Keris is a typical Indonesian stabbing weapons. Based on ancient documents, a dagger in the initial form has been used since the 9th century. Strong likelihood that the dagger has been used before this period. Kebudyaan Indonesian Minister Jero Wacik has brought the keris to UNESCO and requested assurance that this is the cultural heritage of Indonesia.

The use of the keris itself scattered in clumps community Malays. At the present time, a dagger commonly known in the area of Indonesia (especially in the areas of Java, Madura, Bali / Lombok, Sumatra, part of Borneo, as well as some of Sulawesi), Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and the Philippines (particularly in the Mindanao region). In Mindanao, the form of weapon which is also called the keris is not a lot of similarities though also a stabbing weapon.

Keris has a variety of forms, for example, there are winding blade (always an odd they are many) and some are straight bladed. Javanese people assume different forms have different effects esoteri.

Besides being used as a weapon, a dagger is also often considered to have supernatural powers. These weapons are often cited in a variety of traditional legends, like the keris Mpu Gandring in legend of Ken Arok and Ken Dedes.

Procedures for the use of different dagger in their respective regions. In areas such as Javanese and Sundanese, a dagger is placed in the rear waist peacetime but is placed in front on the war. Meanwhile, in Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, a dagger is placed in front.

In addition to a dagger stabbing weapons, there are a number of others in the archipelago, such as rencong from Aceh, badik from Sulawesi and West Java cleaver. Keris distinguished from other stabbing weapons primarily from the blade. Keris blade is not made from a cast in a single metal but a mixture of various metal layers. Due to this manufacturing technique, a dagger has a specific form of prestige on the blade.

The sections keris

Some terms in this section is taken from the Javanese tradition, simply because the available references.

Some experts classify aji tosan stabbing dagger as a weapon, so the main part of a keris is wilah (bar) or its lay language is like a blade. But since the dagger has other completeness, ie warangka (sarong) and part or carved dagger handles, then the unity of all its equipment is called a keris.

1. Keris dagger handles or upstream

Handbook keris (Javanese: diversity) is a variety of motives, for there are Balinese keris resembles gods, statues pedande, raksaka statues, sculptures of dancers, ascetic, forest, and there are carved with gold and precious stones kinatah.

Keris Handbook describes Sulawesi sea birds. It was as a symbol of some public profession of Sulawesi which is a sailor, while the bird is a symbol of world salvation. Like a bird’s head motif is also used in the keris Riau Linga, and for other areas as aji tosan development center such as Aceh, Bangkinang (Riau), Palembang, Sambas, Kutai, Bugis, Luwu, Java, Madura and Sulu, has carved kris and a different symbol. In addition, the materials used were derived from a variety of materials such as ivory, bone, metals, and most are wood.

To handle the keris Javanese, generally consist of wingking sirah (head back), jiling, cigir, superficial, bathuk (head front), weteng and cauliflower.

* Warangka or sarong keris
Warangka, or sarong keris (Banjar language: kumpang), is a component of the keris has a specific function, especially in the social life of the Javanese society, not least because this is the part that looks directly. Warangka that originally made of wood (which generally are of teak, sandalwood, Timoho, and yellow). In line with the times there was an additional warangka function as a reflection of social status for all its users. The top or ladrang-gayaman often replaced with ivory.

Broadly speaking there are two forms warangka, which is a type warangka ladrang consisting of the parts: tweezers, lata, beard, gandek, Godong (shaped like a leaf), axle, ri and cangkring. And the other kind is the kind wrangka gayaman (gandon) whose parts similar to warangka ladrang but there is no tweezers, Godong, and gandek.

Rules of use wrangka form has been determined, although not absolute. Wrangka ladrang used for official ceremonies, say to the king, the official palace of the other events (the coronation, the appointment of royal officials, marriage, etc.) with the intention of respect. Procedures for its use is to slip axle dagger in the folds of the belt (Stagen) on the back of the waist (including as consideration for the safety of the king). While wrangka gayaman used for daily necessities, and the dagger is placed on the front (near the waist) or at the back (waist rear).

In war, that is used is wrangka gayaman kris, its consideration is a practical and concise terms, because wrangka gayaman better enable quick and easy to move, because its shape is more simple.

Ladrang and gayaman is wrangka shaped pattern, and the main body according wrangka function is long-shaped bottom (along wilah kris) called the axle or antupan, then the function is to wrap wilah axle (blade) and is usually made of wood (considered to wilah not damage the metal barium mixture).

Because the axle to wrap functions, so that the function of beauty does not come first, then to be coated, such as cachets memperindahnya-cylinder called pendok. Part pendok (layer sleeves) this is usually carved out a very beautiful, made of brass, the atmosphere (a mixture of copper gold), silver, gold. For areas outside of Java (among the kings of the Bugis, Goa, Palembang, Riau, Bali) pendoknya made of gold, along with additional decoration such as embroidery string of gold and diamond studded diamond flower.

For the Javanese keris, according to their form pendok there are three kinds, namely.

(1) pendok Bunton shaped shells without hemisphere flat on its side.

(2) pendok cantaloupe (blengah) longitudinal split up at one end so that the axle will be seen.

(3) pendok topengan of splittings only in the middle. When viewed from the decorations, there are two types of pendok pendok pendok carved and plain (without engraving).

* Wilah
Wilah or wilahan is the main part of a dagger, and also consists of certain parts that are not the same for every wilahan, which is usually called the kitchen, or the naming of various forms of on-blade wilah (there are dozens of kitchen). For example, to mention a tall kitchen Mayang, bachelor lola, pinarak, diadem murub, cauliflower, kebo tedan, Pudak sitegal, etc..

