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Old 9th December 2011, 01:44 PM   #1
Karttikeya
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Default Keris Blambangan Pamor Nyekrak

Just for sharing...Dapur Tilam Upih, pamor Ujung Gunung or any opinions are welcome. Can we call this pamor type as pamor luluhan or only pamor nyekrak (I do not know how to translate it in English)? If we touch the blade with finger, we will find that pamor layer is sharp with irregularly surface. I am wondering what is the different between pamor miring and pamor nyekrak, which one more difficult to be made? To my eye, this keris possesses features of Blambangan keris, but I think Madura made also can be accepted.
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Old 9th December 2011, 09:17 PM   #2
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Karttikeya

Ujung gunung is pamor miring .

All pamor miring motifs are manufactured by a method which incorporates the manipulation of the layers of pamor to an angle of 90 degrees, that is, it changes the orientation of the layers of pamor material from horizontal to vertical.

Can you provide a photo looking down onto the gonjo from end to end, so that we may see both the sirah cecak and the buntut urang.

About the terms "luluhan" and "nyekrak".

These words are not a part of the usual keris vocabulary in the circles in which I move. Harsrinuksmo appears not to list the terms, Haryoguritno appears not to use the terms.

I do not understand what these two words convey to you in a keris related sense.

If you can explain your understanding of these two words in Indonesian I will be happy to translate to English, and we may be able to help. I can guess the meanings in a non-keris related sense, but for clarity we need to know your understanding of these words as they apply to the keris.

If the moderators have a problem with the posting of a language other than English to this thread, please advise, and Karttikeya can send me his explanation by private message.
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Old 10th December 2011, 03:35 AM   #3
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Pak Alan, probably these 2 photographs of ganja can satisfy your request athough not too obvious I think, sorry. Somebody told me that pamor nyekrak is a term of pamor miring type which refers to rough and sharp surface, seems like done by kamalan method (again, I do not know how to translate kamalan word in English). Frankly, I do not know about that Regarding pamor luluhan, actually no one has told me the meaning of that, but I ever read that pamor luluhan is related to pamor Pitrang Sorry I cannot explain anymore because I do not know..
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Old 10th December 2011, 04:31 AM   #4
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Thanks for the pics Karttikeya.

From what I can see in the photos you've provided, I'm inclined towards classification of this blade as Tuban. The usual qualification:- if I held it in my hand, my opinion could easily change.

Regarding the terms, luluhan and nyekrak.

If you do not have any idea of what these terms convey to you, then I can't really offer much assistance.

Personally I would understand pamor luluhan to be a melted pamor, one where the temperature had become too high during the welding, and the materials melted into one another, rather than forming a motif with clearly defined boundaries to the contrasting materials.

Pamor nyekrak I cannot recall having heard used, but I guess it means "bent", same as mbengkok --- "krak" = bent. I cannot understand how it could refer to blade surface with high relief, unless the thinking is that because the surface rises and falls a lot, that surface is bent.

Pamor pitrang I don't know, Empu Pitrang, I do know --- Empu Supo when he was Blambangan.

Karttikeya, I would most respectfully suggest that when somebody uses a word that you do not understand, you should immediately ask for an explanation of that word. There is no shame in not understanding a word:- word meanings can change depending on context and depending on who uses them. This is most particularly true in Jawa , because Javanese is classified by linguists as a non-standardised language.

Then there is the propensity of Javanese people to follow the Humpty Dumpty rule:- " when I use a word it means exactly what I wish it to mean, no more, and no less" (Through the Looking Glass)

