Kris or Keris is a weapon stabbing the group of daggers (pointed and sharp on both sides) with many cultural functions known in the western and central parts of the archipelago or in Indonesian calls Nusantara. The shape is distinctive and easily distinguishable from other sharp weapons because it is not symmetrical at the base of the widened, often the winding blade, and many of them have prestige (damascene), which is seen bright metal fibers on the blade. Stabbing weapons that have similarities with kris are badik. Another stab weapon from the Nusantara is kerambit.
In the past the kris functioned as a weapon in dueling / warfare, as well as complementary objects. In today's usage, keris is an accessory object (ageman) in dress, has a number of cultural symbols, or is a collection object that is valued in terms of aesthetics.
The use of kris is scattered in people who have been affected by Majapahit Kingdom, such as Java, Madura, Nusa Tenggara, Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, parts of Sulawesi, the Malay Peninsula, Southern Thailand, and the Southern Philippines (Mindanao). Mindanao kris is known as kalis. Kris in each region has its own peculiarities in appearance, function, cultivation techniques, and terminology.
Indonesian keris or kris has been registered at UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2005. Maybe it should have been registered since the Indonesian nation became independent.
Origins and Effects of Chinese Indian Culture
The origin of the kris has not been fully explained because there is no written descriptive source of it from before the 15th century, although the mention of the term "keris" has been listed on inscriptions from the 9th century AD. The scientific study of the development of the keris form is based largely on the analysis of figures in temple reliefs or statues. Meanwhile, knowledge of the function of the keris can be traced from several inscriptions and reports of foreign explorers to the archipelago.
Sharp weapons with a shape that is thought to be the source of inspiration for making keris can be found in the perundagian relics of Dongson Culture and southern China. Allegations of the influence of Ancient Chinese culture on the use of stabbing weapons, as the forerunner of the kris, were possible to enter through Dongson (Vietnam) culture which was a "bridge" for the influx of Chinese culture to the Archipelago. A number of contemporary kris for the purposes of offerings have human shaped handles, the same as the Dongson dagger, and blend with the blade.
The attitude of respecting various metal objects can be traced as Indian influences, especially Shivaism. The Dakuwu inscription (6th century) shows Indian iconography featuring "wesi aji" such as trident, kudhi, sickle, and sombro kris. Historians generally agree, the kris of the pre-Singasari Kingdom period is known as "Buda keris", which is short and not straight (straight), and is considered to be the prototype of a kris. Some of the daggers found in the Dongson culture have similarities with the Buda kris and sajen keris. The Kris Kris has a metal handle that blends with the keris blade.
The prototype of a keris from the pre-Majapahit period
Megalithic statues and temple reliefs from the megalithic period until the 10-11 century AD dates mostly display stab weapons and other "wesi aji" weapons similar to those from Dongson and India. The form of the stabbing gun which is thought to be the prototype of the keris has not yet been biased towards "gonjo", so that the blades appear to be symmetrical, other than that they generally show upstream / deder / carvings which are one unit with the blade (deder iras).
*ganja/gonjo : base of the weapon
The most resembling a kris is a megalithic relic from the valley of Basemah Lahat, South Sumatra from the 10-5 century BC which describes a knight riding an elephant carrying a weapon of tikam (dagger) similar to a keris, but it is biased but not "gonjo" but there is a slope towards upstream. In addition, a relief panel of the Borobudur Temple (9th century) which shows a person holding an object similar to a keris but does not have a degree of bias and the upstream / deder is still integrated with the blade.
*deder : handel of weapen/keris
From the same century, the Karangtengah inscription in the year 824 AD mentions the term "keris" in a list of equipment. The Poh inscription (904 AD) mentions
"keris" as part of offerings that need to be offered. However, it is not known whether the "keris" refers to objects as they are known today.
In the knowledge of Javanese keris (padhuwungan), the kris from the pre-Kadiri-Singasari period is known as "Buda keris" or "sombro kris". These keris are not decorative and simple. Buda Keris is considered a form of guardian of modern kris. The example of the Buda keris which is often quoted belongs to the Knaud family of Batavia obtained by Charles Knaud, a Dutch devotee of Javanese mysticism, from Sri Paku Alam V. This keris has a relief from the epic Ramayana figure on the surface of the blade and includes the number of the year Saka 1264 (1342 AD), contemporary with the Penataran Temple, although there are those who doubt the date.
Buda Keris has a similar form with various images of daggers seen in temples in Java before the 11th century. Dagger in these temples still shows the characteristics of Indian weapons, has not experienced "indigenization". The various depictions of various "wesi aji" as components of the Hindu god icons have brought an attitude of appreciation for various weapons, including later kris. Nevertheless, there is no authentic evidence of the evolution of change from Indian-style daggers to this buda kris.
The study of iconography of buildings and carving styles during the Kadiri Kingdom to Singasari Kingdom period (the 13th to the 14th century) shows the indulgent tendency of purely Indian to Javanese style, not to mention the form of kris. One of the Shiva statues from the Singasari period (early 14th century) holds a "wesi aji" that resembles a kris, different from the previous depictions of the past. One of the low reliefs (bas-reliefs) on the walls of the Penataran Temple also shows the use of stabbing weapons similar to kris. Penataran Temple (11th to 13th century AD) from the end of the Kadiri Kingdom in Blitar, East Java.
