Category Archives: Art

KRIS / KERIS ON LEG

Keris

The Kris or Keris is a Javanese asymmetrical dagger most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia or Javanese culture. In Indonesia, people believe that the Krises have magical powers.

The earliest Krises known were made around 1360 AD and most probably spread from the island of throughout Southeast Asia. Krises have been produced in many different places in Indonesia for centuries, but the Kris is mostly used, worshiped and seen in ceremonies in Central Java (besides the regular use in ceremonies of Krises in Bali).  As the result, in Indonesia Krises are commonly associated with the Javanese culture, although other ethnicities such as Balinese, Sundanese, Madurese, Banjar and Malay people are also very familiar with the weapon as part of their culture. The Kris is most known for its distinctive wavy blade, although many have straight blades as well. A Kris can be divided into three parts: bilah (blade), hulu (hilt), and warangka (sheath). These parts of the Kris are often carved into extreme detail and made from various materials like metal, precious or rare types of wood, gold or ivory. They are art objects on their own. Some blades can be made in a relatively short time, while some weapons take years to complete.

The dhapur (the form and design of the blade, has around 150 variants), the pamor (the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, has around 60 variants), and tangguh is referring to the age and origin of a Kris. Depending on the quality and historical value of the Kris, the value in money can go up to thousands of dollars or more. Both used a weapon and as a spiritual object, Krises are often considered to possess magical powers, with some blades seen as holders for good luck and others holding the bad. Krises are also often used for display, as talismans with magical powers, weapons, as extra equipment for court soldiers, an accessory for a ceremonial dress, an indicator of social status, and as a symbol of heroism, etc.

Krises are made by a Kris blacksmith called, empu. Before the empu starts making the Kris, he will first have a conversation with the client to make sure the Kris will be adapted to the exact wishes of the future owner. Empu are highly respected craftsmen with additional knowledge in literature, history, the occult, etc. By performing specific rituals before, during and after the process of forging the Kris, it will give the Kris his energetic load. Because a Kris is always made specifically for one person, it could be that a Kris of someone else is not ‘a good match’ for you. That doesn’t mean the Kris is ‘bad or wrong’, but it doesn’t fit the person. Krises need to be washed and ‘reloaded’ every once in a while, this comes with a very complex and sometimes even dangerous ritual of washing, drying and oil. Dangerous because some people try to use Arsenic, to make the pamor show up better. After washing the Kris, incense is being used to dry the blade and after that treated with oil. Krises are always highly cherished and taken care of to preserve their magical powers. 

Until the 1990s, Kris-making activities in Java had almost come to a standstill due to economic difficulties and changing socio-cultural values. Over the past three decades, Krises have lost their prominent social and spiritual meaning in society. Only a handful active and respected empus still produce high quality Krises in the traditional way but their number is dramatically decreasing and it’s getting more difficult to find them.

– Ade Itameda

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BARONG BALI / NIGEL DE JONG

Ade

There’s one thing that we can never say no to and those are these kind of beautiful Indonesian artifacts! Whenever we find a nice Javanese / Balinese mask in the thrift store or find a beautiful Barong statue at a Pasar Malam we háve to take them home. Our little house is slowly turning into an Indonesian museum, but it’s just so much fun to adopt these beautiful items! Above here in the photo you can see on the left, Boma, a Balinese protector/beast. The story tells that once he was a very powerful and destructive earth demon. In the ancient story, Mahabarata, Boma became a great champion and a defender against evil. You can find him above  most doorways, and above the entrance of temples and palaces in Southern Bali, mostly decorated with fresh flowers put behind his ears. His hands spread out to scare off the negative spirits. He’s regarded as being very strong and being able to overcome obstacles physical and mystical. In South Bali, Boma is always depicted with three curls of rock ornaments on top of his head and a bow of flowers. The other mask you see on the right is a Balinese dragon (Naga) wall mask and only used as decoration, to find the exact meaning of this mask is a bit more difficult. He’s part of the many dragon characters found in Bali. In the great story Mahabharata, Nagas are tending towards the negative. They call them “persecutors of all creatures” and tells us “the snakes were of virulent poison, great prowess and excess of strength, and ever bent on biting other creatures”. But at some points within the story, Nagas are important players, frequently no more evil nor deceitful than the other characters in the story and sometimes on the side of good. They mostly show Nagas as having a mix of human and serpent-like habits.

