Discussion in 'Silat' started by zakariyya21, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. zakariyya21

    zakariyya21 Valued Member

    Are all keris's made with magic?

    Are there keris's that are made by ruqyyah I mean by just reciting verses of Quran over it, while making it?

    Are there keris's made without anything mystical or magical over it?

    Is it possible for an outsider to learn how to make the keris?

    Is it possible to go to Indonesia and get a keris made?

    Do they make keris's for outsiders?

    I know my questions might be a bit strange but I just watched a documentary on the keris and it kind of spooked me out.

    It also intrigued me
  2. kunderemp

    kunderemp New Member


    Not all of Keris made with magic.

    Actually, Keris was not made using magic but simply old-fashion steel-forging and metallurgy knowledge.
    The magic was infused to Keris in hope that the keris wouldn't be a burden or curse to its owner.

    Never heard of it but there might be ones.
    The practice have been known for a long time before Islam came to Indonesia. And the magic was actually part of Javanese belief where everything is connected and interrelated. Thus, Empu (the one that will make Keris) usually fasting (abstinence) for a period of time before working on Keris.

    There was a story where the client didn't have the patience to wait the Keris to finish and he stabbed the Empu. But then, using trick, he murdered the local ruler and accused other people and became the new ruler and claimed the wife of previous ruler as his own. He, then, started rebellion and overthrown the King and became the new King. However, he was finally murdered by his stepson, using the same Keris he used to kill the father. The client name was Ken Arok and the Empu name was Empu Gandring.

    Yes, there are keris made without anything mystical.

    I think it should be possible.

    Yes, it is possible.

    I never order one but I never hear they refused order for outsiders and neither I hear they refuse to teach outsider.

    When we talk about Javanese culture, although they are a bit of exclusive (I came from Javanese ethnic), they are actually welcome anyone who are interested to their culture. And some of Javanese are syncretic, we even have the term 'Kejawen' to describe this kind of syncretic. In my opinion, however, Kejawen is not about syncretism but about how they believe their spiritualism are compatible with any of faith, so we have Islam Kejawen, Katolik Kejawen, etc.

    The fasting ritual I mentioned, is part of Javanese spiritualism and Gamelan makers who are conservative are also do fasting ritual before they make Gamelan yet the knowledge how the gamelan is made is open for public.

    Some of Java spiritualism school has reach even European like Sumarah, Subud, Sumarah so logically, if the 'Javanese spiritualism' itself is available for public then the knowledge of Keris should also be open for public.

    The one that was kept secret in Javanese culture was the technique of using Keris in its Pencak style. Compared to Malaysia (Gayong) and Bali, Javanese Pencak school are rarely shown the Keris usage for outsider. (note that Pencak is how Javanese call Silat).

    What was the title of the documentary? Which keris the documentary covered? Javanese Keris? Malaysia Keris? or Balinese Keris?

    The response I gave above was only about Javanese Keris. Malaysia or Balinese culture for making Keris are probably different.

    Here are two links of Keris making in Javanese culture:

    -------------- additional --------------------
    I look at English wikipedia and the articles about Keris (it is written as Kris) is actually good.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  3. zakariyya21

    zakariyya21 Valued Member

    [ame=""]Discovery - Keris 1/3 - YouTube[/ame]

    this was the documentary
  4. kunderemp

    kunderemp New Member

    thank you, Zak.

    The documentary was made in Malaysia. However, as stated in the documentary, it came first from Java.

    There were some belief and practice that was still persist and preserved in Malaysia and I'm surprised considering how Malaysia is a lot of more rigid compared to Javanese. However, it seemed that they don't just inherit the belief and the practice, they even expand the mythology and the creativity.. or perhaps it just me being ignorance of my own culture.

    my answers are stand still, Zak.
    It is possible for you to get a keris made. And I belief it is possible for you, as non-Indonesia nor Malaysian, to learn how to make Keris.

    We heard a lot of similar 'magical' stories here in Java, however, for us, a Keris was not something to be terrified of. It should be respected, it should be treat cautiously but not to be afraid of.

    It's weird. When I heard the similar stories in Indonesia, I got the sense of wonder but when I watched the documentary, I got the spooky side.
  5. taoizt

    taoizt Valued Member

    I know only a little bit of keris but like Kunderemp said, what I know is, that not all keris have mystical value. Especially if you go to more touristic place you can find a lot of modern keris that are not made by an 'old-school' empu. I'm not even sure if you can still find traditional ones who have all the old kejawen knowledge. Probably there are still empu but entirely hidden to the public.

    In Holland there are a lot of keris available. Mostly because a lot of Indos brought them from Indonesia to Holland back in the 50's. There are thousands of keris over here. But even then you need to know your way around to find some authentic ones. Then the problem is there are no empu's around in Holland, so you will always need to buy one without knowing the 'keris background'. There are some stories about people having problems with a keris that creates strange occurences in the house.

    But like Kunderemp said, it's not supposed to be a thing to be afraid off, merely to have respect for. As soon as you are getting afraid of an object, you might actually start 'seeing things' so just regard it as something which is part of nature.
  6. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    A lot are probably just machine stamped now, the same as most blades.

    As for the magic - superstitions like that have long been associated with a lot of weapons. No one has ever been able to show it's actually effective in the slightest.
  7. jaggernautico

    jaggernautico Valued Member

    really enjoyed the doc! Thanks for posting it.
    There is a nice doc DVD too called Village of the Keris: the art of bun dai sara. which is about a village in southern thailand where they still teach traditional keris making that i thought was quite fascinating.
  8. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Most people who make keris today are not Empu but just village metal workers. The metal they make the keris from is steel and nickle from the factory. There is no magic involved and once the blade has its basic form much of the work is done with electric power tools such as disc grinder, drill etc. There is no fasting or prayers or any mystical knowledge involved and they will make a keris for anyone.

