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20th C. Indonesia Iron Kris - White Sapphires in Handle

Regular Price: $895.00

Special Price $450.00

Southeast Asia / Oceania, Indonesia, ca. mid 20th cenury CE. An iron kris (keris) with a gilded wooden handle studded with approximately 150 inlaid white sapphires (of which approximately one third remain). The inlays are separated by filigree. The handle is simple in form, curved at the top and tapering to a series of four rings above the distinctively wide upper part of the kris blade. The blade is of similarly simple triangular form, without the sinuous curves of many other krises. A dark wooden sheath protects the blade. Size of kris with sheath: 4.45" W x 17.8" H (11.3 cm x 45.2 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. Kris were worn every day and in special ceremonies; both men and women wear them. They were passed down through families. They were used for display, as talismans with magical powers, and weapons, and as heirlooms, as 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: Approximately one third of the white sapphires remain. Patina on handle and sheath from age and handling.

Provenance: private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection

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