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Encyclopedia > Keris

A keris or spelled as kris in English is a symbolic weapon that is mainly used in Southeast Asian countries.

The length of a keris varies between 12 to 35 centimetres, but sometimes even more or less variants are found. It is categorized as knife or blade, but it is not as sharp as a blade or a knife. A Keris can be a wavy shape keris or a straight shape one.

The main purpose of a keris is not for stabbing or slashing but to increase confidence of its owner by spiritual mean. Certain keris can add bravery or confidence to its owner / holder. Some keris can help avoid farming disaster such as locust or be a charm for good harvest. Other keris can avoid disasters like fire, or omen like haunting ghost. A keris made for killing is very rare such as one used by the king executioner's, but it is rarely used.

A keris is made by an empu or a keris maker who design the keris, and employs a few people who forge the steel. An empu also prays to the Almighty for the purpose the keris is made, eg. for confidence to its owner.

The blade is made from pattern welded layers of iron, steel and meteoric elements such as titanium, sandwiched together during the forging process. The hilt and the sheath is often made from wood, though examples from ivory, even gold, abound. Different regions in Southeast Asian produce different styles of hilts and sheaths, easily identified by a seasoned collector.

The weapon was known since the Javanese kingdom that builds Borobudur. A keris was etched on one relief of the Borobudur temple. Keris culture peaked during the Majapahit Empire period. At that period keris spread from the island of Java throughout the archipelago of Indonesia and even to the Southeast Asian areas now known as Malaysia, Brunei, Southern Philippines, Cambodia, Southern Thailand, and Vietnam.



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