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Kris hilts

Hilts for traditional Malay daggers

The collection contains varied kris hilts, each of which is not only a functional object, but also a full-fledged work of decorative and applied art. The kris is a specific edged weapon of the Malay world. It is distributed almost everywhere in the Malay Archipelago, as well as in some areas of mainland Southeast Asia, but is most closely associated with the traditional culture of Indonesia. Kris hilts are striking in the wide range of shapes, variety of materials used, and extremely complicated symbolism. Each hilt, designed as an abstract, anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or phytomorphic figure, is a vivid example of ethnic artistic tradition, which carries a sacred meaning and has magical significance. Kris hilts have long been collectors' items among lovers of oriental art, perhaps more so than the kris itself as a weapon.