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Early 20th C. Indonesian Iron & Silver Kris w/ Sheath

Regular Price: $1,195.00

Special Price $650.00

Southeast Asia, Indonesia, ca. early 20th century CE. A beautiful example of a kris (keris) with a serpentine iron blade presenting dozens of undulating bands of lighter material as well as a pointed guard. A hemispherical silver guard with eight bulbs separates the carved wooden handle and guard. The chestnut-hued hard wood handle has an abstract, anthropomorphic mask carved into the underside as well as just above the silver separation disc. The interior of the sheath is lined with rough-hewn wood, and the guard protector is oblong and carved from a gorgeous caramel-hued wood. A silver-plated copper sheath cover fits over the interior lining and displays a series of foliate, zoomorphic, and cloud-form motifs. Size: 20" L x 5.75" W (50.8 cm x 14.6 cm); length of blade: 14.625" L (37.1 cm).

The kris is both a weapon and a spiritual object. The oldest-known examples are from the 10th century CE, and 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. In high-quality examples, 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: Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small nicks to blade edge, tarnishing to silver and silver-plated components, and light roughness along blade. Silver-plated copper sheath cover is removable. Light earthen deposits throughout. Nice lustrous patina on handle and guard protector.

Provenance: private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection

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