the butnut is also fixed with an unassuming horn type.

Quite the complete overhaul for it's replacement blade.
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Old 12th February 2024, 01:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Just to be clear Detlef, it was never my intention to imply that this was a marriage created by a dealer just to be able to sell a complete keris. And i am sure you are correct that this keris and sheath have been together for a very long time. It is very common for people in-culture to replace an old worn out sheath with a used one that is in better condition.
Hello David,

Don't worry, I've understood you correctly!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th February 2024, 01:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
What David has said here is so, but there are other reasons for a keris blade not fitting precisely into the wrongko.

A keris might have been given a new wrongko that came already made, bought from a market, & the fitting has been done by the owner. Not everybody has the necessary skills to fit a blade precisely.

The Bugis style keris often does have a gonjo that stands proud of the wrongko, but just as often, or perhaps more so, the gonjo will sit flush with the wrongko. It seems that over time styles changed, & not every area employed exactly the same style.

The idea of "original" when applied to keris is totally out of step with cultural norms, it is entirely an idea that comes from collectors who are outside the keris culture. As David has pointed out, owners would give their keris the best dress they could afford, in Jawa one keris can have multiple sets of dress, not just one set of dress.

Then there is concept of using one's keris to store wealth, as has often been said to me by Javanese keris literate people, the dress of a keris is just like the dress of a man, it is a set of clothes and can be changed for many reasons. If you have fitted a gold pendok when times were good, there is no problem with selling that gold pendok & replacing it with brass when times are not so good.

The only part of the complete keris that holds any esoteric force is the blade itself, all the dress is simply that:- dress.

By setting one's standards for collection to require that a wrongko must be "original" to the blade & also old, a collector is limiting his collection to keris that have mostly been dressed within the last couple of generations.
Hello Alan,

Thank you for chime in and for your explanation! Frankly said I was a collector like you described in your last passage and changed my mind in the last few years.
Another reason that the fit isn't like it should be is that I believe that sampir and atasan were new attached some time ago and the repair could have changed the original fit, who knows!?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 12th February 2024, 01:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
Some dress is revered and retained through one's lifetime.
Some are repairs with inserts of horn or timber, to lift the blade to appropriate placement within the dress.
Such things can be done in favour of other blades such as this example was.

With regards to this example, the sampir has received the insert as pictured, the rare hulu has received a new horn covering below the beltline, and the butnut is also fixed with an unassuming horn type.

Quite the complete overhaul for it's replacement blade.
Hello Gav,

I own several keris where I have let a wood restorer do similar "repairs" to fit a sarung for a blade, I thought it's worth getting a proper sarung!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 15th February 2024, 10:32 AM   #21
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I thought it's worth getting a proper sarung!
Hello Detlef,

I am not entirely understanding this?
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Old 16th February 2024, 03:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
Hello Detlef,

I am not entirely understanding this?
Hello Gav,

I must have been unclear, sorry! I wanted to express that I have some keris blades that I had a sheath fitted to them by a restorer. Similar to what happened with your keris shown.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 18th February 2024, 05:17 PM   #23
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Just thought i would add this old example of a sheath that has been adjusted to fit a newer blade. I really cannot tell for sure, but this appears to have been done with some kind of resin which has now cracked from age. At least the inserted material does not seem to be wood.
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Old 19th February 2024, 10:21 AM   #24
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Just thought i would add this old example of a sheath that has been adjusted to fit a newer blade. I really cannot tell for sure, but this appears to have been done with some kind of resin which has now cracked from age. At least the inserted material does not seem to be wood.
Hello David,

Here a similar, most probably local, adjustment with some sort of resin.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 19th February 2024, 04:45 PM   #25
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Hello David,

Here a similar, most probably local, adjustment with some sort of resin.

Regards,
Detlef
Yes, very much the same approach as mine. Thanks for posting yours!
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Old 20th February 2024, 03:06 PM   #26
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I must have been unclear, sorry! I wanted to express that I have some keris blades that I had a sheath fitted to them by a restorer. Similar to what happened with your keris shown.
Here are two samples of such a restoration.
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