Madura Island, Indonesia
Wood, ivory, iron and metal
Long. total 44 cm; Long. scabbard: 44 cm
Long. blade: 33 cm; Long. handle: 9 cm
(accidents and restorations)
The handle, called ukiran , is finely carved ivory with floral and plant motifs and incised with a winged horse. The upper part of the scabbard, called wrangka , is dark wood with a shiny patina, terminated in two large tapering side ears. The section constituting the body of the scabbard, called the ganda r, is made of wood with an oval section.
The double-edged blade is wavy and chiseled with a feline figure enhanced with gilding. A conical metal ring, called a mendak , animated by a frieze of pearls, marks the junction between the ukiran and the blade.
The kris is a truly masculine weapon. A social and wealth marker, it was also the object symbolically offered to a young boy who became a man.
The more the blade was worked and the more the handle made of noble materials, the higher the rank of its owner.
The ukiran , carved in an anthropomorphic way almost systematically, is considered an allegory of its owner. Thus, the head would be the hilt, the body, the blade, and the garment, the scabbard. Note that the traditional garment of Balinese men is the sarong - the same name given to the sheath of the kriss .
Kriss, endowed with magical powers, is considered a vector of spirituality. It is transmitted by inheritance, which allows it to increase its power.
Text and photos © FCP CORIDON
Knife Kriss Madura Island, Indonesia Circa 1880
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