In February 2009 I visited the home of one of the original "Anak-anak ASKI". This was the popular
name given to those young artists who were involved in the revival of the art of the keris in Surakarta
in the early 1980's. Following in the footsteps of Empu Suparman, and Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo,
these young men established a keris school in the Surakarta Art Academy, as a a part of the faculty of
The original Anak-anak ASKI were six in number:- Yantono, Yanto, Bandi, Widodo, Kamdi, Bagio.
Some of these artists have ceased to work with keris and have gone into more lucrative professions,
however of those still working, Bandi, or as he now should be known, Bapak Subandi is perhaps the
most industrious. Sadly, Kamdi, more recently known as Mbah Sukamdhi, passed away in 2018, he
was probably the most artistic of this group.
At the time of my visit Bandi's forge was working, and I took the opportunity to take a few photos. I
was not there at the start of the forging, and I only stayed about an hour, so the photos below are not
a documentation of a complete process, but only a snapshot of work in the forge of a talented pande
Pande Keris Subandi
How it starts:- a lump of iron
from a smelt
Stages in the production of
a keris forging.
A keris forging prior to
carving. This indented
pattern will result in
pamor wiji timun.
Assistants working on
the rough finishing.
This is a critical part of the process
of pamor production:- the piece of
nickel that will provide the pamor
is being prepared for insertion into
Bandi is checking and controlling
this forging work because if this
part of the process is not done
correctly, the resultant pamor will
The smith is guiding the blows of
the heavy hammer with light
blows from his smaller hammer.