Indonesian Kris (wood sheath)
The Kris from Indonesian archipelago is arguably the most interesting of ethic knives.
The Kris from Indonesian archipelago is argably the most interesting of ethic knives.
Both a weapon and spiritual object, kris are often considered to have an essence or presence, considered to possess magical powers, with some blades possessing good luck and others possessing bad. Kris are used for display, as talismans with magical powers, weapons, a sanctified heirloom (pusaka), auxiliary equipment for court soldiers, an accessory for ceremonial dress, an indicator of social status, a symbol of heroism, etc. Legendary kris that possess supernatural power and extraordinary ability were mentioned in traditional folktales, such as those of Mpu Gandring, Taming Sari, and Setan Kober.
In 2005, UNESCO gave the title Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity to the kris of Indonesia. In return, UNESCO urged Indonesia to preserve their heritage.
According to traditional Javanese kejawen, kris contain all the intrinsic elements of nature: tirta (water), bayu (wind), agni (fire), bantolo (earth, but also interpreted as metal or wood which both come from the earth), and aku (lit: "I" or "me", meaning that the kris has a spirit or soul). All these elements are present during the forging of kris. Earth is metal forged by fire being blown by pumped wind, and water to cool down the metal. In Bali, the kris is associated with the nāga or dragon, which also symbolizes irrigation canals, rivers, springs, wells, spouts, waterfalls and rainbows; thus, the wavy blade symbolizes the movement of the serpent. Some kris have a naga or serpent head carved near the base with the body and tail following the curves of the blade to the tip. A wavy kris is thus a naga in motion, aggressive and alive.
The distinctive pamor patterns have specific meanings and names which indicate the special magical properties they are believed to impart. There are around 60 variants of pamor recognized today in traditional kris blades. Some examples of pamor include beras wutah, udan mas, kembang kacang, kembang pala and ladrang cendana. The kris blade forging uses iron with a small content of nickel to create this pattern. The faint pamor pattern has been found in the kris from Majapahit period, which was acquired from iron ores with small nickel content. Most probably this iron ore was imported from the island of Sulawesi, as the pamor Luwu from Luwu region is quite well known in Sulawesi and Java.
This example has a plain wooden scabbard and guard
Blade length 27cm
Overall length 35 cm
The blade shows a representation of the 'Pamor' as described in the c/p from Wiki above. Please see photos. We do not know enough about these knives to decide the age or composition of the manufacture.