Friday, February 4, 2011

Test if a Keris is Good: Balancing A Keris (Making A Keris "Stand" On Its Own. "KERIS BERDIRI")

I see many photos/pictures of "standing" kerises on the internet.

I always wondered why everyone was doing that, because it didn't look "real" where I've seen images of the keris being pierced into the ground or into the mat to lock the keris into a standing position.

And, besides that, the kerises were placed at the top-edge of the inner part of the blade sheath (sarung or sampir) to help with the "stand". Can the Keris really stand on its own? Or was that just a gimmick to prove the super powers of the keris, it didn't make any sense to me. And, I was quite sure there were no spirit(s) attached to those "standing" kerises.

Why did they have to do that? "Stand" the Keris? Oops, sorry, please excuse my ignorance, I am still learning about kerises. Hope I didn't offend anyone, but if I did, please do accept my apologies.

My question was answered when I received 2 visitors from Silat Pusaka Warisan, Cikgu Idris (Puchong) and Cikgu Rozman (Johor Bahru) (Thank You Cikgu-Cikgu!) They tested a keris each to see the "balance" of the kerises, Keris 42 and Keris 63 (as in the picture below). My Kerises actually "STOOD"..... Was I surprised? But, a Pleasant surprise that was :)

Keris42. Luk 11. Blade/Length: 13.75/19.5 Inches. RM900

No no, Keris 42 was not leaning on the shelf. It Was "Standing" alright.

Keris 63.

Keris Melayu Semenanjung. Pandai Saras. Blade/Length: 16.25"/20 Inches. RM1,300
They explained to me that to know if a keris is of good make by a "skilled" Empu (The Keris-Maker, master craftsman of the art of keris-making), you can test the balance of the keris by making it "stand" on its own, you would, of course, have to manually place the keris vertically upright with the hilt at the top standing on the tip of its blade. If the Keris shows it could stand for at least a few seconds (minus wind factor, please remember to switch off the fan), then it shows it has good stability, being able to remain upright for a few seconds without falling due to gravity pull, then it is a good keris in terms of its balance, where the Empu (The Keris-Maker) had used his expertise and skills to ensure he made the keris well-balanced when making its blade metal composition, the keris shape plus the right hilt size, weight and carved at the right points in order to maintain the centre of gravity at the central point.

Even the sheath plays a role in holding the keris in its position so it doesn't wobble. I was told there is an "indented line" or a "groove" at the top-edge inner part of the blade sheath which is meant to insert the side of the blade into position to assist in the balancing, and you can find this groove only in the Malay Peninsular Kerises. Then I was actually shown a few examples of that from my own collection of kerises, as shown below.

Keris 64.

Keris 64.

Keris 65.

So, the keris can't be BALANCED or can't stand on its own unless it has been made to PERFECTION by a really good Empu (The Keris-Maker), and this has nothing to do with "spirits" attached within the keris. It is purely the art and skills of keris-making where care, attention and meticulousness in its preparation, has made this possible.

Thus, what's a good keris? If you can balance it, it is good (I won't say "perfect" because there are other criteria to look into as well).

TRY IT, go and balance your keris. Can your Keris "stand"? TEST IT!
The longer the Keris "stands", the more well-balanced it is.
(And, don't forget to take a Photo of your "standing" Keris and share it with all)

Oh, some people practise "standing" the keris many times over and that takes lots and lots of practise until you acquire those skills at making the keris 'stand".

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