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Old 9th June 2013, 08:03 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Banjarmasin keris?

Hello,

I get offered this keris and want to ask you if you agree that this keris is maybe a Banjarmasin keris. I am allowed to show the pictures here. Handle is maritime ivory and very well patinated.
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Old 11th June 2013, 06:13 PM   #2
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Very nice hilt, Detlef, albeit the carving was rather crude!

Can't comment on the keris as I know next to nothing about Banjarmasin kerises...
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Old 11th June 2013, 08:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moshah
Very nice hilt, Detlef, albeit the carving was rather crude!

Can't comment on the keris as I know next to nothing about Banjarmasin kerises...
Hello Moshah,

nice to have you back here! Thank you for comment. Yes, the carving is crude and not very deep. I don't know if there are members who have a deep knowledge abaut Banjar kerises. Many will have seen pictures from kerises described as Banjarmasin but I doubt there is someone with a really deep knowledge.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 11th June 2013, 08:45 PM   #4
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I just won this piece on Ebay (sorry for the poor pictures) which at least has a genuine hilt & typical gayaman sheath from Banjar
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Old 11th June 2013, 08:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
I just won this piece on Ebay (sorry for the poor pictures) which at least has a genuine hilt & typical gayaman sheath from Banjar
Regards
Hello Jean,

very nice keris, can you post bigger pictures from the blade? My first impression is that the blade have a strong Palembang touch.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 12th June 2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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Congrats, Jean!

I believe your piece does deserve a seperate thread with larger pics once you receive it.

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Kai
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Old 12th June 2013, 07:57 AM   #7
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Hello Detlef,

In the keris you inquire about I don't see any feature that IMVHO clearly points to a Banjar origin; the hilt doesn't look like Solo, Yogya, nor Madura craftmanship to me either. Banjar carving work tends to be very neat, especially floral or geometric design elements found with (non-figural) wooden hilts. I agree that this hilt seems to be old and exhibits some genuine wear; it's certainly desirable and warrants further research. I'd hesitate to associate it with the buzzing economical hub and international melting pot of the Banjar/Negara area and would tend to look for more of a backwater in those days as a possible origin.

This seems to be a kinda odd ensemble: How well does the blade fit into the scabbard? Any close-ups of the base of the blade as well as of the mendak? I hope our members specializing in Java/Madura will also chime in...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 12th June 2013, 08:48 AM   #8
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Hello Detlef and Kai,
Thank you and OK, I will post better pictures when I receive it and I will probably need to slightly refurbish the gandar (fully covered with coiled & glued thread). I agree that the origin of the blade is not clear and it is not a fantastic piece but it has age and fits well into the sheath slot. According to the seller this kris was purchased in Indonesia about 40 years ago.
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Old 12th June 2013, 11:35 AM   #9
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I dont' know about the blade but i think the hilt is not from kalimantan. It seems made for dress a selut (jogja or solo). I never seen ( of course in my personal experience) a banjarmasin hilt with a javanise selut. Imo maybe this hilt hade a lost selut that married well the mendak of the pic
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Old 12th June 2013, 12:12 PM   #10
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Hello Marco,

Quote:
It seems made for dress a selut (jogja or solo).
It's based on the style of hilt intended for a selut. However, I don't think it was ever meant to be fitted with such a mendak+selut combo: There is decorative carving below the waved line that a suitable selut would cover. Thus, I believe it's an outsider's adaption of the central Jawa (Solo) style.

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Kai
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Old 12th June 2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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You are right Kai . I agree
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Old 12th June 2013, 01:25 PM   #12
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Strange is the oval base of the hilt ...created not for the mendak of the pic. It would be right for a ring as Bali or Lombok ring but ( i have looked some of my banjarmasin hilts just now)...also for the little selut of banjarmasin wood -gold leaf hilts. So i am more confused than before :-p
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Old 12th June 2013, 06:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Detlef,

In the keris you inquire about I don't see any feature that IMVHO clearly points to a Banjar origin; the hilt doesn't look like Solo, Yogya, nor Madura craftmanship to me either. Banjar carving work tends to be very neat, especially floral or geometric design elements found with (non-figural) wooden hilts. I agree that this hilt seems to be old and exhibits some genuine wear; it's certainly desirable and warrants further research. I'd hesitate to associate it with the buzzing economical hub and international melting pot of the Banjar/Negara area and would tend to look for more of a backwater in those days as a possible origin.

