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Superb 19th C. Indonesian Kris & Wooden Sheath

$895.00
Southeast Asia, Indonesia, ca. 19th century CE. A kris (keris) with a gorgeous iron-nickel blade and a polished wooden handle in light and dark brown hues. The blade has the classic form of kris, wide below the guard, with curling tendrils extending from one tapering side. The rest of the blade is in a curving, snake-like form, tapering to a point. A ring of six fuchsia-colored glass cabochons are inlaid in the narrow, round copper guard. The wooden handle rises above this, with a thick composition and a rounded pommel end. The sheath is comprised of multiple kinds of wood which alternate in color to form a rich marbled appearance. Size: 24.9" L x 8.625" W (63.2 cm x 21.9 cm); size of blade: 16.5" L x 3.5" W (41.9 cm x 8.9 cm).

The kris is both a weapon and a spiritual object. The oldest known are from the 10th century CE; they are thought to have originated on the island of Java. The bladesmith, called an empu, formed the blade from layers of different iron ores and meteorite nickel. In high quality ones, the metal is folded dozens or even hundreds of times. Krises were worn every day and in special ceremonies; both men and women wore them. They were passed down through families, used for display, as talismans with magical powers, weapons, heirlooms, accessories for ceremonial dress, and indicators of social status. Kris blades are narrow, with wide, symmetrical bases. The aesthetic value has three elements: dhapur, the shape and design of the blade, with 40 variants; pamor, the pattern of metal alloy decoration on the blade, with 120 variants; and tangguh, the age and origin of kris. In 2005, the kris became a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Condition: Light patina from age and handling, but overall the blade and handle are in excellent condition. The sheath has light scratching on the surface, and the guard area is partially separated from the blade area.

Provenance: private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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