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A jawa demam style hilt

Number

7599

Origin

Indonesia, Sumatra (Minangkabau)

Time

18th century

Technique

Carving

Material

Bone

Dimensions

Length 78 mm

COMMENT. Jawa demam is the most common form of kris hilts on the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The name, literally meaning "the fever-stricken Javanese", seems to have an ironic meaning. Typically, the hilt is a stylized figure of a bird-like deity or man squatting and hugging himself, as if in a fever. The large angular or rounded head with a protruding beak or nose is always tilted forward, so that the hilt has the pistol-grip shape that is comfortable for the hand. Actually, there are many variations of the jawa demam style between the restrained stylization of the form and the extreme degree of its simplification. Interpretations of the image also vary widely depending on the degree of stylization and the predominance of certain portrait traits. In most cases, the jawa demam style hilts are regarded as abstract depictions of Garuda, the mythical lord of birds, which has a mix of eagle and human features.