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Inscribed in 3. The kris or keris is a distinctive, asymmetrical dagger from Indonesia. Both weapon and spiritual object, the kris is considered to possess magical powers. The earliest known kris go back to the tenth century and most probably spread from the island of Java throughout South-East Asia. Kris blades are usually narrow with a wide, asymmetrical base.

The kris ngoko Javanese: The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade, although many have straight blades as well. Kris have been produced in many regions of Indonesia for centuries, but nowhere—although the island of Bali comes close—is the kris so embedded in a mutually-connected whole of ritual prescriptions and acts, ceremonies, mythical backgrounds and epic poetry as in Central Java.

A kris can be divided into three parts: These parts of the kris are objects of art, often carved in meticulous detail and made from various materials: A kris's aesthetic value covers the dhapur the form and design of the blade, with around 60 variants , the pamor the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, with around variants , and tangguh referring to the age and origin of a kris.

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.


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The word kris derives from the Old Javanese term ngiris Javanese: Two notable exceptions are the Philippines where it is usually called kalis or kris although the Filipino kalis is a sword, rather than a dagger , and Thailand where it is always spelled kris and pronounced either as kris or krit. In the Yala dialect the word is kareh. Other spellings used by European colonists include "cryse", "crise", "criss", "kriss" and "creese. Kris history is generally traced through the study of carvings and bas-relief panels found in Southeast Asia.

It is believed that the earliest kris prototype can be traced to Dongson bronze culture in Vietnam circa BC that spread to other parts of Southeast Asia. Another theory is that the kris was based on daggers from India.

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However, Raffles ' study of the Candi Sukuh states that the kris recognized today came into existence around AD in the kingdom of Majapahit , East Java. The scene in bas relief of Sukuh Temple in Central Java , dated from 15th century Majapahit era, shows the workshop of a Javanese keris blacksmith. The scene depicted Bhima as the blacksmith on the left forging the metal, Ganesha in the center, and Arjuna on the right operating the piston bellows to blow air into the furnace.

The wall behind the blacksmith displays various items manufactured in the forge, including kris. These representations of the kris in the Candi Sukuh established the fact that by the year the kris had already gained an important place within Javanese culture. The daggers are made entirely of steel with intricate motifs smoothly drawn. The handles are made of gold, rhino's horn or ivory carved with a depiction of human or demon; the carving works are exquisite and skillfully made. This Chinese account also reported that public execution by stabbing using this type of dagger is common.

Majapahit knows no caning for major or minor punishment. They tied the guilty men's hands in the back with rattan rope and paraded them for a few paces, and then stabbed the offender one or two times in the back on the gap between the floating ribs, which resulted in severe bleeding and instant death.

Currently, the Kris of Knaud is the oldest known surviving kris in the world. The kris bears the date of Saka which correspondends to AD in its iron blade. Scientists suspect that due to its special features the kris might be even older, but was decorated during Majapahit period to celebrate an important event. Although the people of Southeast Asia were already familiar with this type of stabbing weapon, the development of the kris most probably took place in Java, Indonesia. The spread of the kris to other nations such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, experts say, was credited to the growing influence of the Majapahit Empire in Java around the year The Sanghyang siksakanda ng karesian canto XVII, a Sundanese manuscript dated from Saka or AD, describes the kris as the weapon of kings, while the kujang is the weapon of farmers.

There exist claims of earlier forms predating the Majapahit kris but none are verifiable. In the past, the majority of kris had straight blades but this became less frequent over time. While it is commonly believed that kris were the primary weapons wielded by fighters in the past, they were actually carried by warriors as a secondary armament if they lost their main weapon, which was usually a spear.

For commoners however, kris were worn on a daily basis, especially when travelling because it might be needed for self-defense. During times of peace, people wore kris as part of ceremonial attire. Ceremonial kris were often meticulously decorated with intricate carving in gold and precious stones. Heirloom blades were handed down through successive generations and worn during special events such as weddings and other ceremonies.

Men usually wore only one kris but the famous admiral Hang Tuah is said in the Hikayat Hang Tuah to have armed himself with one short and one long kris. Women also wore kris, though usually of a smaller size than a man's. In battle, a fighter might have carried more than one kris; some carried three kris: The extra two served as parrying daggers, but if none were available the sheath would serve the same purpose. Kris were often broken in battle and required repairs. Yearly cleanings, required as part of the spirituality and mythology surrounding the weapon, often left ancient blades worn and thin.

