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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Home » , » Keris: The Heritage of Java

Keris: The Heritage of Java

Keris is a typical Indonesian stabbing weapon, or perhaps more accurately Archipelago. Based on ancient documents, the keris in preliminary form has been used since the 9th century. Strong likelihood that the keris has been used before that time. The use of the keris itself scattered in clumps community Malays. At present, the keris commonly known in the area of Indonesia (especially in the areas of Java, Madura,Bali /Lombok, Sumatra, part of Borneo, and some of Sulawesi),Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, and Philippines (particularly in the Mindanaoregion). In Mindanao, the form of weapon which is also called the keris is not much resemblance but also a stabbing weapon.

Keris has a variety of forms, for example, there is a winding blade (always in odd count) and some are straight bladed. Javanese people assume different forms have different effects esoteri. Besides being used as a weapon, the keris is also often considered to have supernatural powers. This weapon is often mentioned in many traditional legends, such as keris Mpu Gandring in legend of Ken Arok and Ken Dedes. The procedure to use keris is different in each region. In areas such asJavanese and Sundanese, the keris is placed in the back of the waist in peacetime but is placed in front in the war. Meanwhile, in Sumatra,Borneo, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, the keris was placed in front. Besides keris, there are a number of other stabbing weapons in the archipelago region, such as Rencong from Aceh, Badik fromSulawesi and West Java cleaver. Keris distinguished from other stabbing weapons primarily from the blade. Keris is not made from a single metal casted but a mixture of various metal layers. As a result of this manufacturing technique, the keris has a specificity of fame on the blade. 

Keris parts

Some terms in this section is taken from the Javanese tradition, simply because the reference is available. Some tosan aji experts classify keris as stabbing weapons, so the main part of a keris is wilah(bar) or in lay language term is like a knife blade. But because the keris has other fittings, i.e. the sheath (sarong) and the handle of the keris, or carving, then the unity of all the trimmings is called a keris. 

Handles or upstream of Keris

Handle of the keris (Javanese: gaman) is a variety of motives, to keris Bali which resembles a statue of the god, the statue pedande, raksaka statues, sculptures of dancers, sage, forest, and some carved with gold and precious stones. Celebes keris handles describe seabird. It was a symbol of the most professional people who are sailors, while the bird is a symbol of the world for safety. Like a bird's head motif is also used in the Riau Linga keris, and for other areas as the tosan aji development centers such as Aceh, Bangkinang (Riau), Palembang, Sambas, Kutai, Bugis, Luwu, Java, Madura and Sulu, has a different symbol. In addition, the materials used were derived from various materials such as ivory, bone, metal, and most of the wood. Handle of Javanese keris, consist of Sirah Wingking (backhead), Jiling,Cigir, Cetek, Bathuk (forehead), Weteng and Bungkul (cauliflower). 

Sheaths or Sarong

Sheaths (Javanese:warangka), or sarong keris (Banjar Language: kumpang), is a component of the kerishas a specific function, especially in the social life of Javanese society, at least because this is the visible part directly. Sheaths which first made of wood (which generally is teak, sandalwood, Timoho, and kemuning). Afterward, the warangka function changed, become a reflection of social status for its users. The top or Ladrang-Gayaman often replaced with ivory.

Broadly speaking there are two forms of the sheath, the sheath type Ladrang consisting of the parts:angkup (tweezers), lata, janggut (beard), gandek, godong (shaped like a leaf), yoke, cangkring and ri. And other types of warangka Gayaman (gandon) which parts similar to warangka Ladrang but there is no tweezers, godong, and gandek. Rules in using this warangka type has been determined, though not absolute. Ladrang Warangka used for official ceremonies, say to the king, the other court official event (the coronation, royal appointments, marriages, etc.) with the intention of respect. The procedure is to use thekeris tucked in the folds of axle belt (stagen) on the back of the waist (including the consideration for the safety of the king). While Gayaman wrangka used for daily necessities, and the keris placed on the front (near the waist) or at the back (waist rear). In a war, which is used is warangka Gayaman keris, consideration is the practical side and concise, because it allows warangka Gayaman more quickly and easily move, because the simpler form. Ladrang and Gayaman is a pattern-form of warangka, and the main part according warangka function is part of a long-shaped bottom (along wilah keris) called gandar (the yoke) or antupan, then the function is to wrap the axle wilah (bar) and usually made of wood (considered to not damage the fabric wilah alloy). Because the function to wrap the axle, then the function of beauty is not given priority. Outside the gandar itself, cylindrical shell cover called pendok is used. Pendok (shell layer) is usually very beautiful carved, made of brass, suasa (a mixture of copper gold), silver, and gold. For areas outside of Java (among the Bugis kings, Goa, Palembang, Riau, Bali) the pendok made of gold, along with decorations such as embroidery string of gold and diamond flower. For Java keris, according pendok form there are three kinds, namely: 

(1) pendok bunton flat-shaped shell with no fissure on the sides,
(2) pendok blewah (blengah) split extends to one end so that the axle will be seen, and
(3) pendok topengan which is the fissure located only in the middle. When viewed from the jewelry, there are two kinds of pendok, carved and plain (no carving).


Wilah or wilahan is the main part of a keris, and also consists of certain parts that are not the same for every wilahan, which is usually called dapur (there are dozens dapur). For example, to mention dapur Jangkung Mayang, Jaka Lola, Pinarak, Jamang murub, Bunggkul (cauliflower),Kebo tedan, Pudak sitegal, etc. In the bottom end of wilahan there part called pesi, which is the lower end of a keris. This section is keris part that come into curved handle. This pesi length between 5 cm to 7 cm, with a cross-section of about 5 mm to 10 mm long round like a pencil. In the area of East Java, called paksi, in Riau is the puting, while for the Sarawak, Brunei and Malaysia called punting. The bottom of a keris base (bottom of the Wilahan) called ganja (for the Malays call aring). There is a hole in it, where pesi just to enter, so that the wilah and ganjawere inseparable. Aji tosan cultural observers say that it symbolizes the unity of lingga andyoni. Ganja represents or the symbol of yoni(vagina) while pesi represents lingga (penis). This pot-shape look like lizard, front end called Sirah Cecak (head of lizard), middle part called gulu meled , abdomen and tail is called wetengan sabit ron. There are variety ganja shape such aswilut, dungkul, kelap lintah and sabit rontal. 



Luk, is a part of the winding of wilah, and views from the shape of the keris can be divided into two major groups, namely the straight keris blade and the winding or luk. One simple way to calculate luk at bar, starting from the base to the tip of the keris, calculated from the convex side and performed on the two-cross the other side (right-left), then the last number is the number of luk on the blade and the number is always odd (odd) and was never even number. The smallest is three (3) and most are luk thirteen (13). If there are a number of luk more than thirteen, usually called keris kalawija, unusual keris. 

Tangguh Keris

Keris known in the field of so-called tangguh grouping that could mean a period of manufacture orproduction style. This is similar to Java dance, for example, with dance styles of Yogyakarta andSurakarta. Understanding the tangguh will help identify the physical characteristics of a keris. Sometangguh commonly known: 
1.                    tangguh Majapahit
2.                   tangguh Pajajaran
3.                   tangguh Mataram
4.                   tangguh Yogyakarta
5.                    tangguh Surakarta