These things together can make a clear understanding of precisely what is meant in Javanese colloquial speech a little bit difficult sometimes. Even for native speakers of the language.
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Old 10th December 2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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Pamor luluhan is mentioned and described on page 340 of the EK.
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Old 10th December 2011, 03:47 PM   #6
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Pak Alan, I don't think that nyekrak means bent or bengkok in Bahasa. Actually I do not know what is translation of nyekrak in Bahasa, but I am sure nyekrak does not mean bent. Maybe anybody can help to translate nyekrak in Bahasa or even English is much better. Even if nyekrak means bent or bengkok and referred to your statement that "the thinking is that because the surface rises and falls a lot, that surface is bent." I still cannot imagine that. If you handle this blade then you will know what I mean nyekrak, anyway I believe you already knew it in fact. Or probably you can see the photographs of sor-soran, I think these 2 photos are quite clear which impress high relief surface. Not all pamor miring are nyekrak, but all pamor nyekrak are definitely pamor miring. If we see low and slanted gandik and gilig blade (again, I do not know how to translate gilig in English), I deal with Blambangan blade.
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Old 10th December 2011, 03:48 PM   #7
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Jean, thank you for the informations.
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Old 10th December 2011, 04:19 PM   #8
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Nyekrak is rough and gilig is rounded
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Old 10th December 2011, 04:41 PM   #9
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Thank you for your enlightenment, tunggulametung. Yes, nyekrak is something like rough, but only rough does not fit on applying all nyekrak features on the related blade. Word rough is too common to convey basic understanding of nyekrak. Yes, sure you know what is the meaning of nyekrak by saying nyekrak is simply rough, but for anybody who never heard nyekrak, rough sounds puzzle. Regarding gilig, is it similiar with ngelimpa or wuwung?
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Old 10th December 2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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yes
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Old 10th December 2011, 09:23 PM   #11
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Thanks Jean.

One of my faults:- I don't read the keris books much; I've looked at that entry now, and it is in fact what my understanding was, even though I've not heard the term in keris related discussion. My vocabulary of keris terms depends upon what I have heard used in conversation with people in Jawa, as does my vocab of Indonesian and Javanese. I don't retain things very well from books.


With the word "nyekrak", as I've said, I've not heard this word used in a keris related discussion, in fact, I don't know the word. I do know "krak", which is not Indonesian, but Javanese and it means "bent", I've been told that in a different context it can mean "extremely angry".

After having read the description of what is meant by "nyekrak" I very strongly suspect that the word is not "nyekrak" at all, but correctly "nyekerak". I'm pretty sure that "kerak" is used in Indonesian as well as Javanese.

Pronunciation of both nyekrak and nyekerak would be virtually indistinguishable, only context would provide meaning.

The root for nyekerak is kerak, and kerak means "very old and dry", or as it is commonly used "crusty" its what you call the rice crust that sticks to the pan. You would use the same word --- kerak --- for mud that had splashed up onto the side of your car and dried there as a crust.

Nyekerak then becomes a perfectly understandable description for the particular quality of a type of pamor :- its rough like rice crust in a pan. Describes it perfectly.


As for gilig, it is not rounded, but cylindrical. In Javanese round or spherical is "bunder", gilig is also Javanese and it means cylindrical. Certainly, a segment of a cylinder can be rounded, but gilig does not mean round. I do not know if not gilig is used in Indonesian, but in Indonesian, the Javanese "bunder" becomes "bundar".

Root of "ngelimpa" is "limpa" = "spleen". A blade that is ngelimpa has an ovoid cross section, like the spleen.

"Wuwung" is "roof", a blade that has a cross section with a sharply defined ada-ada could be said to have a wuwung cross section.

I do not think that "gilig", which means "cylindrical" can be taken as a synonym for "spleen-like" or "roof".
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Old 11th December 2011, 06:05 AM   #12
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Hello, yes cylindrical is a better translation for gilig.
I hope we didn't drifted too far from the subject, however nyekrak maybe derived from nyekreki->nyekrek->cekrek. In where I live nyekrak can be rough, thorny, etc, I don't know how it is means in other region.
I'm sorry I associated wuwung with individual rooftop which is traditionally rounded, in fact in keris terminology it should be the rooftop as a whole, hence flat
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Old 13th December 2011, 03:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karttikeya
Thank you for your enlightenment, tunggulametung. Yes, nyekrak is something like rough, but only rough does not fit on applying all nyekrak features on the related blade. Word rough is too common to convey basic understanding of nyekrak. Yes, sure you know what is the meaning of nyekrak by saying nyekrak is simply rough, but for anybody who never heard nyekrak, rough sounds puzzle. Regarding gilig, is it similiar with ngelimpa or wuwung?
I often hear pamor "nyekrak" here in Jakarta. We use this word to describe the tipe of pamor which is Rough, looks like foating on the blade surface,and some has sharp edge (in pamor miring) so it can hurt your finger .
I do agree wtih Alan for the tangguh. It's should be a tuban keris.
We can not expect that every keris with pamor miring is a blambangan.
I can say this to you Karttikeya, It's not easy to find a blambangan keris.
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Old 13th December 2011, 04:38 AM   #14
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Hi Ferry, even though Alan said that this keris can be classified as Tuban blade based on photograpgh but he also said that his opinion can be changed easily if he handle the blade, so it sounds possible if the tangguh change from Tuban to Blambangan . To my eye, low and slanted gandik, probably its skewness, when I refer to another Blambangan blade which is owned by my friend, I can say that this keris looks like it. For me, I am not confused with tangguh matter, since I like it, I will keep it. Anyway, thank you for your information.
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:51 AM   #15
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Thanks for that explanation Ferry. As I've said, I'd never heard the word used in relation to pamor, but it does make perfect sense, however, I feel that the word is "nyekerak", not "nyekrak". Pronunciation would be virtually the same, but "nyekrak" simply makes no sense. "nyekerak" makes a lot of sense. I have run this past several native speakers of Javanese since I first tendered my opinion on the confusion attached to this word, and all have said pretty much what I'm saying now. None are keris people, but they all speak Javanese every day of their lives.