    The old Empu had a deeper knowledge of esoterica but I think most of this has gone.
  9. nasigoreng

    nasigoreng Valued Member

    you can buy souvenir kris of varying quality at any large department store or souvenir store. I found the best quality souvenir kris available at the Pasaraya Grande dept. Store in Jakarta.

    I read an article about an empu in the yogyakarta area who still made keris the traditional way. According to the article, he was in such high demand that there was a long waiting list.
  10. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    You can buy a keris on ebay if you want, you dont need to get it made.

    In the old days the Empu classified all the types of Iron from which a keris could be made according to colour and the sound made when struck. Different impurity's in the Iron ore gave the Iron obtained from a given ore different characteristics. There are sixteen types of Iron from which keris can be forged. To make a keris 3 of these Irons are forged together, to make a keris Pusaka 5 are forged together. Some people would say if a keris is not made in this way it is not a real keris. When a keris is made in the old way it can take 40 or more days to forge the keris. Now this type of keris is perhaps difficult to obtain today which is why some only collect antique keris.
  11. zakariyya21

    zakariyya21 Valued Member

    I would buy one from ebay but i'd prefer to get it made, because I don't want to buy one with any magics in it, if I get it off ebay I don't know where its come from.
  12. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    If you like you can select to display new keris only, problem is if you ask for a keris to be made for you there is a high chance that they will take advantage of you with the cost and postage.
  13. zakariyya21

    zakariyya21 Valued Member

    i'm planning on going to indonesia in the summer with my teacher so i'll wait and see then.
  14. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Good idea, that way they cant pull a fast one which from my experience doing any business with Indonesians they are very good at. They will either try to charge you double the price, not send you what you ordered or mysteriously the item will go missing in the post.....basically when it comes to money they cant be trusted.

    This is not just my personal experience btw but almost everyone I have talked to....harsh but absolutely true!
  15. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Anyone have any insights on how Indonesian keris vary from Filipino kris?
  16. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Filipino kris is more like a sword and they are more robust. The handle is fitted to the blade more securely and they tend not to have any pamor visible on the blade. There is more mysticism surrounding the Indonesian keris then there is the filipino kris. I'm not sure that any Filipino kris are regarded as pusaka or having any mystical/magical powers.
  17. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I own one Filipino kris. You ain't wrong about it being "robust." That's what's always struck me about the Indonesian keris I've seen. They look very... delicate? I don't mean that to sound dismissive. A good blade certainly doesn't need to weigh a ton.
  18. Narrue

    Narrue Valued Member

    Another major difference is that an Indonesian Keris is designed to be a stabbing weapon whilst a Filipino Kris is for stabbing and slashing.

    Indonesian keris fall into the category of "spirit knive" like the Tibetan phurba, or Thai MeedMoh, a talisman in the form of a knife. They are often secured to the main beam of a house with yellow ribbon to protect the house. People believe if they have one it will protect them, it was never used in battle as the main weapon.
  19. Injurytime

    Injurytime New Member

    Hi, I've been told that in many South-East Asian cultures Kris are not regarded as weapons in the ordinary sense. That cuts both ways - they're more than weapons, because of the spiritual aspects, and less, in the sense that carrying one doesn't make you 'armed' and many people would be scandalised at the idea that their kris was a weapon.

    The forging process - involving purification ceremonies, a 'fitting' or two where the maker meets the buyer and makes the blade for his personal as well as physical qualities and so forth, are typical of weapons forging across the world, from katana to preindustrial European. The metallurgical properties are to do with a phenomenon called carbon migration. Before steel could be reliably produced iron was smelted in small bloom furnaces, and the result was a lump of iron and silicate slag, with varying carbon contents, some far too hard, some far too soft. Heated to welding heat (hot hot hot, fyi) and pattern welded, the carbon migrated across the pieces of metal to give a result that can now be obtained by twiddling the dial on a blast furnace.
    Kris though are traditionally made of meteoric iron, possibly partly for technical reasons - very high nickel content and malleability. The 'ring test' - ringing a piece of metal like a bell to judge its composition - lets you judge its hardness. Harder metal rings higher and clearer.

    I would expect that you can find someone who will make you a 'kris' fairly easily. I'll make you one, if you like. But a 'kris' might not be a 'kris.' I can forge weld a truck spring to a fencepost, buy a handle online and it will more or less look right. But...

    One silat player I know told me that his teacher, a highly educated man by the way, flat out insisted that skill with the kris was a question of connection with the spirit world. Spirits have to be happy for you to have that particular kris. Others go further, saying that you don't move the kris at all. God does, or spirits. Some kris have patterns in the steel that mean specific things, foretelling prosperity, or death in battle. I know people who have had recurring dreams they never had before after acquiring new ornamental kris, or who have dreamed of a particular kris repeatedly - only to be given exactly that kris by their teacher, without prior warning. I can't make you one that will do that. Probably the only way to get something like that is to be given it, in the traditional manner, in which it's quite possible that no money will change hands at all. Some would warn you against buying an antique kris whose history you don't know. As a disclaimer I must point out that this all sounds like superstitious eyewash to me too, but there are more things in heaven and earth etc. I don't have a kris.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  20. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    Some are regarded to have spirit quality. Some are regarded as agimat or anting anting (a talisman with protective powers). Some are imbuned with the spirit of all it's previous owners. Some that have been taken off the field (battle field booty) are said to house the spirit of the slain warrior and the warrios it has slain. Someone was giving me s kris sometime back and I saw the notch on the blade which means it had been used to decapitate the enemy. It gave me a bad feeling so I kindly declined the gift.

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