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Old 17th August 2021, 01:11 AM   #1
Ganapati
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Default Metal figurine hilted keris? Significance?

I see keris like the ones below for sale, what is their significance?

They have no removable handle? Are they strictly ritualistic use?
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Old 17th August 2021, 02:45 AM   #2
A. G. Maisey
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Ganapati, I used to own a sub-collection of these items of tosan aji, but it has now moved to a private collection that is being prepared for public museum display.

I had this collection in a section of my previous website, but when I migrated my site to a new host I removed the collection.

However, I have saved the text that went with that section of my old site, that text is, I believe, as much as anybody can currently, legitimately claim to be accurate information.

"Accurate" being understood as "probably true" as opposed to "probably imagination & belief".

Here is the text to which I refer:-

Indonesian Talismanic Blades

These are not weapons in any sense other than being weapons to guard against misfortune, they are not weapons intended to be used against humanity.

In a sense this could probably be called a "non-information page" Not enough is known about these items of wesi aji to allow a definitive discourse on them. My purpose in making these photos available is to assist researchers in this field.

The items hereunder that resemble a keris are known as "keris sajen" in Indonesia, and by many collectors in the western world as "keris Majapahit". The keris sajen is reportedly a keris used in offerings, notably the ceremony of bersih desa which is carried out after the major rice harvest (panen raya). Dates for the harvest can vary, and each village has its own day and own requirements for bersih desa, so offerings can change from village to village.

Suryo Negoro in his book "Javanese Traditional and Ritual Ceremonies" describes the general form of bersih desa and mentions two forms specific to individual villages. Nowhere does he describe the inclusion of a keris in these ceremonies. Bambang Harsrinuksmo in "Ensiklopedi Keris" claims use of this keris form in the ceremony of bersih desa, and other writers have also claimed this. It is possible that some villages could have the requirement for a keris sajen to be included in the ceremony and other villages do not have this requirement.

In the ceremonies I have seen, no keris sajen has been used.

David van Duuren records that in the colonial days, these small keris were known as talismanic weapons.

My own observance has been that present day Javanese regard them as talismanic objects.

At the present time insufficient research has been carried out in relation to this form of wesi aji to allow any certain definition of their place in Indonesian or Javanese culture.

In respect of the age of keris sajen in general, and this is also true of the examples shown here , it is not possible to be at all certain of how old any particular item may be. The form is clearly an ancient one, and an example was found under the central stupa of Candi Borobudur during its restoration, however, whether it was placed there at the time Borobudur was built, or at a later date, we do not know.

However, although ancient, it is doubtful if the form can be linked to Dongson daggers with similar handles. The time gap between Dongson culture and early classical Javanese culture is too great.

Some writers have attempted to classify this form of wesi aji into types and sub-types, and wish to make true weapons of the longer examples of the keris sajen. I do not intend to attempt any such classification. Too little is known of these objects for such a classification to be of very much use. The design of the gonjo of the longer examples would seem to indicate that these were not intended for use as a real weapon, any more than was the shorter version. Anybody using one of these long examples as a weapon would be likely to do severe injury to their own hand, because of the narrowness of the gonjo.

I think it is highly probable that the alternate keris sajen as in #'s 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, were forged from recycled old keris blades. Further, I believe that recycled old keris blades were sometimes used in the manufacture of certain other talismanic keris, those with the handle forge welded to the base of the blade. Whether this was done simply as a use of recycled material, whether to preserve a valued blade, whether to save costs, or for all these reasons, we have no way of knowing.

Apart from those items that are positively identifiable as keris sajen, a number of other items of talismanic wesi aji are shown here. Some are keris like, with the handle in a different plane to the blade, one is of cunderik form. I regret I am unable to provide more information on these talismanic objects, however, I am open to questions or discussion in respect of them.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 17th August 2021 at 10:36 AM. Reason: repetition
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Old 17th August 2021, 04:19 AM   #3
Ganapati
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excellent Alan, thank you for this information. Much appreciated!


Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Ganapati, I used to own a sub-collection of these items of tosan aji, but it has now moved to a private collection that is being prepared for public museum display.

I had this collection in a section of my previous website, but when I migrated my site to a new host I removed the collection.

However, I have saved the text that went with that section of my old site, that text is, I believe, as much as anybody can currently, legitimately can claim to be be accurate information.

"Accurate" being understood as "probably true" as opposed to "probably imagination & belief".

Here is the text to which I refer:-

Indonesian Talismanic Blades

These are not weapons in any sense other than being weapons to guard against misfortune, they are not weapons intended to be used against humanity.

In a sense this could probably be called a "non-information page" Not enough is known about these items of wesi aji to allow a definitive discourse on them. My purpose in making these photos available is to assist researchers in this field.

The items hereunder that resemble a keris are known as "keris sajen" in Indonesia, and by many collectors in the western world as "keris Majapahit". The keris sajen is reportedly a keris used in offerings, notably the ceremony of bersih desa which is carried out after the major rice harvest (panen raya). Dates for the harvest can vary, and each village has its own day and own requirements for bersih desa, so offerings can change from village to village.

Suryo Negoro in his book "Javanese Traditional and Ritual Ceremonies" describes the general form of bersih desa and mentions two forms specific to individual villages. Nowhere does he describe the inclusion of a keris in these ceremonies. Bambang Harsrinuksmo in "Ensiklopedi Keris" claims use of this keris form in the ceremony of bersih desa, and other writers have also claimed this. It is possible that some villages could have the requirement for a keris sajen to be included in the ceremony and other villages do not have this requirement.

In the ceremonies I have seen, no keris sajen has been used.

David van Duuren records that in the colonial days, these small keris were known as talismanic weapons.

My own observance has been that present day Javanese regard them as talismanic objects.

At the present time insufficient research has been carried out in relation to this form of wesi aji to allow any certain definition of their place in Indonesian or Javanese culture.

In respect of the age of keris sajen in general, and this is also true of the examples shown here , it is not possible to be at all certain of how old any particular item may be. The form is clearly an ancient one, and an example was found under the central stupa of Candi Borobudur during its restoration, however, whether it was placed there at the time Borobudur was built, or at a later date, we do not know.

However, although ancient, it is doubtful if the form can be linked to Dongson daggers with similar handles. The time gap between Dongson culture and early classical Javanese culture is too great.

Some writers have attempted to classify this form of wesi aji into types and sub-types, and wish to make true weapons of the longer examples of the keris sajen. I do not intend to attempt any such classification. Too little is known of these objects for such a classification to be of very much use. The design of the gonjo of the longer examples would seem to indicate that these were not intended for use as a real weapon, any more than was the shorter version. Anybody using one of these long examples as a weapon would be likely to do severe injury to their own hand, because of the narrowness of the gonjo.

I think it is highly probable that the alternate keris sajen as in #'s 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, were forged from recycled old keris blades. Further, I believe that recycled old keris blades were sometimes used in the manufacture of certain other talismanic keris, those with the handle forge welded to the base of the blade. Whether this was done simply as a use of recycled material, whether to preserve a valued blade, whether to save costs, or for all these reasons, we have no way of knowing.

Apart from those items that are positively identifiable as keris sajen, a number of other items of talismanic wesi aji are shown here. Some are keris like, with the handle in a different plane to the blade, one is of cunderik form. I regret I am unable to provide more information on these talismanic objects, however, I am open to questions or discussion in respect of them.
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Old 17th August 2021, 09:22 AM   #4
Jean
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Hello Ganapati,
You can also refer to the book "Iron Ancestors" by Theo Alkema, which shows a very complete collection of these items.
Regards
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Old 17th August 2021, 10:27 AM   #5
A. G. Maisey
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Yes Jean, "Iron Ancestors" is a very nicely produced book, excellent photographs, and Theo Alkema was a true gentleman.

But it would be wise to be a little careful with the text.
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