This seems to be a kinda odd ensemble: How well does the blade fit into the scabbard? Any close-ups of the base of the blade as well as of the mendak? I hope our members specializing in Java/Madura will also chime in...

Regards,
Kai
Hello Kai,

this was the reason why I post it. But it seems that the blade, scabbard and hilt belong together but wouldn't be surprised when the mendak is a later addition. This keris is a real puzzle for me.

Here some additional pictures.

Best regards,

Detlef
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Old 13th June 2013, 09:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
Strange is the oval base of the hilt ...created not for the mendak of the pic. It would be right for a ring as Bali or Lombok ring but ( i have looked some of my banjarmasin hilts just now)...also for the little selut of banjarmasin wood -gold leaf hilts. So i am more confused than before :-p
Hello Marco,
I think that very few among us are familiar with the gilded wood Banjarmasin hilts and seluts which you mention, it would be appreciated if you can show us some typical specimens.
And regarding the ivory hilt shown by Detlef, I never saw a similar piece but would posibly attribute it to East Java with a specific local style.
Regards
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Old 13th June 2013, 03:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
And regarding the ivory hilt shown by Detlef, I never saw a similar piece but would posibly attribute it to East Java with a specific local style.
Regards
Hello Jean,

you could be right by your guess. How longer I look to this hilt I get the same feeling. Any guess about the blade?

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 13th June 2013, 08:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Jean,

you could be right by your guess. How longer I look to this hilt I get the same feeling. Any guess about the blade?

Regards,

Detlef
Hello Detlef,
Frankly I have no clear idea about the blade as well and was expecting Alan to comment on it. It has some very specific features such as the shape (short and wide), the thick and protruding kembang kacang, the peculiar lambe ganjah and grooves on the front of the ganja (a bit similar to Balinese blades). It seems to have some age from the worn greneng and gap between the blade and ganja. Because the hilt has some balinese influence, I would guess East Java Hindu area (Banyuwangi) but it is just an unsupported impression.
Anyway I find this mysterious kris very interesting! The engravings on the warangka are unusual also, the horn buntut looks Sumatrese but it could be a more recent repair.
Regards
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Old 13th June 2013, 08:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Hello Detlef,
Frankly I have no clear idea about the blade as well and was expecting Alan to comment on it. It has some very specific features such as the shape (short and wide), the thick and protruding kembang kacang, the peculiar lambe ganjah and grooves on the front of the ganja (a bit similar to Balinese blades). It seems to have some age from the worn greneng and gap between the blade and ganja. Because the hilt has some balinese influence, I would guess East Java Hindu area (Banyuwangi) but it is just an unsupported impression.
Anyway I find this mysterious kris very interesting! The engravings on the warangka are unusual also, the horn buntut looks Sumatrese but it could be a more recent repair.
Regards
Hello Jean,

thank you for your thoughts about this keris. My friend who offered this keris has had similar thoughts about this keris but we both are very unsure about the origin. All parts, scabbard, blade and as well the hilt are very unusual IMHO. The engravings at the warangka and the horn buntut are the reasons which let me think that it could be Banjarmasin.
I also have the hope that Alan will share his thoughts about the blade.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 13th June 2013, 11:29 PM   #18
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Probably the vast bulk of keris have been made according to established patterns:- patterns that follow the lead of either a tradition of a ruling house or of a group of people.

But sometimes a keris will be produced by a person, or in a place , where there is no established lead from either tradition or ruling house. When this happens, guidance is lacking.

The first keris that I made was certainly recognisable as a keris, but nobody could ever guess where it was produced, because although I knew very well what a keris looked like, I had not been taught the necessary elements of structure that would permit me to produce a keris that had some relationship with other keris . My first keris lacked a foundation. The same is true of every attempt at the making of a keris by any person who has not had the tuition of an established maker, and who is working outside a community with a keris tradition.

In my personal collection I have several similar keris. Keris that have been produced by somebody who had no tradition to draw upon. The makers had seen a keris, and they produced something that was keris-like, but it did not conform to a tradition.

Possibly what we are looking at here has a similar history:- a keris produced outside any recognisable tradition. Look at the individual elements:- a straight gonjo that is almost nguceng mati, but not Tuban, additionally the material seems not to be the same as the iron in the blade, and a different hand cut the attempt at a greneng than cut the greneng features in the blade; the kembang kacang looks a bit like nggelung wayang but doesn't quite make it; the proportions are not in conformity with anything I can recognise; it has pamor, but the maker had no idea at all of how to manage pamor.

