Southeast Asia, Indonesia, ca. mid 20th century CE. An eye-catching kris with gilded details on the upper part of its sinuous carbon steel blade, a gilded panel on its scabbard, and a gilded ball studded with dozens of gems of cubic zirconium forming a guard on its handle. The upper portion of the scabbard and handle are made from a rich, golden-hued wood polished to a brilliant sheen. A zoomorphic decoration is carved into the underside of the curved upper part of the handle. Size: 6.45" W x 20.8" H (16.4 cm x 52.8 cm)
The kris is both a weapon and a spiritual object. The oldest known are from the 10th century CE; they are thought to have originated on the island of Java. The bladesmith, called an empu, formed the blade from layers of different iron ores and meteorite nickel. In high quality ones, the metal is folded dozens or even hundreds of times. Kris were worn every day and in special ceremonies; both men and women wear them. They were passed down through families. They were used for display, as talismans with magical powers, and weapons, and as heirlooms, as accessories for ceremonial dress, and indicators of social status. Kris blades are narrow, with wide, symmetrical bases. The aesthetic value has three elements: dhapur, the shape and design of the blade, with 40 variants; pamor, the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, with 120 variants; and tangguh, the age and origin of kris. In 2005, the kris became a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
This piece has been has been tested for the presence or absence of particular elements via XRF elemental analysis. A basic 1-page summary of the XRF screening will accompany purchase, identifying each element present in the sample, as well as the quantity of elements present. A more complete analysis detailing historical data / comparisons is available for additional charge – please contact us.
Provenance: private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection
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