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Keris

Legend had it that the mystical keris Taming Sari could fly and seek out the enemy, just like modern missiles. Not only that but it would even rattle in its sheath to warn its owner of potential danger.

In the 15th. Century, when he wanted to ask for the hand in marriage of Majapahit princess Raden Galoh Chandra Kirana, Sultan Mansur Shah traveled to Java with his royal bodyguard, Hang Tuah.

Keris  is a unique weapon synonymous to the Malay kingdom. In the ancient time, a man without a keris was akin to being naked. Simply defined, a keris is a double edged wavy blade dagger. However, what makes a blade a keris is not at its wavy form but the intricate details found at the surface of the blade; details that only exist in a blade named ‘keris’. There is always adventure and nobility in a keris. Because of its substantial significance to the Malay world, keris is always highly venerated and placed at the uppermost stature.

The names ‘Keris’ originally derived from the word ‘kekeratan’  and ‘aris.

Kerat in Malay means something that  ‘cut’ and ‘aris’ means peace, slow and harmony.  ‘Keris’  is Malay  weapon that symbolise the strength of Malay warriors and Malay nobility.

Keris is also closely related to the Malays’ art of  self defense ‘Silat’.

The Keris of Muslim Malays differ from the ones from the ones the Hindu Balinese uses. Balinese keris have beautiful carvings of gods and animals on the keris hilt, sheath and sometimes on the blade.

Meanwhile, since Islam forbids such figures and carving of gods and animals, Muslim Malay keris are usually plain without any carvings or have carvings of Koranic verses on the hilt,sheath and cover.

Despite the differences, both Malay/Balinese cultures believes that the Keris could summon magic.

In book or DVD

Story about Taming Sari….

Legend had it that the mystical keris Taming Sari could fly and seek out the enemy, just like modern missiles. Not only that but it would even rattle in its sheath to warn its owner of potential danger.

In the 15th. Century, when he wanted to ask for the hand in marriage of Majapahit princess Raden Galoh Chandra Kirana, Sultan Mansur Shah traveled to Java with his royal bodyguard, Hang Tuah.

Unfortunately, Hang Tuah, instead of the Sultan, became the center of attention there.This was the opportunity that Pateh Gajah Mada had been waiting for to oust Hang Tuah permanently from the Sultan’s favourite list.

The envious palace official engaged a Javanese warrior, Taming Sari, to kill Hang Tuah but the tables turned and Hang Tuah won the fight as well as Taming Sari’s keris (also named Taming Sari). Thus began the legendary saga of Malaysia’s most celebrated dagger.

Taming Sari, classified as keris kuasa or bawar, is made of an alloy of 20 metal composites, some said to come from bolts holding Mecca’s Holy Kaabah gates.

A keris kuasa is said to poses supernatural powers and has to be “cleansed” in the melimau ceremony periodically to retain its potency.

When he could not persuade Puteri Gunung Ledang to marry Sultan Mahmud, Hang Tuah threw the Taming Sari into Sungai Duyong out of frustration. One legend said that if the Taming Sari surfaced up Sungai Duyong, Melaka will be famous again

Another legend said that Tun Mamat did history a favour when he recovered the Taming Sari for the Sultan’s safekeeping.

In 1511, the Portuguese conquered Malacca and Sultan Mahmud fled to Johor-Riau and later to Kampar in Sumatra.

Taming Sari finally found a permanent home in Perak as part of its state regalia when Sultan Mahmud’s son, Sultan Muzaffar Shah 1, was installed as the first Sultan of Perak and the keris was passed on to his successors till present day.

Footnote: The keris is a weapon peculiar to the Malay Archipelago which encompasses Thailand’s Pattani region, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines’ Mindanao region and certain parts of Cambodia. Historians believe the first keris was developed in 9th. Century and perfected by 14th. Century. In Aceh, the keris is call rencong and Sulawesi, badik.

The keris is surrounded by mystery and there are tales of deaths being caused by simply thrusting the keris into a victim’s footprints.  Sculptures of keris, dating back more than 400 years have been found in Central Java’s Chandi Borobudur where it is known as kujang.

Another keris frequently mentioned in Malay forklore is Keris Mahsuri though no one really knows where it is today. It was said to be the keris used to kill Mahsuri who was wrongly accused of adultery.

Related articles

KERIS, more than an ordinary weapon.

Keris: The Fascination of an Everlasting  Cultural Heirloom

Keris

Keris, the traditional Malay dagger

The Malay Keris

The Tuah Legend

Ancient Malay Weapon

Sources

http://alam-melayu.blogspot.com

http://www.tourism-melaka.com

House of Keris

Koleksi of Keris

GM:

There have been calls for Malays to acquire a Keris for each  home as a symbol of the remembrance of  Malay heritage.   I reserve my support on this matter, for few practical reasons:

First of all, the cost to acquire a Malay Keris could be quiet exorbitant, it ranged from a simple non carving Keris costs around RM300 to thousands of ringgits (R&R KLIA).

Secondly, I don’t see any reason for displaying a Keris for the sake of memento (unless it has to be related to my family’s/generation’s past history).

Thirdly, it is still a weapon, so it could hurt somebody who handles it carelessly, especially if you are non silat practitioner.

Fourthly, I feel that to instill the ‘Jatidiri Melayu’ is to embrace the deeper philosophical values, wisdom and virtues of Malay civilisation.  It is kind of intangible assets… It is what you are.


“Ancient, a man without a keris was akin to being naked, nowdays a man  without the desire to improve himself would be forced to be naked on the street...think about that.”


Again, this is just from my humble opinion..living a life a day at a time behind the screen.

One day I hope I will have this,


and sail to meet my brothers and sisters across the Malay archipelago…

Windsurfing

Filed under: Arts & Crafts,

One Response

  1. sss says:

    see my site more about this..
    http://mekongpeace.blogspot.com

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