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Old 5th October 2022, 11:55 PM   #1
David
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Default Bali or Lombok or ?

Those of you who still surf eBay looking for deals may have become a bit dissuaded by that venue lately as many prices have become ridiculously high even for the most common of village keris. I really don't spend much time looking there as i did many years ago when i was young and first starting to collect keris. So i was quite amazed at what people were asking for keris on that venue these days as well as the general misinformed nature of most of the auctions there (that part is, unfortunately, not unusual). But i was surprised when i found this Bali (?) keris at a rather incredible price and no one seemed to be bothering with it. I add the question mark because it is an unusual form for Bali and i wonder what the origins might actually be.
The brass gerantim hilt is in the worst shape. The "sprouts" at the top of the hilt had been squashed flat to the end of the hilt so i carefully pried them up and tried to reshape them. I may fiddle with it further, but i am worried about snapping the metal if i play with it too much, so it might be best to leave well enough alone. The body of the hilt is a bit banged up as well and it has lost most of its gold wash, but it is still fairly solid. I may in fact search for a replacement in time, but it will do for now. No uwer came with the keris.
The blade is a bit short for a Bali keris at 33cm (13 inches). It is a dhapur i have seen before but don't know too much about. I am specifically talking about the shape of the kembang kacang, with its long trunk and the long kebo-like gandik. Does anyone know a more exact origin for this form? I know i have seen other examples of it in the past, but cannot remember where or when. Could it be a Lombok form?
Full disclosure, the blade does have a little damage to the sogokan on the other side (not shown) that may have come from strikes to the blade. Hard to say. Anyway, it is not so bad as to spoil the deal.
The sheath is desirable pelet wood with some nice patterns. The blade fits well in it, though from the space at the front i would image it was not original to the blade. Not really a concern for me.
All this to say that you can still occasionally find a nice keris for a good (or even great) price on eBay. Though i do not really recommend it as a general source. 😉
Sorry about the quick cellphone photos, but you should be able to get a good idea about this keris from them.
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Old 6th October 2022, 02:25 AM   #2
jagabuwana
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A nice find and an interesting keris, David. I too am curious by the long sekar kacang, as well as the feature above the jenggot. I wonder if they were intended as ron dha-like carvings.
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Old 6th October 2022, 03:30 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jagabuwana View Post
A nice find and an interesting keris, David. I too am curious by the long sekar kacang, as well as the feature above the jenggot. I wonder if they were intended as ron dha-like carvings.
Actually I believe they were once fully formed ron dha either eroded or partly broken off.
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Old 6th October 2022, 07:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jagabuwana View Post
A nice find and an interesting keris, David. I too am curious by the long sekar kacang, as well as the feature above the jenggot. I wonder if they were intended as ron dha-like carvings.
Based on a Balinese keris book that I have read, i think this is old Balinese keris based on the long sekar kacang.
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Old 6th October 2022, 10:21 AM   #5
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Yes it looks like a short Balinese blade.
This rare style of gandik with the long kembang kacang/ cunguh gajah is called "gandik lantang cunguh gajah lantang" (long) according to the book from Neka page 65 and is apparently specific to Bali.
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Old 6th October 2022, 12:24 PM   #6
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Yes it looks like a short Balinese blade.
This rare style of gandik with the long kembang kacang/ cunguh gajah is called "gandik lantang cunguh gajah lantang" (long) according to the book from Neka page 65 and is apparently specific to Bali.
Thanks Jean. We’re there any photographs of other examples in that book. I don’t own it.
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Old 7th October 2022, 12:32 AM   #7
A. G. Maisey
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I'm inclined to run with Bali, but really, I find a lot of difficulty in labelling Balinese style keris either "Bali" or "Lombok", the Balinese themselves regarded the Lombok colonies as parts of their realm, the parts of Lombok that were not Balinese colonies were populated by people from other places, such as the Bugis & the Sasaks, and sometimes we do find an overlap of indicators so we might decide that a keris that is in essence Balinese, does also tend towards Javanese, but if Javanese, then we need to also consider Blambangan, because there were Balinese living in East Jawa, and Javanese living in West Bali.

A lot of Balinese keris are shorter than the large ones we usually expect to see, in fact, a lot of older Balinese keris were made in East Jawa, and were used by people other than the elites & nobles.

Big keris = Big Man (hierarchically), and there are a whole lot more little people than there were knights & nobles.
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Old 7th October 2022, 01:34 AM   #8
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I tend to agree with you on this front Alan, but when i see a blade that falls outside the more common appearance of Bali keris from the period i tend to look for other possible origins. It has little to due with the shorter size and more the odd appearance on the gandik.
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Old 7th October 2022, 05:05 AM   #9
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Yes, the form is a bit outside what we expect to encounter, the pamor is also a bit uncommon for a Bali made blade, but all in all, for me, it has the overall appearance of Bali, and I would be reluctant to try to place it elsewhere on the basis of a photo.
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Old 7th October 2022, 10:35 AM   #10
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I attach the copy of the page in the Neka book.
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Old 9th October 2022, 08:22 PM   #11
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Thanks Jean!
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