Barong in Bali

It is unclear where the Barong is originated, however it is generally accepted that a barong is a physical manifestation of a protective spirit which guards people from evil influences. In Bali, it dates back to ancient, pre-Hindu times when animism was the most popular form of belief. It is believed that a Barong is powerful enough to guard an entire village with the main task of driving away the demons known in Balinese as Bhuta-kala. Barong come in many different shapes and sizes. Most are representations of animals such as lion-tigers (barong ket), elephants (barong gajah), tigers (barong macan), pigs (barong bangkal), barong sai (Chinese lions), barong buntut (solo/tailless barong), ravens (barong guak), goats (barong kambing), bulls (barong lembu), horses (barong jaran), or moose (barong rusa). Rare Barong are: gaint human puppets called Barong Landung (Landung means tall in Balinese), giant characters called Barong dawang-dawang  or Barong brutuk (in Trunyan). Barong ket are the most commonly seen Barong in ceremonies and tourist performances throughout Bali. Their dance is also the most developed. Most Barong are danced by two dancers, one at the front head piece, the other at the back tail section, giving the creature four feet. The ones with two feet such as Barong tunggal, Barong bangkal and Barong landung are all danced by one single dancer. Barong are decorated with hair or feathers depending on what village they come from. The magical power of the barong is said to be concentrated in its beard, which is customarily made from human hair. The belief in its magical power is so strong that if a village is struck by an epidemic, a priest is ordered to soak the beard in a glass of clean water to make holy water. This holy water is used to bring the village out of the epidemic. For certain ceremonies, many barong will be gathered together to be purified. There is even a temple in Bualu, Nusa Dua named Barong-barong Temple. Barong are magically very special to most Balinese and their powers are taken very seriously.

And after a successful football match last Friday between  Spain vs. The Netherlands we received a nice promotional photo of Nigel de Jong with his healed tattoos by Ade. Follow Nigel on Instagram for more snapshots out of his everyday life! http://www.instragram.com/ndjofficial

Good luck against Australia on Wednesday guys!

– Lielo & Ade Itameda

Nigel_de_Jong_AD

 

 

 

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NEW T-SHIRTS!

T-shirts_2

We’re currently busy designing and printing new T-shirts which will be available at the Tattoo Convention in Rotterdam in March!

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FLAMMEND HERZ – TATTOO DOCUMENTARY

Flammend_Herz_2

Last week a friend came up to us with a documentary made in 2004 named ‘Flammend Herz’ and told us that it was a total must see if you’re interested in some true ‘tattoo history’. And nothing was lied, every tattoo-artist, tattoo-collector and even people who have no particular interest in tattooing should see this documentary!

This German-Swiss documentary tells the story of three of the earliest pioneers in the tattoo-world of Europe. The story of Albert Cornelisse (Rotterdam, 1913), Herbert Hofmann (Freienwalde, 1919) and Karlmann Richter (Kiel, 1913) who shared a great friendship build on their passion of the art of tattooing. In that generation, tattoo’s where mainly worn by sailors, soldiers or abroad criminal circuits. But in the 70’s and later people start getting more and more interested in tattoo’s and getting tattooed. Something still rarely socially accepted, especially at work. This documentary shows a portrait of these three man, who on the first eye look like ordinary elderly man, but underneath their clothes, they are covered in tattoo’s from head till toe. Herbert Hofmann’s tattoo shop in Hamburg St. Pauli was “Germany’s first professional tattoo shop”, is the place where the lives of these men crossed. They all helped Herbert professionally for substantial periods in their lives, but when he decided to pass over the shop to his younger cousin in 1981 the others felt betrayed and their friendship came to an end.

