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Old 24th June 2021, 07:05 PM   #31
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Yes Kubur, you're absolutely correct, this sword was produced in Jawa, and Javanese society and culture is very symbolic in nature, but this particular sword was not produced in accordance with Javanese guidelines, it was produced, or rather dressed, for a European client, this dress is colonial dress, not the type of dress that would have been on the blade originally.

I do not think the faces have no purpose, but that purpose was not related to any Javanese symbolism, it is most likely related to the employer of the man who would have worn this sword, in other words, his "Lord", probably on occasion addressed as "Sinuhun", and perhaps a little bit mockingly.

A powerful European master, and clearly a benevolent one, indicated by his broad smile, would have some protective value and would be a constant reminder to the wearer of who paid his wages and provided for his family.
An absolutely wonderful explanation and well supported by noting that the style of dress in not being consistent with typical Javanese weapons of this type.

Here I would note that theology, religion and metaphysical symbolism is not very well supported by 'empirical evidence'. This is one reason why the study and explanation of weapons decoration and motif has long been excluded in academic material.

The only proven 'facts' are the comparison of similar motif or symbols occurring on numerous examples, and often the provenance (if supported) and preponderance of occurrence in certain regions or context.

As I mentioned, I have long been fascinated by symbolisms in arms and armor motif, elements and markings, so I agree in being a bit reticent in accepting that a strategically placed element or figure is simply randomly chosen.

As well noted here by Mr. Maisey, just as in art, there is a degree of character in the choice of demeanor or presentation of elements in the motif on a weapon. One cannot look at many of the figures in European blade markings without seeing them as 'cartoonish' (many man in the moon, and other Tarot style cosmological figures).
Just as Ian earlier suggested, and clearly well placed as confirmed by Mr. Maisey, the European figure with the ruffled surround seemed profoundly European.

I would like to thank everybody here for the excellent discussion, which has brought this weapon I have had for many years, and from Mr. Maisey, into wonderful new perspective and appreciation.
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Old 25th June 2021, 07:26 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
Yes Kubur, you're absolutely correct, this sword was produced in Jawa, and Javanese society and culture is very symbolic in nature, but this particular sword was not produced in accordance with Javanese guidelines, it was produced, or rather dressed, for a European client, this dress is colonial dress, not the type of dress that would have been on the blade originally.
I do not think the faces have no purpose, but that purpose was not related to any Javanese symbolism
I greatly respect your experience and opinion.

And I personaly don't know the meaning and symbolic of these faces.

But it is not because I don't know that I will accept any belief. As for the Toyota, I had many Toyota's, but I'm not a mechanic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey View Post
it is most likely related to the employer of the man who would have worn this sword, in other words, his "Lord", probably on occasion addressed as "Sinuhun", and perhaps a little bit mockingly.

A powerful European master, and clearly a benevolent one, indicated by his broad smile, would have some protective value and would be a constant reminder to the wearer of who paid his wages and provided for his family.
In my opinion, the text above is a personal narrative, your (nice) story about this sword, but we do not have the story of this sword.

Maybe, the most important is not what we see, but what we believe...
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Old 25th June 2021, 08:21 AM   #33
A. G. Maisey
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I did have a previous comment in this spot, but I decided it was a waste of space.

I have stated my professional opinion, and in this field, I am a professional with a pretty hefty resume.

In the context of this discussion my opinion is a statement of advice on a matter that relates to my profession.

I have offered my advice as a gesture of goodwill, and free of charge.

Accept my opinion or reject it, it is entirely up to you, and of no interest at all to me whether it is accepted or not.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 25th June 2021 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 25th June 2021, 02:07 PM   #34
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The face (ofen with fangs and a mane) are very common on hilt of javanese Pedang lurus.
In this case the face on the hook of the scabbard looks like a lion drawn by someone who has never seen one. On the hilt It's a mix between a human face and a lion.
I think that is the lion of the dutch crown, moreover the guard is typically in western style.
So, it's clearly a fitting from the colonial period with many characteristics and symbols of European origins.

But this is my personal interpretation.
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Old 25th June 2021, 09:03 PM   #35
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That is a solid suggestion Athanase, the Dutch Lion is a recurring motif during the period we're looking at, it is found in objects related to the Dutch overlords, both government and private, and also on objects that were associated with Javanese lords who had aligned themselves with the Dutch.

All the Dutch Lion representations I have seen look much more like an animal than the motif on this sword does, but as you say, perhaps the product of a provincial hand and with no picture to guide. Why not?

However, if we are prepared to accept a lion relationship, and I for one am, why not a humanoid figure with a lord represented as lion? This is extremely common artistic practice in Jawa, and has been for a very long time.
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Old 26th June 2021, 05:46 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur View Post
I greatly respect your experience and opinion.

And I personaly don't know the meaning and symbolic of these faces.

But it is not because I don't know that I will accept any belief. As for the Toyota, I had many Toyota's, but I'm not a mechanic.



In my opinion, the text above is a personal narrative, your (nice) story about this sword, but we do not have the story of this sword.

Maybe, the most important is not what we see, but what we believe...
As agreed, it is understandable to have differences in thoughts, belief and opinion, and while it does not seem worthwhile to drag out what has become a philosophical debate, it seems important to note something.

In investigative research a theory may often be presented in the form of an analogy, for all intents and purposes, a 'story'(though emphatically I would not choose that term). It is used to illustrate a possible situation based on factual data at hand (i.e.physical or tangible evidence) and used to create a fluid image of possible occurrence.

Sometimes these can be researched more specifically, and more facts or evidence can be added to increase the probability. However, often there is no tangible evidence to be had, and what remains is a theory which can range from reasonable plausibility to 'compelling' plausibility.

Here it is important to note that a theory is just that, and in the absence of further evidence which cannot prove or disprove the theory, the reader has their own choice of what to believe. However it is important as well not to discount or dismiss an analogy summarily as it is not an assertion, but just a theory.

I just read an amazing article in which sword blades with markings which should not have been on them (Klingenthal markings on British sword blades in the Napoleonic period). The author presents a wonderfully detailed and highly plausible theory, based on known FACTS of circumstances of the time.
Equally, we are presently examining a Japanese tachi sword which has a startling use of a European (probably British) blade. This pairing is more than unlikely, almost seemingly impossible, but we present theories (potentially analogies) of how this might have occurred.

In studying the history of arms, just as in all history, it is the use of what is known as 'historical detection' or ratiocination, deductive reasoning.
Analogies, or presumptive theories are not 'stories' (created for entertainment) but as illustrative tools used by worthy scholars in the study of a problem and possible explanations. To portray them otherwise is less than respectful .

Im just sayin' and expressing my personal opinion based on the many years I have researched history through arms and armor.

Meanwhile, thanks to everybody for a great discussion and for providing a wonderful understanding of the sword I posted here.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 27th June 2021 at 05:32 PM.
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