With fine flaming pamor blade and notched "cekah redut" hilt.
35.8 x 24 x 19 cm
From a Dutch private collection
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Instead of hanging them on a board on the wall, as was the Javanese custom, the Balinese rested their keris in carved wooden statues. Royal palaces usually had one or more such statues at the entry, ready to hold the keris of guests.
Keris holders were much less collected than the keris themselves. Once they stopped being part of a man's daily attire, these holders quickly fell out of use. The humid Balinese weather also didn't help in preserving many old ones, which makes them scarce collectibles today.
A charming old keris holder, carved out of a single piece of wood in the shape of Hanuman. His hair in the back is turned up, much like seen on some wayang figures. The figure is sitting, with one knee up and the other to the side, in a half resting half active position. The left-hand rests on his thigh, while the right hand is held across the body to receive the keris.
I find the whole proportionally well done and aesthetically quite pleasing.
Hanuman is the loyal companion of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. He is the God of wisdom, strength, courage, devotion, and self-discipline. His weapon is traditionally the mace. In the Ramayana he helps Rama retrieve his abducted wife Sita. In some iterations of the story, he took a gigantic form to leap over from South India to Sri Lanka where Sita was held by the demon lord Ravana.
Hanuman is an appropriate form for Balinese royalty, who were considered as incarnations of Vishnu.
Wear to the pigments, which are replaced by a lovely patina. Some losses and old insect damage. The hand holding the keris is restored, a fairly old repair by the looks of it. See photos.
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