But was this really the end of an intense friendship?

An overall very touching, beautifully filmed documentary which gives you a good insight into the tattoo-world back then and the differences/similarity’s with the tattoo-scene now days. It’s almost hard to believe this documentary is not that known. From the beginning till the end we watched this documentary with a smile on our face, definitely a must see!

Flammend_Herz_1

 

 

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BACK IN HOLLAND + CIREBON MASK

Cirebon_Mask

We’re back in Holland! Still a bit jet-lagged but at least we took the sun with us!

Last week Ade started working again and his first customer requested to do a traditional Cirebon dancing-mask. Masks are used during important dancing rituals in Indonesia for over a thousand years. Sometimes the mask dance can be performed by solo dancers, or it can also be performed by several people. Masks are used to create more than the character in a drama. Graceful hand and body movements, and accompaniment by the music of a Gamelan, are hallmarks of Javanese mask dance. The dance is performed on special occasions for local officials, or for other traditional celebrations. The Topeng, is a performance which enacts stories from the times of the old Balinese and Javanese kingdoms and creates a link with the ancestor world. The three types of masks used in these dramas are; humans, animals, and demons.The powerful lines of a mask catch the light with a greater impact than that of a human face alone, and the stability of the mask’s features has an intensity stronger than that of a human expression. The masks are almost always carved from wood, mask makers combine different materials like boar’s teeth, horsehair, jewels, gold leaf, Chinese coins, buffalo hide, rabbit pelts, and mirrors. The glossy effect is created by endless sanding and at least 40 coats of paint.

Underneath here you can see a small video of a traditional Cirebon mask dance:

 

 

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BATIK STAMPS

Wahyu_Tumurun

Ade’s last piece is based on the Batik pattern, called Wahyu Tumurun from Yogjakarta. Wahyu Tumurun literally means ‘Divine blessing’ or ‘Revelation’. This motive is a symbol for humans wish for God’s blessing and enlightenment. Mostly people wear this batik if they’re hoping for a job promotion or recognition by their peers and superiors or simply to attain a better and prosperous life.

One of the tools they use to make a batik pattern on the traditional clothing of Indonesia like the one shown above are batik stamps. I’ve always been highly fascinated by those stamps. Batik stamps, or mostly called ‘cap‘, was invented around 1845 and mostly made of copper. Sometimes you will find batik stamps made of wood. The stamps are used to make the process of making batik easier.

They are used by dipping them into hot wax (Bee-wax) mixed with paraffin and applied to the cloth in a design. Then the cloth is dipped into a dye. All of the areas of the cloth that are covered with the wax do not absorb the dye and remain in their original color. When the cloth is dry, more wax is applied and then the cloth is dyed again, usually in a more darker color. This process will be continued until the desired design is completed. After that the wax is removed completely by ‘melting’ the cloth.

The stamps itself are great works of art. The’re made with total precision and eye for detail. I like to collect those stamps myself and I spend many hours wandering around on flea-markets to find these beautiful objects!

Batik_Stamp_6

(Click for bigger size)

For customers from Indonesia:

Ade is not booking in new customers for tattoo-appointments in the time that he will be here in Indonesia (Until 5 June). Thank you for all of your emails! He wishes he could work out all of them, but there’s not enough time to handle all of your requests.  Ade will probably return back to Indonesia later this year, so you can still send an email with your idea’s, placement and size to thisis369@gmail.com

Just keep an eye on the blog to know where Ade is working at the moment! 

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Art

ADE X ART

Made with love

Ade Itameda is currently working on some new artworks. There might be a small exposition of his work later this year! We keep you posted.

For more examples of Ade’s artworks, see our Facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/thisis369

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ADE ITAMEDA X VANS

Click on the images for a bigger photo.

A couple of weeks ago, Ade Itameda was asked to design a pair of shoes for Vans BLX.

And this is the end result!

For more information, check:  http://www.vans.nl/news/item/8402/artist-shoe-ade-itameda

Special thanks to Vans BLX & Silvia for making this possible!

 

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