Karttikeya, the tangguh game is essentially a system of classification, and it involves giving an opinion. However, when we give an opinion that results in classifying a keris as one tangguh or another, we need to be able to substantiate that opinion. When I said that I thought your keris was likely to be Tuban, rather than Blambangan, I was drawing upon a dozen or so indicators that in a perfect example of a Tuban blade would be found to exist. Because I'm only looking at a photo, not holding the blade in my hand, I cannot apply all of the indicators, however, in the case of a blade with tangguh Tuban, the top of the gonjo is very hard to ignore as a primary indicator of tangguh, add to that the cross section of the blade, and there is probably enough evidence from the photo to say I'm better than 90% sure that a classification of Tuban for your blade would be very difficult to disallow.

Now, if we look at tangguh Blambangan, Ki Darmosoegito provides 8 indicators for tangguh Blambangan. The very first of those indicators is:

wangunipun ganja, sebit lontar = the form of the gonjo is sebit lontar

for your keris we need read no further, because quite clearly the gonjo of your keris is not sebit lontar.

You see, it is not sufficient to say --- well my friend has a Blambangan keris, and my keris looks like his keris.

Just maybe your friend's keris is not Blambangan either --- well, at least not by the standards set by the great ahli keris of the past, such as Ki Darmosoegito, and Mas Ngabehi Wirasoekadgo .

If we wish to classify a keris as any tangguh, we need to be able to give the reasons why we favour one particular tangguh above others, and that supportive argument usually includes a number of specific reasons, reasons that we can back up by reference to a recognized past authority. My own usual authority is Empu Suparman Supowijoyo, and he drew upon Darmosoegito and Wirasoekadgo.

With some tangguh classifications we may not be able to quote a past authority, a very sticky tangguh in this regard is Banten, if this is the case, that we cannot quote an authority, then we need to be able to support our opinion with a logical argument.

Yes, tangguh is just opinion, but if that opinion is to have any value, and to be respected by others, it needs to be able to be substantiated.
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Old 13th December 2011, 01:43 PM   #16
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Pak Alan, thank you for your explanations. I am sorry, in my understanding this ganja type is sebit rontal, correct me if I am wrong, if not sebit rontal then what type of ganja can be addressed on this ganja form? May I know how do you recognise primary indicator of tangguh from the top of the ganja? Does the top of the ganja mean sirah cecak? Thank you in advance..
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Old 13th December 2011, 08:53 PM   #17
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The images shown with this post come from Ensiklopedi Keris.

Sebit rontal gonjo have a "waist" between the wide part of the gonjo that the pesi penetrates (gendhok), and the narrow end of the gonjo (buntut urang).

The other major type of gonjo is the nguceng mati form, it has a buntut urang that comes to a point.

The classic Tuban gonjo is neither nguceng mati, nor sebit rontal, it looks like nguceng mati that has been cut off, so it has flat sides like nguceng mati, no waist, but the buntut urang is cut off more or less square.

There are sub-types of Tuban blades, :- Tuban -Mataram, Tuban -Pajajaran, even Tuban-Majapahit, and all these sub-types display minor differences from mainstream Tuban, these minor differences include variation in the form of the gonjo.

The Tuban gonjo is particularly recognizable because the sirah cecak is noticeably rounded, and of course, because of the shape of the rest of the gonjo, which is quite different to any other gonjo, except perhaps Segaluh, but Segaluh has the pesi placed differently, so it is easy to identify. This is the reason why experienced keris people are confident to name a blade as Tuban while it is still in the wrongko, and all they can see is the top of the gonjo.
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:02 PM   #18
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Hello Alan,

only for my better understanding, do you mean a shape like shown in my pictures? I don't want to say that this is a Tuban blade but think that this is the shape you referring about.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 13th December 2011, 10:42 PM   #19
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That is moving towards the shape, Detlef, but it still seems to have a slightly less than straight side between gendhok and buntut urang --- maybe its camera angle.

