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    Fine Malay Kris with Carved Hilt & Inscribed Silver Mounted Scabbard

    Malay Peninsula
    19th century

    length: 45cm, weight: 336g



    UK art market

    This fine example of a kris was acquired in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since colonial times.

    The hand-guard or wrangka (to use the Javanese term) is of blond ‘pelet’ wood with dark striations. It is in the shape of a stylised ship’s hull – quite possibly a European ship. This type of depiction is most typically associated with krises from Sumatra. Caravana (2010) identifies the shape precisely as that of the hull of a Portuguese nau sailing ship.

    The collar or ring at the base of the hilt is of cast silver that has been chased with flower motifs.

    The blade is double-edged and wavy with a pronounced pamour created by layers of nickel and iron.

    The scabbard is encased in silver that has been chased on the front side with geometric and vegetal motifs. The reverse has been chased with a motif akin to a pineapple’s skin but with a central cartouche which is inscribed in Jawi (the Malay version of Arabic) with what is likely the owner’s name.

    The hilt is of carved and pierced dark wood and is shaped as a highly stylised Garuda.

    The blade fits snugly into the scabbard. Overall, this is a fine kris in fine condition.


    Caravana, J. et al, Rites of Power: Oriental Weapons: Collection of Jorge Caravana, Caleidoscopio, 2010.

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