Java Island, Indonesia
Wood, ivory, semi-precious stones, iron and metal
Long. total: 47 cm; Long. scabbard: 41 cm
Long. blade: 35 cm; Long. handle: 10 cm
The handle, called ukiran , is carved ivory in the shape of a butt and incised with two openwork macaroons with scroll patterns. The upper part of the scabbard, called wrangka , is made of wood decorated with a painted decoration of an animated scene depicting a dragon facing two anthropomorphic figures. The section constituting the body of the scabbard, called the ganda r, is made of wood with an oval section covered with a red lacquered layer.
The double-edged blade is wavy. A golden metal ring, set with cabochons of semi-precious stones, called a mendak , 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
Kriss knife Java Island, Indonesia Circa 1870
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