A Balinese 'Kubera' keris
Indonesia, Bali, 19th and early 20th century
Materials: Brass,Bronze, Steel, Iron, Resin,Wood
The keris is one of the most iconic weapons of the Indonesian archipel. Besides hundreds of years of heritage, it is also known in Indonesian religion to posses mythical powers. The keris from the modern period (1300-1600A.D.) are also considered as an important symbol of status for the owner.
Not every keris was suitable for every man. The ‘Empu’ (bladesmith) forges the blade to identify its future owner. Aspects such as leadership, wealth, luck or capability of consorting with bad spirits are a few of the numerous types.
This example originates from Bali and features a fine straight polished blade and rare type of hilt which is attributed to Hinduism, Bali’s most practiced religion.
In ancient Hindu history known as ‘Kuber‘ or ‘Kuvera‘ being the god of wealth and treasury and king god of the ‘Yaksha‘ gods and protector of the world. He is often depicted with a big belly, adorned with jewelry and gemstones or holding a bag full of money such as depicted on our example here. ‘Kubera’ is also represented in Buddhism and Jainism. Most depictions of this deity date from the 10th till 14th century and is afterwards rarely depicted on keris hilts.
The ‘Oekiran‘ (hilt):
As mentioned, depicting a ‘Kubera‘ holding a bag of money in front of his wealthy belly. On top his crown to symbolize his royal status, ruling over the ‘Yaksha‘. The repousse hilt is made of brass which is filled with resin. The ‘mendak’ is made of casted bronze.
The ‘Wilah‘ (blade):
An exquisite blade in typical Balinese fashion; polished smooth and still maintaining its original ‘Waranga‘ washing. The fine pamor structure is clearly visible on the entire blade. The ‘Dapur‘ is straight, representing a resting ‘Naga‘. The ‘Ganja‘ (guard) is attached to the blade which ensures its given power by the ‘Empu‘ (blade smith) The blade is double edged and has a medial ridge which runs down the blade ending in the tip.
Conclusion: A very aesthetically pleasing keris with an excellent preserved blade and rare hilt type which represents treasury and wealth.
The scabbard is carved of two pieces with a ‘Pelet’ fineer finish, made for another keris, but fits quite decent.
Condition: Excellent, the hilt has a little deforming on the base near the ‘mendak’ and the scabbard doesn’t match the keris, but fits quite well.
Total length: 65.6cm
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