5050

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Majapahit Chased Sheet Silver Kris Hilt

Central Java, Indonesia
14th-15th century

height: 12cm, weight: 90g

Sold

Provenance

private collection, UK.

This kris handle or hilt comprises chased and engraved sheet silver over a hollow degraded metal core. The hilt is in the form or a demon-like figure with fanged teeth, a diadem, and a sword in its right hand. The figure leans slightly to his right. Possibly, it is the demon-hero Bhima.

Originally, it was set with multiple cabochon stones (probably zircons or similar) all in box settings but mostly these are now lost.

The granular bead around the chin of the figure is a typically Majapahit affectation not seen in later kris handles. Miksic (1990. p. 117) illustrates a gold example from the late Classic period (AD1000-AD1400) which is very similar in form, construction and with box settings for stones and it too has an almost identical granular beard. Indeed, the granular beard is a characteristic useful in both authenticating and dating the piece.

The hilt stands upright, unaided, on its own, which is a plus for display purposes.

References

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

Miksic, J., Old Javanese Gold, Ideation, 1990.

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