A donoriko style kris hilt




Indonesia, Madura (Sumenep)


19th century


Carving, lacquering




Length 90 mm

COMMENT. Donoriko is the name for kris hilts that resemble the unfolding fern shoot in shape. They have a large rounded upper part, which is strongly curved or twisted forward. These hilts are common both on the island of Madura and in East Java. There are several variations of the donoriko style, which are similar in shape but different in the character of the carved decor. In doing so, all of them contain vegetal motifs in varying degrees. The presented hilt demonstrates strong European influence as a result of Madura's long stay under the control of the Dutch East India Company. It represents a particular variation of the donorico style, which includes images of the royal crown, winged dragon, lion heads, human masks and some other Western heraldry elements, however, the main motive is Kuda Sembrani, the legendary winged horse, which was a symbol of the ruling dynasty of the princely state of Sumenep in East Madura, and now is the emblem of the city of Sumenep and the eponymous regency that are part of the East Java province of Indonesia. In addition, the winged horse along with the Dutch royal crown and winged dragon was part of the coat of arms of the Sumenep Sultanate in the 19th century. According to legend, Kuda Sembrani, literally "The Winged Horse", originally belonged to Brawijaya (Bhra Wijaya), the last ruler of the Majapahit Empire, based in East Java, but then it was taken away and tamed by Jaka Tulé (Jokotolé), prince of Sumenep, son-in-law and vassal of the Majapahit emperor. On the same occasion, Kuda Sembrani received the name Kudah Panoleh or "Horse Looking Back" (David van Duuren. The Kris: An Earthly Approach to a Cosmic Symbol. – Aalburg, 1998. – P. 71). Probably, the horse's head turned back symbolized his submission to the new owner. On the presented hilt, the winged horse is portrayed precisely in this position.