Based on the earliest modern keris reliefs in the Bahal Sumatera Utara temple and the discovery of a Buddhist keris from East Java which together show the age of the 10M century it can be estimated that around the 10th century AD kris began to be created in its asymmetrical modern form.
From the 15th century, one of the reliefs at Sukuh Temple, which is a place of worship from the late Majapahit Kingdom period, clearly shows a master craftsman making keris. This relief on the left describes Bhima as the personification of the middle masters forging iron, Ganesha in the middle, and Arjuna is pumping the air blowing tube for the furnace. The wall behind the master displays various forged metal objects, including kris.
The record of Ma Huan from 1416, a member of Cheng Ho's expedition, in "Ying-yai Sheng-lan" mentioned that the Majapahit people always wore (pu-la-t'ou) tucked into a belt. Regarding the word Pu-la-t'ou, although it is only based on sound similarities, many argue that what is meant is "dagger", and because the kris is a weapon of dagger as belati it is considered pu-la-t'ou to describe a kris. It seems that research still has to be done whether it is true that during the Majapahit period the kris was called "belati" but there is a description that illustrates that this "dagger" is a kris and the technique of making prestige has developed well.
It could be that what Ma Huan meant by Pulat'ou was "Beladau". The word "beladau" is more like "Pu-La-T'ou" than "dagger". If it is true, what Ma Huan means is belada, then Ma Huan's description of weapons that are widely used in Majapahit is not a kris, but traditional weapons such as Badik which are now widely used in Sumatra with a curved shape similar to Jambiya, although these weapons have bias but do not have gonjo and gandik so that it cannot be classified as a keris. The assumption that what is meant by Pu-La-T'ou is that Beladau still needs research whether indeed in the Majapahit period people used beladau / badik as weapons.
Keris are mentioned in Sundanese manuscripts from 1440 Saka (1518 AD), Sanghyang siksakanda ng karesian pupuh XVII, which states that the kris is Prabu's weapon (king, ksatriya group). This text divides weapons in the Sundanese Kingdom community into three groups; weapons for prabu (king, frightening, or ksatriya faction) are swords, whip, pamuk, machete, peso teundeut, and keris; weapons for the peasants are kujang, baliung, patik, kored, and sadap knife; while the priests' weapons were when they arrived, peso raut, peso dongdang, pangot, and pakisi. Portuguese from the 16th century, alluded to the habit of using keris by Javanese men. The description is not much different from what Ma Huan mentioned a century before.
Materials, manufacture and maintenance
The basic metals used in the manufacture of keris are two types of metal : iron metal and metal pamor, while pesi keris is made of steel. To make it light, the "Empu"/masters always combine this base material with other metals. Today's keris (nèm-nèman, made since the 20th century) usually uses Pamor nickel metal. The good keris of the past (ancient kris) has prestige metal from meteorites which are known to have high titanium content, in addition to nickel, cobalt, silver, lead, chromium, antimonium and copper. The famous meteorite is the Prambanan meteorite, which once fell in the 19th century in the Prambanan temple complex.
The making of keris varies from one master to another master, but there are procedures that are usually similar. Here is a brief process according to one library. The iron blade as the base material is washed or heated to glow and then forged repeatedly to remove impurities (eg carbon and various oxides). Once clean, the blade is folded like the letter U to insert a slab of prestige material in it. Then the fold is reheated and forged. After sticking and extending, the mixture is folded and repeated forged again. The way, strength, and position of forging, as well as the number of folds will affect the prestige that appears later. This process is called saton. The final form is an elongated slab. This plate is then cut into two parts, called kodhokan. One plate of steel was then placed between the two kodhokan such as sandwich bread, tied and then spawned and forged to unite. The tip of the kodhokan is then made rather elongated to be cut and made into gonjo.
The next stage is to form pesi, bengkek (prospective gandhik), and finally form a blade that is smooth or straight. Luk making is done by heating. The next stage is making ornaments (ricikan) by working on certain parts using file, grinding, and drill, according to the dhapur keris that will be made. Silak waja is done by filing the blades to see the prestige that is formed. Gonjo is made to follow the bottom of the blade. The size of the hole is adjusted to the diameter of the iron.
The final stage, namely gilding, is carried out so that the metal keris becomes steel metal. In the Philippine kris this process was not carried out. Gilding ("tapping the metal") is done by inserting the blades into the mixture of sulfur, salt, and lime juice (called kamalan). Gilding can also be done by spreading the keris and dipping it in liquid (water, salt water, or coconut oil, depending on the experience of the master who made it). The action of gilding must be done carefully because if it is wrong it can make the blade of the keris crack.
In addition to the usual way of gilding as above in gilding Keris is also known as Sepuh Jilat, when the smoldering Keris metal is taken and licked with the tongue. taken and clamped with female genitals (Vagina) The famous Saru is Nyi Sombro, the shape of the keris is not large but is adjusted.
Giving warangan and fragrance oil is done as a general keris treatment. Treatment of kris in the Javanese tradition is carried out every year, usually in Muharram / Sura, although this is not a requirement. The term keris treatment is "bathing" the kris, although what is actually done is to remove the old fragrance oil and rust on the keris blade, usually with acidic liquids (traditionally using coconut water, crushed noni fruit, or lime juice). Cleansed blades are then given warangan if necessary to reinforce prestige, cleaned again, and then given fragrance oil to protect the keris blade from new rust. This fragrance oil traditionally uses jasmine oil or sandalwood oil which is diluted in coconut oil.
*warangan : arsenic poison
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