Some Indonesian Kris handles (ukiran)

My blogs generally are about my main collecting interests, the Aceh war and related medals and etnographic items but also military medals, phto’s and paperwork from the Netherlands and Hungary in general. A few blogs go beyond that and are about other items I love but do not specifically collect (anymore at least…).

The Kris is an Indonesian dagger that is on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity! The handles, in Indonesian Ukiran, are often works of art in many different materials including ivory. I used to have a nice collection of Kris handles and also Krisses. Here some pictures of some handles I still have.

The first types come from the Island of Java and more specifically from the Cirebon region and have their background in Hindu mythology.

Bima or Bhima was one of the Pandava brother in the Mahabharata. The ancient epic tale from India that also has a strong impact on Indonesian culture and art.

The handles below are believed to depict Bima and come from the Cirebon region and are estimated to be 18th century pieces. The first two are made of wood and the last is in ivory.

Also the Raksasa comes from Hindu mythology and is a demon in human shape with fangs. This is a 18th century piece in elephant ivory of very high quality.

On the island of Sumatra the Jawa Demam or feverish Javanese is a type of handle that is very common. Her some examples from the 19th century or possibly earlier.

Another type from Sumatra is this Tapak Kupak (horseshoe) handle in carved horn with traces of gold paint. The top of the handle shows beautiful openwork.

And the last one is from the island of Madura in the donoriko style in excellently carved ivory, estimated 19th century or earlier.

With thanks to Philip Hartmann and Michael Marlow for their knowledge!