| Talismanic dagger [keris Majapahit]

Javanese people
Java, Indonesia

Talismanic dagger [keris Majapahit] 19th century or earlier
27.0 (h) x 5.0 (w) x 1.5 (d) cm
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden


This type of Javanese dagger [keris] is named after Majapahit, the last great Javanese Hindu kingdom that declined in the late 15th century with the arrival of Islam. The prototype for this type of weapon, with hilt and blade created from one piece of tempered metal, is said to have developed in the Majapahit period. The crouching figure that forms the hilt, however, can be traced to a much earlier era. The keris Majapahit is not used as a weapon, rather it is its talismanic properties that protect its owner.

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