Executing the Malay way – the Kris Panjang

Most people are familiar with the Malay and Indonesian kris sword with its double-edged, way blade.

But occasionally kris-like swords are encountered with thin, unusually long blades that are doubled edged but which have no waves.

This type typically is known as a kris panjang. They tend to come from either the Malay Peninsula or Sumatra (there are populations of ethnic Malays along Sumatra’s east coast).

Such long, straight-bladed krises commonly referred to as ‘executioner’s’ krises. They functioned as status symbols and as a form of regalia for local rulers and sultans. But they had a utilitarian nature too.  Executions were carried out in the Malay sultanates by a number of means. One way was to be put to death by sword – but not by beheading or mere stabbing.

The usual Malay way of execution was to make the victim squat and then the executioner would drive the blade of a kris panjang through the upper shoulder near the collar bone – downwards – towards the heart. The driving in of the blade would occur either quickly or slowly according to the sentence. The kris was driven through cotton wool or similar so that the blood would be soaked up, because only the ruler was allowed to be the cause of blood being physically shed and spilled on the ground.

The process of driving the blade down through the body vertically, rather than say, stabbing the victim through the chest horizontally is why the blade needed to be thin and long.

Shown here is a kris panjang that we have in stock.

It is a fine example – and it has an excellent patina!

We have a fine collection of Indonesian & other Islamic weapons in stock.

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