Also bear this in mind:- there are parameters within which the gonjo can fall, and still be classifiable as one form or another. This is the foundation of tangguh:- opinion.

My opinion, based upon what I can see in your photos is that this gonjo is not pure Tuban, but in the hand, it might be. One thing is certain, your gonjo is not sebit rontal, neither is it nguceng mati --- but is it Tuban? Maybe, maybe not. In the case of your gonjo I would want to see and handle the blade before I was certain.
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Old 13th December 2011, 11:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
That is moving towards the shape, Detlef, but it still seems to have a slightly less than straight side between gendhok and buntut urang --- maybe its camera angle.

Also bear this in mind:- there are parameters within which the gonjo can fall, and still be classifiable as one form or another. This is the foundation of tangguh:- opinion.

My opinion, based upon what I can see in your photos is that this gonjo is not pure Tuban, but in the hand, it might be. One thing is certain, your gonjo is not sebit rontal, neither is it nguceng mati --- but is it Tuban? Maybe, maybe not. In the case of your gonjo I would want to see and handle the blade before I was certain.
Like I have written was it my intention to know if I understand you correct. But here two pictures of the blade and a picture direct from up to the gonjo without handle.
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Old 14th December 2011, 12:59 AM   #21
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Detlef, your photo is at an angle, I can't see any more from this than from the previous ones. What you are looking for is a straight line, without any inward curve, between gendhok and buntut urang. If you have that there is a very strong probability you're looking at Tuban, if do not have that, you might have Tuban, you might have something else.

All I can say is that you are moving towards the Tuban form.

A real life example is actually pretty useless for this game, because what we are trying to do is to set a standard and a standard is best set from a drawing. In an actual example there can a very great range of variation that can still fit within the parameters.

Clip the buntut urang square on a nguceng mati, and that is Tuban.It has the appearance of having been foreshortened.
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Old 14th December 2011, 01:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
The images shown with this post come from Ensiklopedi Keris.

Sebit rontal gonjo have a "waist" between the wide part of the gonjo that the pesi penetrates (gendhok), and the narrow end of the gonjo (buntut urang).

The other major type of gonjo is the nguceng mati form, it has a buntut urang that comes to a point.

The classic Tuban gonjo is neither nguceng mati, nor sebit rontal, it looks like nguceng mati that has been cut off, so it has flat sides like nguceng mati, no waist, but the buntut urang is cut off more or less square.

There are sub-types of Tuban blades, :- Tuban -Mataram, Tuban -Pajajaran, even Tuban-Majapahit, and all these sub-types display minor differences from mainstream Tuban, these minor differences include variation in the form of the gonjo.

The Tuban gonjo is particularly recognizable because the sirah cecak is noticeably rounded, and of course, because of the shape of the rest of the gonjo, which is quite different to any other gonjo, except perhaps Segaluh, but Segaluh has the pesi placed differently, so it is easy to identify. This is the reason why experienced keris people are confident to name a blade as Tuban while it is still in the wrongko, and all they can see is the top of the gonjo.
Alan, I always admire the way you explain on tangguh. I have no doubt this keris is a tuban, and I quite sure of it.
Blambangan keris are quite famous between keris collectors and keris dealers here ini Indonesia. in my 6 years experience in keris, I only met a few blambangan keris which I can really sure it is indeed a blambangan.
I met The most magnificent blambangan keris in 2009, the dhapur is sepokal and the pamor is blarak.
I have some indication which that make me sure it is blambangan keris. and it has sebit rontal gonjo, the buntut urang is wide, the iron just similar to a good majapahit.
Since the keris was come with a splendid sandangan that I just cant afford.
the pendok was bunton krawang with 160 gram of 23 karat gold, the selut and mendak is 20 gram of 23karat gold. and the warangka is an original aromatic sandal wood surakarta ladrang iras. that's what I call A perfect harmony in a keris dress. and I just can't afford it. what a tragic story I have.
There's no picture, sorry .
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Old 14th December 2011, 02:52 AM   #23
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Yeah Ferry, I think its Tuban too, but I really dislike being too positive when I don't have the thing in my hand.

Photos can lie.