At the base there wilahan pesi, which is the lower end of a keris or keris. These sections into dagger handles (engraving). This Pesi length between 5 cm to 7 cm, with a cross section of about 5 mm to 10 mm, elliptical shape like a pencil. In the area of East Java, called pivot, in Riau called the nipple, while for the regions of Sarawak, Brunei and Malaysia called Punung.

At the base (the base of the keris) or the bottom of a keris is called cannabis (for local calls aring peninsula Malays). In the center there is a hole pesi (round) just to enter pesi, so that part wilah and cannabis were inseparable. Aji tosan cultural observers say that the unity that symbolizes the unity of phallus and yoni, which represents the symbol of the yoni marijuana while symbolizing lingganya pesi. This cursory marijuana shaped lizard, the front part is called sirah lizards, called Gulu meled the neck, belly and tail is called wetengan called sebit ron. Variety of forms of cannabis have all kinds, wilut, dungkul, leeches and sebit rontal blinking.

Luke, is a winding section of wilah-blade dagger, and the views from the shape of the keris can be divided into two major categories, namely the keris keris blade is straight and the winding or luk. One simple way to calculate luk at the bar, starting from the base toward the tip of the keris keris, calculated from the convex side and carried out on both sides either side of the (right-left), then the last number is the number of luk at wilah-blades and the number is always odd (odd) and never even, and the smallest is the luk three (3) and most are luk thirteen (13). If there are a number of luk kris its more than thirteen, usually called kalawija keris, or dagger is unusual.

2. Tough keris

In the area known grouping called the keris which could mean tough period of manufacture or production style. This is similar to Javanese dance styles such as Yogyakarta and Surakarta. An understanding of respite will help identify the physical features of a keris.

Some commonly known as tough:
* Powerful Majapahit
* Tough Pajajaran
* Tough Mataram
* Tough Yogyakarta
* Powerful Surakarta.


Origin of the keris as we know it now still have not explained very well. Javanese temple reliefs on more shows knights with weapons more Indians his element.

Keris influence of Buddhism and India-China
Early kingdoms of Indonesia is very much influenced by Buddhist and Hindu culture. Temples in Central Java is the main source of the culture period. What was shocking was the least use of the dagger or something similar to it. Relief at Borobudur did not show a knife similar to a kris dagger.

From archaeological findings many experts agree that the proto-dagger-shaped knife with a blade thick, straight and wide. One type is the keris keris family owned Knaud, obtained from Sri Paku Alam V. This keris reliefs on its surface that contains the epic Ramayana and there are in Java, 1264

Cultural influence of China may be entering through the Dong Son culture (Vietnam) which is a liaison between China and the world culture of Malays. There sajen keris that has human form with a dagger hilt Dong Son.

Keris “Modern”
Keris which we now know is the result of a long evolutionary process. Modern keris is a dagger known as a unique piercer. Keris obtain forms at the time of Majapahit (14th century) and the new Kingdom of Mataram (century 17-18).

Keris observers and collectors prefer to categorize it as “an ancient dagger” and “new dagger” a term called nem-neman (new age or younger). The principle observed is “ancient keris” made before the 19th century are still using metal ore raw materials extracted from natural resources-mining-meteor (as there is no iron ore smelting plant, silver, nickel, etc.), so that the metal that is used still contain many types of Other alloys, such as iron ore containing titanium, cobalt, silver, tin, nickel, copper etc.. While the new keris (after age 19) usually only use the material of iron, steel and nickel from the smelting of iron ore, or scrap metal (per vehicle parts, iron bridges, railway iron, etc.), which on average are produced in factories, so that its purity guaranteed or likely to contain very few other types of metal. Suppose Arumbinang Haryono research, Sudyartomo and Budi Santosa (BATAN Yogyakarta nuclear scholar) in 1990, showed that a keris with tough Tuban, kitchen Tilam Upih and prestige of Rice Wutah fact contain iron (Fe), arsenic (arsenic) and Titanium (Ti) , according to the researchers that the keris is “an ancient dagger,” for the element titanium metal, new metal is found as an element of independence in the years around 1940, and metals which exceed the hardness of steel but much lighter than steel, widely used as a tool of modern transportation (plane aircraft, spacecraft) or a rocket, so at that time the technology has not been present in Indonesia. Titanium many meteorites found on rocks and sand iron is usually from the South Beach area and also Sulawesi. From the 14th of the keris being researched, the average alloy contains many other species such as cromium, Stanum, stibinium, silver, copper and zinc, as much as kris 13 contains titanium and only one dagger that contain nickel.

New keris can be immediately known because of its metal content type mpu (keris craftsmen) to buy its raw materials at a hardware store, such as iron, nickel, brass etc.. They do not use raw materials from iron ore (eg taken from mining) or stone meteorite, so it does not need to be analyzed with a radioactive isotope. So if there is suspicion of the keris as a result of engineering, or new kris kris-looking ancient, the research will be easy to express it.

Source: Excerpted from the Workshop Art Exhibition tosan Aji, Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Budiarto Danujaya, Jakarta, 1996

Keris famous Heritage
* Keris Mpu Gandring
* Keris Kober Satan Heritage
* Keris Kyai Sengkelat
* Keris Belt Heritage Nagasasra Inten
* Keris Kyai Carubuk
* Keris Kyai Lean Mix
* Keris Taming Sari


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