So --- did this maker have any guidance or tradition to draw upon?

I doubt it.

The wrongko looks like a mixture of different elements. Since one of the functions of a wrongko is to provide an item of dress that conforms to dress in its particular area, and since this wrongko does not conform to any dress standard that I have seen, I'm only prepared to agree that yes, it is a wrongko.

Similar story with the hilt. It mimics some elements that appear in Central Javanese hilts, but all that additional ornamentation is not a part of anything I know.

Overall, this looks like a Javanese keris to my eye, but not of a Javanese tradition. I'd be inclined to classify the whole thing as folk art:- a collaboration between somebody who wanted or needed a keris and the village smith. Lots of little isolated villages in Central Jawa, even now. What would it have been like 100 or so years ago?

Actually, I rather like these keris that don't follow a tradition. They possibly get closer to the feeling of the people than any elite art work adorned with gold ever has any hope of doing.

The mendak is North Coast/Madura.

One question:- is the gandar from a single piece of wood, or is it from two pieces of wood that have been joined?
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Old 15th June 2013, 02:58 PM   #19
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Thank you Alan for your thoughts about this keris, very helpful.

The gandar is built up from two pieces.

Thanks again and best regards,

Detlef
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Old 4th July 2013, 09:31 AM   #20
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As promised I attach the pictures of my recently acquired Banjarmasin kris with the following comments for discussion:
The blade has a rough surface and it does not seem to be Javanese nor Buginese; a specific feature is the presence of small dots of pamor (tambal) regularly spaced along the blade. This is also found on another kris from Banjarmasin shown to me by another collector, does it mean that this style of blade is indigenous to Banjarmasin?
The hilt in Sumatra style is made from gilt brass and in excellent condition, the selut and virtually all the intens are still present.
The gayaman sheath is typical of Banjar, the gandar in 2 pieces is fully covered with very fine cotton thread which was replaced on the top part and a bit damaged at the tip but I will leave it in this condition.
Regards
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Old 4th July 2013, 01:48 PM   #21
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Very nice hilt Jean
.....also difficult to find
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Old 5th July 2013, 06:55 AM   #22
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Hey Jean, i really like that keris.
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Old 5th July 2013, 08:32 AM   #23
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Thanks David and Marco, this was a rare opportunity which I was pursuing since many years and I was surprised to be the only bidder on Ebay!
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Old 5th July 2013, 08:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
As promised I attach the pictures of my recently acquired Banjarmasin kris
Oh my, a lot of folks must have been sleeping - I for one certainly did!

Congrats, Jean, that's an outstanding nominee for the bargain of the year...

Maybe we can put this piece in a seperate thread? David, can you lend a helping hand with some mod magic?


Quote:
The blade has a rough surface and it does not seem to be Javanese nor Buginese
The maintenance of the blade looks kinda (generic) Bugis style to me.

I can't read the blade well enough (and it probably never was intended to conform to kraton quality standards of central Jawa); I wouldn't exclude an East Java/Madura origin though.

Jean, could you please also post a pic of the other side of the blade (in standard upright posture)?


Quote:
a specific feature is the presence of small dots of pamor (tambal) regularly spaced along the blade. This is also found on another kris from Banjarmasin shown to me by another collector, does it mean that this style of blade is indigenous to Banjarmasin?
Considering the huge amount of firearms as well as blades (multiple types!) of local Banjar/Negara production, there must have been some keris bladesmithing as well. I have not found any references on immigrated prominent empu or pande keris. Obviously, there were a lot of local talents (Dayak) available as well as a very strong Chinese community. For early grafting of specialized knowledge on keris blades, the Javanese North coast, Madura and East Jawa would be the most likely contenders. Later on, there was enough Bugis and Malay/Sumatran influence to also suspect exchange of skills or craftsmen.

I also have seen keris Banjar with similar pamor; will try to look for pics. Can you ask your friend to post his as well, please? For the time being, I'd agree that this pamor seems to have been en vogue. I don't think this feature is unique enough to claim this must be of local production though.


