With floral overlay, kinatah, typical for the period.
Height 9.7 cm
Width 4.5 cm
Depth 6 cm
Hilt: 17th - 18th century
Seal: 18th - 19th century
From a Dutch Private collection
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An old keris hilt of the very rare Nyamba style from East Java. It is made of a silver sheet applied over resin.
These hilts are named after a Wayang (shadow puppet) figure of the same name, which represents an aggressive Sivaistic Raksasa prince. One of its characteristics is the wearing of a crown with winged sides called Sumping, and a large ornament on the back of its head called Garuda-mungkur.1
The type is thought to date from at least the later Majapahit period (1293-1527) and remained popular in East Java for some time after its fall.2 This particular one probably dates from the 17th or 18th century.
1. Karsten Sejr Jensen; Krisdisk. Chapter 6.
2. Cedric Le Dauphin; Kriss handles from Java. Page 31.
This particular hilt was made into a European-style wax seal, used for sealing letters with hot wax. It bears the initials:
The owner perhaps knew very well how rare this hilt was, to have it made into his or her personal seal.
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Upgraded with filigree to resemble a snuff bottle.
Sawasa is metalware in black and gold made primarily for the Dutch expat community in Asia.
Very finely carved with designs reminiscent of export wares.
Complete with key, inside divider and four silver containers.
Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.