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Balinese Kris

Eric Dennis

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I was given a Balinese Kris as a gift that was purchased somewhere in Indonesia. I'm wondering if anyone knows who I could talk to for more information on the blade. I'm hoping find out if there are ways to date it based on design, etc.

I can upload photos later on when I have a moment. 

Any Kris experts here? Or know someone I could get in touch with?



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The place to ask is the Ethnographic Edged Weapons forum here: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?s=d0cffc4531eac275205cdebd083aa029&f=11


That said, that looks like a nice one to me.  Not that I know much about them.  Looks like a newly-mounted old blade, or a very enthusiastically etched new blade, which is what I suspect.  

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from the little i know the new ones can be etched like that, they are placed in acidic mud and other stuff. definitely on the other end of the spectrum of bladesmithing that most are used to, with as much skill and knowledge as japanese swordsmiths, lots of info out there if you speak the language... 


i dont really know what im talking about but i was trying to learn about them for a while, i had trouble finding information other than on the site alan mentioned.  

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 9/7/2021 at 9:43 PM, Eric Dennis said:

Thanks for the leads. I'll see what the folks on that other site have to say.


Any update on this, Eric? I’m curious.

"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card


Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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6 hours ago, Charles dP said:

Any update on this, Eric? I’m curious.

Yes! I finally found a group on Fbook that is especially for world collectors and experts of Keris blades (apparently Kris is improper and denotes the iron aspect specifically). It was agreed that the blade is 19th century, but it is culturally expected that the "clothing" of the blade is be periodically replaced because "a proper Keris should always be well dressed". So it sounds the grip and possibly other adornments were re-crafted at some point. That said the previous owner of the blade purchased it about 30 years ago so it happened sometime before that.


There is also a ton of symbolism, cultural meaning, and ritual surrounding almost every aspect of the blade. The number of waves in the blade corresponds to its level of power and the owner of such a blade should be someone who can match that intensity or else it might bring ill luck to their life. This one was thought to have 13 waves which corresponds to a fairly powerful one with male energy (odd vs even number). There is so much more, though much of the terminology was obviously not in English. I was able to track down an out of print book on keris blades that was recommend to me for a good price. The book has photographs of every smithing step and goes into detail about the various meanings and rituals and names the various parts. For what it's worth here is what one of the people who replied suggested for classifications:


1. dhapur (shape) : sengkelat
2. dress : Ladrang Surakarta (Solo, central Java), iras (made out of just one piece of wood, instead of assembled parts)
3. wood : gembol jati (teakwood burl)
4. mendhak (spacer) : widhengan type, looked like made out of silver
5. Pamor : classified as pulo tirto ?
6. age : 19th cent
7. hilt is nice, but doesn't seem to be made out of kemuning wood (orange jessamine), more akin to awar-awar wood (Ficus septica Burm.f)
8. forgot ... pendok (scabbard cover) : brass, blewah in modang style ? (Not really clear there)


I feel quite fortunate to have this blade in my possession for the time being though I'm not entirely sure if I am of sufficient "power" to keep this keris from bringing ill energy, alas, I reckon the least I can do is show some respect by learning about these objects and crafting some kind of nice display. 

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