Quote:
The hilt in Sumatra style is made from gilt brass and in excellent condition, the selut and virtually all the intens are still present.
While apparently based on Sumatran/Malay hilts, this evolved into a distinct Banjar style. I'd call it Banjar Garuda style if you want to differentiate it from the Banjar planar hilt (Jawa origin) and Banjar pangulu (Bugis origin).


Quote:
The gayaman sheath is typical of Banjar, the gandar in 2 pieces is fully covered with very fine cotton thread which was replaced on the top part and a bit damaged at the tip but I will leave it in this condition.
Yes, agreed.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 5th July 2013, 01:12 PM   #25
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Hello Kai,
Thank you for your kind and detailed comments;
Regarding the blade, I showed it from both sides actually and can't do better because the hilt is stuck on the peksi. May be later I will try to free it but I feel concerned about damaging the intens.
I will check with my friend if I can show the other blade with a very similar pamor but it seems to be part of a commercial site (please check your PM box).
I agree that the blade has some Bugis influence but the ganja and kembang kacang are not very typical of Bugis blades and this tambal pamor dots are unusual.
Best regards
Jean

Last edited by Jean; 5th July 2013 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 5th July 2013, 06:12 PM   #26
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I think that Alan hit the very head of the nail, and his comment rings true re. not only kerises, but ethnographic arms ( and not only arms :-)) in general.

Somehow, we all have iron-clad patterns, or "geshtalts", of what constitutes a particular type of weapon, be it its ethnic or tribal origin, defined name ( G.C. Stone, thank you! :-) ), age characteristics etc. We get apprehensive when we encounter something that does not seem to fit the agreed-upon pattern. This often leads us to either pronouncing the item a fake, or to our exultation of discovering a new and hitherto unknown example of native weaponry.

Ih fact, and that's exactly what Alan hinted at, any old weapons were not mass-produced according to some government-dictated standards, but were hand-made according to the professional level or inventiveness of the master, availability of the materials, wealth, desire and taste of the owner etc.

The variability is inevitable. It is seen in each and every culture, from Indian tulwars and their handles to Caucasian kindjals. Here an example from this Forum: a combination of a talibon-like blade and a gunong handle. Should we start looking for some deep meanings or just accept the fact that it is a very usable implement fully satisfying its owner's wishes, and no more? Occam's razor, anyone?

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17394
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Old 7th July 2013, 06:15 PM   #27
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Very very nice keris Jean! Congrats for this addition to your collection!

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 7th July 2013, 07:36 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Somehow, we all have iron-clad patterns, or "geshtalts", of what constitutes a particular type of weapon, be it its ethnic or tribal origin, defined name ( G.C. Stone, thank you! :-) ), age characteristics etc. We get apprehensive when we encounter something that does not seem to fit the agreed-upon pattern. This often leads us to either pronouncing the item a fake, or to our exultation of discovering a new and hitherto unknown example of native weaponry.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17394
Ariel, i believe that in general you are correct, especially when dealing with other weapons around the world. What happens in the keris world is a little bit different however. The keris must be understood as a palace art first. From there it trickled down to the masses. As a palace art a keris should in fact "fit the agreed-upon pattern" of any particular keraton according to the pakem of that day. They did indeed have books filled with acceptable patterns for use during a particular kingdom's reign. Skilled smiths outside of the palace would also attempt as best they could to follow these same pakems to whatever level of success they were able. The people wanted to emulate the royal class in that regard. This is a good part of what allows the classification process known as tangguh that places certain blades to their origins. But as Alan points outs, many blades were also made that fall outside the pakem of the day. I think this happened more often due to ignorance (not fully knowing what the exacting patterns were) than the inventiveness of the smith or the particular tastes of the owner. If you were the Sultan, of course, you might do something outside the generally accepted pakem, but everyone else was looking to follow the tradition from the top, not break from them. Of course they still needed a keris and in cases of village work you got the best you could manage. Maybe you village pandai was highly skilled and well versed in the current pakem, maybe he wasn't. Most of the commoner probably never saw a court keris close enough to know if theirs conformed to the exacting patterns required by pakem or not. But i am with Alan, i like these out of pakem pieces. The problem arises when collectors expect ALL keris to adhere to some particular pakem. But certainly many, if not most do. Mpus could apply their inventiveness only so far when producing a keris for the court though.
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Old 18th July 2013, 01:27 AM   #29
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very nice Jean. the hilt and warangka is Kalimantan with bugis keris
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