4657

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Kris with Gilded Silver Hilt

Bali, Indonesia
mid-20th century

total length: 56.5cm, length of hilt: 12.2cm, total weight: 576g

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Provenance

UK art market

This fine Balinese kris comprises the wavy blade and a gilded (gold plated) silver hilt. There is no scabbard. The hilt is a magnificent example of a courtly-style hilt shaped as a well-modelled demon (raksasa) figure. The hilt is of an ample size – chunky even – and feels balanced and ‘full’ in the hand.

The blade has a light pamor pattern. Pamor iron is achieved by hammering and folding sheets of molten iron and nicklel until the resulting blade has a fine, watered appearance. Such pamor designs imbue the kris with magical powers. Such blades were produced by kris-smiths (empus) – a role that combined blacksmithing with Balinese mysticism.

The blade is in fine condition. The hilt is in excellent condition. It is without repairs or losses. The hilt is the star component here. It is an excellent piece of silversmithing.

References

Ghiringhelli, V., Kris Hilts: Masterpieces of South-East Asian Art, 5 Continents, 2011.

Groneman, I., The Javanese Kris, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2009.

Hales, R.,I slamic and Oriental Arms and Armour: A Lifetime’s Passion, Robert Hale CI Ltd, 2013.

Ibbitson Jessup, H., Court Arts of Indonesia, The Asia Society Galleries/Harry N. Abrams, 1990.

Neka, S., & B.T. Yuwono, Keris Bali Bersejarah, Yayasan Dharma Seni Museum Neka, 2010.

Wiener, M.J., Visible and Invisible Realms: Power, Magic and Colonial Conquest in Bali, Chicago University Press, 1995.

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