What happens if you get it your hand and you find it is short? or a thin, wimpy little thing? or the iron is wrong? there are a heap of keris out there that look like something in a pic, but as soon as you pick them up you realise you've got something made by some village smith in back of beyond, and you really couldn't give it a justifiable tangguh at all --- not that that stops a lot of people.

Yes, keris that can be classified as Blambangan are pretty few and far between.

The dress on that one you missed sounds quite exceptional, but its a fact of life that we can't have everything we might like.

Deprivation is good for the soul.
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Old 14th December 2011, 03:34 AM   #24
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Pak Alan ,thank you for your explanations. Detlef, thank you for sharing nice keris photographs.
In my opinion, we cannot strickly apply the features of ganja sebit rontal ideally like the above reference, probably empu intend to make ganja sebit rontal but final result is not like ideal ganja sebit rontal with significant waist between the wide part of the gonjo that the pesi penetrates, and the narrow end of the gonjo and looks like nguceng mati that has been cut off. Some people told me that this ganja can be classified as ganja sebit rontal, although the shape is not so ideal as ganja sebit rontal like your picture. The people who told me that this ganja is sebit rontal are experienced, surely more experienced than me because I am beginner on this. Pak Alan, I have no doubt with your knowledges and experiences in keris and Javanese culture, because you have said that you are 90% sure that this is Tuban blade, I appreciate your opinion.
Secondly I have not found Tuban keris with pamor nyekrak like this. If any member has Tuban blade with pamor nyekrak like my blade, kindly share with us, I am glad to learn much more in this forum. I have a blade, supposed to be Tuban, but I noticed this keris totally different different with this blade, iron, pamor, style are different.
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Old 14th December 2011, 06:40 AM   #25
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Yes, the pamor is a problem. No doubt of it.

This is one reason why I say "90%'. Playing tangguh is difficult enough at any time, but from photos?

This is the reason I always qualify my statements:- "based on what I can see in the photograph ---"
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Old 14th December 2011, 08:58 AM   #26
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Pak Alan, for me score 90% shows that you have placed gonjo type on much higher position rather than iron, pamor, style characteristics in giving opinion of a blade. Gonjo shape, if we refer to gonjo type, sometimes we cannot expect 100% that the gonjo should fit drawing literatures, because empu is not only one and of course they will have different perception for every gonjo type. Most the empu who live in early era, probably they do not use guidebook in making blade, but the knowledges have been transferred orally, and it is possible every empu has different perception to translate the oral knowledges from their precursor.
Pak Alan, I am sorry, I have no intention to cornered you and led you to agree that my keris is Blambangan. I respect you and I learn many things from you.
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Old 14th December 2011, 09:27 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karttikeya
In my opinion, we cannot strickly apply the features of ganja sebit rontal ideally like the above reference, probably empu intend to make ganja sebit rontal but final result is not like ideal ganja sebit rontal with significant waist between the wide part of the gonjo that the pesi penetrates, and the narrow end of the gonjo and looks like nguceng mati that has been cut off. Some people told me that this ganja can be classified as ganja sebit rontal, although the shape is not so ideal as ganja sebit rontal like your picture.
Sebit Ron versus Sebit Ron Tal
According to the EK (page 413), the term Sebit Ron designates a ganja with a "waist" on the back side when looked from the top and as shown by Alan, while the term Sebit Ron Tal designates a ganja which has a shape which curves downwards on the back side when looked from the front. So the 2 terms designate different features.
IMO the kris from Karttikeya has a gonjo wuwung (see EK page 537) in which the top and bottom lines are more or less parallel when looked from the front.
Best regards
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Old 14th December 2011, 09:35 AM   #28
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Karttikeya, I would ask you to understand this:-

My opinions in respect of tangguh are not formed from my own experience, except in the case of Banten.

Any other time I give an opinion on tangguh I am only repeating what I have been taught by Empu Suparman Supowijoyo, Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo, and the writings of the old time ahli keris such as Darmosoegito and Wirasoekadgo.

I don't invent things. I don't form opinions based on the discussion of last Sunday afternoon with some keris group or other. I only repeat what I have been taught.

It is impossible for you, or for anybody else to offend me in even the slightest degree when it comes to a discussion on tangguh, because the opinions I put forward are not children of my own conception.

Those opinions are come from far more knowledgeable people than I, all I do is repeat their opinions.

It took me better than 15 years to reach even a very basic understanding of tangguh, and since I reached that "kindergarten" level, it has taken me about another 15 years to reach where I am now. That 30 years of learning has resulted in only the ability to see something as my primary teacher would want me to see it.

