Enquiry about object: 3298

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    Iron Trisula

    Java, Indonesia
    circa 18th century

    length: 40cm



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This elegant, three-pronged ceremonial lance head, known as a trisula or trisular, is of pamor iron, achieved by hammering and folding sheets of molten iron until the resulting blade has a fine, watered appearance. Such pamor designs imbue the trisula with magical powers. The pamor on this example is particularly striking.

    Such lance heads were produced by kris-smiths (empus) – a role that combined blacksmithing with Javanese mysticism. The blades were smithed at auspicious times and with much ritual. The lances were intended for ceremonial display and use in the palaces (kratons) of central Java. Like most krises, the prongs of this trisula are also wavy (luk).

    Lance heads of similar form were presented in the nineteenth century to King William III of the Royal House of Orange-Nassau. These are illustrated in Wassing-Visser (1995, p. 166.)

    The example here is in fine, stable condition.


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

    Wassing-Visser, R., Royal Gifts from Indonesia: Historical Bonds with the House of Orange -Nassau (1600-1938), Waanders Publishers, 1995.

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