A royal kris luk dagger




Indonesia, Java (Surakarta)


17th century (blade); early 20th century (hilt and scabbard)


Forging, openwork carving, lacquer painting


Steel, silver, brass, diamonds, wood, lacquer


Overall length (without scabbard) 470 mm; blade length 372 mm; scabbard length 421 mm

The pattern-welded blade features thirteen curves. The shape of the blade (dapur) is known as parung sari, which means "sinuous flower". The surface pattern (pamor) is called ngulit semangka, literally "watermelon skin". The hilt is carved from brown wood in the yudo winatan style, which is typical of Surakarta. The silver hilt cup (selut) is pierced with a floral design and inlaid with faceted diamonds. The small silver hilt ring (mendak) is girded by beaded friezes. The wooden scabbard has a wide upper part (warangka) in the gayaman kagok bancih style typical of Surakarta. It exhibits an opulent painted polychrome and gilt decoration called sunggingan. Each side depicts the coat of arms of the royal family of Surakarta or radya laksana, which was designed personally by Sultan Pakubuwono X (r. 1893-1939). The coat of arms is surrounded by a complicated "forest" design or alas alasan, involving various animal motifs. The narrow lower part of the scabbard (gandar) has a slotted cover or pendok blewah. The cover is lacquered in red, except for the slot on its obverse side showing a band of alas alasan design.

COMMENT. Kris is a specific thrusting dagger, which is characteristic exclusively of the Malay world. The geographical area of kris covers most of the Malay Archipelago and some regions in the mainland of Southeast Asia, but it is most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia. This example represents a kris variation with a wavy blade called kris luk. It comes from the royal palace of Surakarta, which is officially named Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat. Both the coat of arms and the red colour indicate the very high status of its owner. The red lacquered pendok, or pendok kemalo bang, also known as pendok bang pangeranan, was the privilege of princes, namely sons and brothers of the sultan (susuhunan). In addition, there have been cases when such krises were used as royal gifts. For example, a kris with a similar scabbard was presented by Sultan Pakubuwono X to one of the Balinese rulers in 1928 (see Jessup, H.I. Court Arts of Indonesia. – New York, 1990. – P. 76).

LITERATURE: Сиваченко Е. Сталь и Золото: Восточное оружие из собрания Feldman Family Museum = Steel and Gold: Eastern Weapons from the Feldman Family Museum Collection. – Киев, 2019. – С. 566-567, №238.