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Sabtu, 7 November 2009


Taming Sari
One of the most well known keris in Malay Literature is the Taming Sari. It was the keris of the Hang Tuah, great Laksamana (Admiral/General) of Malacca. According to the legend from the book Sejarah Melayu by Tun Sri Lanang, Hang Tuah obtained the magical keris by killing the king of Majapahit, which was an empire located on the island of Java. He tricked the king into letting go of his weapon, and then killed the king.
The Taming Sari was said to grant its user invunerabilty, meaning when someone wields the keris no one can cause any physical damage to the wielder. In the legend, the keris was passed to Hang Jebat, Hang Tuah's best friend, after the supposed execution of Hang Tuah. Hang Tuah was executed by the Sultan for treason after being framed, but with the help of the Bendahara (Prime Minister), he escaped and hid. His keris was passed to Hang Jebat who became the new Laksamana.
Later on Hang Jebat rebelled against the Sultan for killing his best friend without a fair trail, but then Hang Tuah, who was loyal to the Sultan, came out of hiding to stop his friend. They fought in the palace, which Hang Jebat had took over thanks to the magical keris. Hang Tuah knew that Hang Jebat could not be defeated when he held the Taming Sari, so he tricked Jebat saying that the Taming Sari was going to break, and gave Jebat his spare keris. Now, Jebat was no longer with the legendary weapon, and was stabbed by Tuah. He died soon after by the poison of Hang Tuah's keris
The kris or keris is a distinctive, asymmetrical dagger indigenous to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Southern Thailand and the southern Philippines. Both a weapon, and spiritual object, krisses are often considered to have an essence or presence, with some blades possessing good luck and others possessing bad.

Keris blades are usually narrow and have a wide, asymmetrical base. Blade length is highly variable. The blade is made from different iron ores and often contains nickel. A bladesmith, or empu, makes the blade in layers of different metal. Some blades can be made in a relatively short time, while more legendary weapons can take years or even a lifetime to complete. In high quality the metal of the blade has been folded dozens or even hundreds of times and handled with the utmost precision. There are keris blades that purportedly carry the imprints of the smith's thumbs, or even lips, which were impressed upon the blade during the forging process. The different metals used to forge the blade gives the keris its distinctive ‘watered’ appearance. This is called pamor and is similar in concept to Damascus patterning on Indo-Persian blades and "hada" on Japanese blades. Blades are acid-etched after forging to bring out the contrasting patterns formed by the various metals used in the keris. Iron ore sources are rare in some areas of the Malay world, especially in Java. The keris-smiths, called Empu (for those highly skilled smiths in the employ of Kratons, who can pass down their title of Empu to their sons) or pandai keris (for smiths of varying skill levels, working outside of kratons), often use myriad types of metal ores that they can find to make the blade. There are tales of blades made from meteorite iron (rare and highly prized due to its spiritual significance and higher nickel content) to scrap metals from vehicles, tools, railway tracks, captured Dutch cannons and blades, and in recent times, bicycle chains. Keris blades can be straight or sinuous. With sinuous blades, the bends are called luks. Most keris have fewer than 13 luks and the number of luks should be odd, or the keris would be considered unlucky. The sinuous blade has become synonymous with the keris, especially today as it has become a popular tourist souvenir. In reality more than half of the old keris have straight blades. The luks maximise the width of wound while maintaining its weight.
A keris and its sheath have many parts. The names for these parts vary by region. The following terms apply mainly to the Javanese keris. ukiran – handle/hilt; patra – handle carvings (especially on Javanese ukiran); selut – metallic cap on the ukiran (not on all krisses); mendak – metal cup on the tang between the ukiran and the blade guard; wilah – blade; pocok – blade point; peksi – tang; ganja – guard/parrying structure; wrangka – the wide, top portion of the sheath; gandar – the narrow portion of the sheath; pendok – a metal sleeve for the gandar; buntut- end of the pendok.
The ukiran and the sheath are often made from wood, though examples made from ivory or covered in gold sheets could be found. Different regions in Southeast Asian produce different styles of wilah, ukiran, and sheaths. One beautiful material used for some ukiran and wrangka was fossilized mammoth molar, called "graham". Such a molar would be cut to reveal the dentine patterns within the molar. Aged graham sheaths exhibit an attractive orange, white, and beige stripe pattern.

Functionally, the kris is not a slashing weapon like a bowie knife or other fighting knife, but rather a stabbing instrument. If a kris fighter had stealth on his side, the kris was lethal. There are many stories of a kris being made especially for killing a specific person. However, the slashing wound made by kris is terrible. The edge of the blade "danced" in the wound, and left the tatters of dead flesh, which began to rot. This is the reason why all sinuous blades were considered inhuman all over the Europe.
Kris has a cranked hilt, which served as a support for stabbing strike. At the same time it allowed to add the strength of the wrist to the pressure on the blade while slashing and cutting. Kris has no special protection for the hand, except for the broad blade at the hilt, which offers some protection for the hand. In rare cases Kris has its blade being capable of rotating around the axis, fixed in the hilt. The idea was to get the blade automatically turning to slip past the ribs. This hardly works but surely leads to low durability of the weapon.
Krisses were worn everyday and at special ceremonies, with heirloom blades being handed down through successive generations. Yearly cleanings, required for as part of the spirituality and mythology around the weapon, often leaves ancient blades worn and thin. In everyday life and at events, a man usually only wore one kris. Women sometimes also wore krisses, though of a smaller size than a man’s. In battle, a warrior carried three krisses: his own, one from his father-in-law, and one as a family heirloom. The other krisses served as parrying daggers. If the warrior didn’t have another kris to parry with, he used the sheath. Krisses were often broken in battle and required repairs. A warrior’s location determined what repair materials he had. It is quite usual to find a kris with fittings from several areas. For example, a kris may have a blade from Java, a hilt from Bali and a sheath from Madura.
In many parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, the kris was the choice weapon for execution. The specialized kris, called an executioner's kris, had a long, straight, slender blade. The condemned knelt before the executioner, who places a wad of cotton or similar material on the subject’s shoulder/clavicle area. The blade is thrust through the padding, piercing the subclavian artery and the heart. Upon withdrawal, the cotton wiped the blade clean. Death was fairly quick.






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