The repair materials depended on location and it is quite usual to find a weapon with fittings from several areas. For example, a kris may have a blade from Java, a hilt from Bali and a sheath from Madura. In many parts of Indonesia , the kris used to be the choice weapon for execution [ citation needed ]. The executioner's kris had a long, straight, slender blade. The condemned knelt before the executioner, who placed a wad of cotton or similar material on the subject's shoulder or clavicle area.

The blade was thrust through the padding, piercing the subclavian artery and the heart. Upon withdrawal, the cotton wiped the blade clean. Death came within seconds. In the 16th century, European colonial power introduced firearms into the archipelago that contribute to the decline of kris' prominence as the weapon of choice in battle. The forging of the edged weapons went into decline from the moment that the sultans or rajas were subjugated and their realms annexed by the British or Dutch East Indies colonial state.

In number of regions, a ban was placed on carrying of cutting and stabbing weapons. In Java, the turning point was the end of the five-year-long Java War when the rebellious Prince Diponegoro was defeated and detained, and had to hand his kris over to the Dutch in This event marked the disarmament of the kris as a combat weapon among the Javanese populace. Its ceremonial function, however, as part of traditional costumes, as sacred heirloom and as a protective personal amulet, remains.

The early 20th century saw the decline of kris forging as carrying edged weapons was banned in the Dutch East Indies. However, the kris saw continuous use and forging in the Philippines , which comprised most of the Spanish East Indies.

Kris - Wikipedia

While the majority of the natives and locals in the archipelago accepted Roman Catholicism , the Muslims of the southern regions fiercely resisted Spanish rule. The kris provided the Muslim armies with their counterpart to the Spanish weaponry and it became an alarming concern for the Spanish armies. Kris-forgers and swordsmen were referred to as juramentados by the Spanish.

Juramentados practice a ritual of sacrifice, a form of Jihad against not only Spanish soldiers, but also against Christian Filipinos alike. Juramentados were specially-trained and chosen fighters. Candidates were known as mag-sabil or ""who endure the pangs of death". These had their parents consulted, and the Sultan would permit them to undergo the training for Parang-sabil or the "path to Heaven".

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During the Philippine—American War , the death of American soldiers at the hands of kris-wielding Moros and other Filipinos armed with blades led to the creation and use of the Colt M During World War II, the kris were accompanied by other Moro swords such as barongs in the insurgency movement against Japanese occupation. In Java, the traditional art of kris-making is preserved in the Javanese culture heartland, the keraton royal court of Yogyakarta and Surakarta , and also the princedom of Mangkunegaran and Pakualaman. The Javanese kings and nobles of these courts are known to employ some kris blacksmiths empu and become the patrons of their works, although the activity of kris-making is declining.

Until the s, kris-making activities in Java had almost come to a standstill due to economic difficulties and changing socio-cultural values. However, thanks to several concerned kris experts, the tradition is being revived and kris craftsmanship has increased again. Over the past three decades, kris have lost their prominent social and spiritual meaning in society. Although active and honoured smiths who produce high quality kris in the traditional way can still be found in some places such as Madura, Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Makassar and Palembang, their number is dramatically decreasing, and it is more difficult for them to find successors to whom they may transmit their skills.

Kris made in the Philippines are often in variants, with half-wavy half-straight blades. It has become an essential and symbolic weapon to Moro culture, much as it is associated with Javanese cultures. A kris's aesthetic value covers the dhapur the form and design of the blade, with around variants , the pamor the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, with around 60 variants , and tangguh referring to the age and origin of a kris. The kris blade is called a wilah or bilah. Kris blades are usually narrow with a wide, asymmetrical base.

The kris is famous for its wavy blade; however, the older types of kris dated from the Majapahit era have straight blades, [14] as do more than half of all kris prior to the modern era.

According to traditional Javanese kejawen , kris contain all the intrinsic elements of nature: All these elements are present during the forging of kris. For information about these components, click here: Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, and Fusion are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. Portions copyright c Engine Yard and Andre Arko.

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Indonesian Kris

Lightbox was authored by Lokesh Dhakar lokeshdhakar. Keris traditional weapon of Indonesia. Description Keris is an original culture of exotic objects in Indonesia. Keris is a "work of art" and "cultural property" native archipelago. Keris is also a group dagger stabbing weapon sharp pointed and sharp on both sides with many cultural functions are known in the western and central archipelago. The shape is distinctive and easily distinguishable from other sharp weapons because it is not symmetrical at the base widening.