So you see Karttikeya, any disagreement with what I may say, is not really a disagreement with me.

I have said time and time and time again that it is not possible to adequately settle a question of tangguh from pictures on a computer screen.

I doubt that many people believe this, because continually people like you post photos and ask "is this Sultan Agung?" or "is this Blambangan?"

If I put forward my opinion it is based upon what I can see.

No more. No less.

There is absolutely not the slightest doubt that your blade does display some characteristics of tangguh Tuban, but is Tuban? Probably, but I cannot say for certain unless I hold it in my hand.

Is it Blambangan? Very, very, very unlikely, but again, I cannot say with certainty unless I hold it in my hand.

However --- the wonderful thing about the tangguh game is that it is a game based on opinion. Anybody can have his own opinion. However, if one wishes one's opinion to be taken seriously, one must be able to defend that opinion --- but only if one wishes others to accept it.

If you, Kartttikeya, wish to believe that your keris is Blambangan, I have not the smallest problem with that :- it is your keris, and you can believe it is Blambangan if you wish. What you may believe is none of my concern:- I neither gain nor lose from your beliefs.

But your difficulty may arise in convincing others that it is Blambangan.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 14th December 2011 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 14th December 2011, 05:27 PM   #29
Sajen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Detlef, your photo is at an angle, I can't see any more from this than from the previous ones. What you are looking for is a straight line, without any inward curve, between gendhok and buntut urang. If you have that there is a very strong probability you're looking at Tuban, if do not have that, you might have Tuban, you might have something else.

All I can say is that you are moving towards the Tuban form.
Thank you Alan for your explanation. BTW, there is a very slight inward curve between gendhok and buntut urang. But again, my intention was to understand and learn, not to know which tanguh have this blade.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 14th December 2011, 08:43 PM   #30
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Yes, I understand your intention Detlef, but real life examples are much less satisfactory than drawings to understand the parameters of tangguh classifications. The reason for this is that the interpretation of a feature can vary within a fairly wide range, and the blade can still be given one tangguh or another.

Neither your gonjo, nor Karttikeya's gonjo are pure Tuban, but if they are not Tuban , you then need to ask what they are. There are only so many classifications to choose from --- well, legitimate classifications. Once that rounded sirah cecak comes into the picture, you've virtually got nowhere else to go, other than Tuban.

If all that can be seen is the sirah cecak, you can consider Segaluh, but true Segaluh is nguceng mati, so when the buntut urang does not come to a point, you simply have nowhere else to go, other than Tuban.

But there can be variation, because only the smiths who were central to the classification would maintain that central standard. Unlike most other tangguh, Tuban was a trading center, not a kraton nor an administrative center, and the blades that we classify as Tuban would have been produced over a wide area , along the north coast, and for a little way into the hinterland, then brought to Tuban city to trade.Additionally, Tuban covered an extended time period. But the constant indicators seem to be the gonjo of a particular form, and the cross section of the blade, which is rounded, like rotan.

Within Tuban major classification there are a number of sub-classifications, and the indicators can vary through a very wide range for these.

Very, very seldom do we get a blade that is a textbook example of any tangguh, it is virtually always a matter of looking at all the indicators and forming an opinion based on those indicators. For instance, to carry out a full appraisal of a blade that on primary examination appears to be Tuban, I would need to closely examine and consider a minimum of 13 indicators. From a photograph I can only do a partial evaluation of perhaps 3 or 4 indicators.

Apart from legitimate tangguh classifications there are thousands, probably millions of blades out there that should never be given a tangguh at all. These blades are the product of smiths of greater or lesser talent who were working away from the direct influence of a major center that had a distinct style. Thus we get strange combinations and muddled interpretations. In fact, if we stick with the original concept of tangguh classification, 99.9% of all blades that we encounter probably could not be blessed with a tangguh.

This current obsession with tangguh is the product of a number of factors, firstly there is innate desire of people to classify, and collectors and Javanese people in particular are very given to this desire, then there is the motivation of dealers. If we can attach a tangguh to a blade it gives an additional selling point, and a degree of legitimacy, very often undeserved legitimacy, this of course translates into money.

People in Jawa who hold deep knowledge of the keris have a little saying when the subject of tangguh comes up for discussion:-

tangguh nggak sungguh = tangguh isn't real

and of course in most cases it is not:- it is an opinion, and everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion. But as with all things, all opinions are not equal.
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