Balinese keris
Overall length

Sheathed 63 cm

Keris 57.9 cm

Blade length

45.4 cm

Blade thickness

Base 17 mm

Middle 6.5 mm

5 cm from tip 5 mm

Blade width

Ganja 104 mm

Middle 28 mm

5 cm from tip 16 mm

Weight

423 grams

Point of balance

9 cm from base of blade

Materials

Iron, steel, nickel (pamor), wood, pigments, lacquer, brass, glass

Origin

Bali, Indonesia

Dating

19th century

Price €2000, -

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Description

A humble-looking Balinese keris, when sheathed, but unsheathe it and an impressive blade with magnificent high-contrast pamor is revealed.

The straight blade is referred to as dapur lurus. It is said to signify striving for inner refinement, resisting temptation, and distinguishing between good and evil.1

The blade geometry has a prominent center ridge and slightly hollow ground surfaces on either side. The gandik (base of blade) with stylized elephant trunk and a separate ganja (base plate). There are two grooves at the base of the blade.

 

Pamor

It is forged with a wild pamor of almost flaming streaks and speckles of nickel. This type of pamor is sometimes called wusing wutah and reminds of the peel of a watermelon.

From a distance, the color scheme is silver and black, but upon close inspection, one can see that the silver consists of two sheens, a matte one with shimmering lines of silver inside it.

Shimmering pamor

 

Danganan

The abstract danganan (hilt) is referred to as cecekahan or cekah redut meaning something like "uneven notches". The standard version of this hilt has 11 notches and is called cekah solas; "eleven notches". This particular one has 27 notches.

Such hilts were believed to be mainly carried by elite soldiers and palace guards.

Opinions differ on what these hilts represent. One theory is that they are a stylization of Balu Mekabun (the veiled widow), also known as Durga, the goddess of war. The notches are said to represent the folds in her sarong.3 There is also a probability that it is mainly ergonomic, as this hilt provides a very good and secure grip, much better than most keris hilts.

On top of the hilt are inscriptions of letters in Western script:

 

Bali keris hilt writings

 

It appears to read:

"MDP SK OLKA
12"

 

 

Scabbard

The main scabbard is made of two plates of wood jointed together, called pa-nyambung in Balinese, with on top the wider part called hurangka.4 The latter is in the shape of batun poh (mango seed). The entire back of the pa-nyambung and the tip on the front are painted with yellow pigment.

Some notches are carved at the scabbard's mouth.

Balinese keris scabbard mouth

 

 

Notes
1. Pande Wayan Suteja Neka; Understanding Balinese keris, an insider's perspective. Neka Art Museum. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 2014. Page 3.
2. Pande Wayan Suteja Neka & Basuki Teguh Yuwono; Keris Bali Bersejarah. Neka Art Museum. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 2010. Pages 97-98.
3. Karsten Sejr Jensen: Krisdisk. Chapter 7. Citing Cedric Le Dauphin: The Hilts of Krisses. Chaos, Paris 2002, p 165.
4. C. Clyde Barber; Dictionary of Balinese - English. Aberdeen University Library , 1979.

 

Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade
Balinese keris with fine blade

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