Enquiry about object: 2745
Malay Kris with Fine Blade & Silver Mounts
Sumatra or Malay Peninsula 19th century and earlier
UK art market
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This is a particularly fine example of a kris. Each element shows very fine craftmanship, and overall, the piece has a wonderful patina. It was acquired in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since colonial times.
The hand-guard or wrangka is of blonde wood and in the shape of a ship’s hull – quite possibly a European ship, as it clearly shows the ship’s rudder. 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 age and fine patina of this kris is most evident in the yellow hue that the wrangka has taken on.
The blade could be as early as seventeenth century. It is double-edged and straight with a pronounced pamour created by layers of nickel and iron.
The scabbard’s pendok is encased in silver that has been very finely chased on both sides with typically Malay vegetal scrolling.
The hilt is of carved horn and is shaped as a highly stylised Garuda.
The blade fits snugly into the scabbard. Overall, this is a very fine kris in excellent condition.
Caravana, J. et al, Rites of Power: Oriental Weapons: Collection of Jorge Caravana, Caleidoscopio, 2010.