Keris Blade Types; Straight or Wavy
The Keris can be found in three different shapes or blade. The first is the wavy blade, and while this is the most popular for its distinct and unusual beauty, Keris is also made in a straight blade form. Lastly, the blade may be a combination of these two styles, incorporating both wavy and straight patterns from helm to tip. A Kris blade, no matter the style, is properly held and displayed with the tip turning downward.
The first type, wavy blades vary in the amount of waves that run along the length. The waves themselves are called “Luk” and can be anywhere from five to fifteen waves or Luk. The most sought after blades are usually made with 13 Luk, but these are also the least made and hardest to find. A Keris can have five Luk, seven Luk, nine Luk, eleven Luk or fifteen Luk also. Obviously the more Luk the longer the blade will be, thus blades come in short blade, or dagger type styles and long sword styles. One thing is for certain the number of luk will always be an odd number, even in blades that combine a wavy and straight form. Wavy blades are called Dapor Loq. The number thirteen has significance to the natives of the archipelago where the blades originate from. Thirteen was and is seen as a number that provides protection and gives luck to the owner of the blade; to natives it is a magical number. While westerners are negatively superstitious about the number 13 native blade makers and owners are not and they in fact venerate swords made with this number of Luk.
Straight blade types are called Dapor Bener. Straight blades far outnumber the wavy or Dapor Loq type. While many collectors favor the wavy blade for its sinuous and difficult to make form, many also seek the Dapor Bener as these display the characteristic metal and acid etch patterns, or “watered pattern” at their best.
In combination blades, some have waves next to the hilt or only towards the point or tip of the blade. Sizes and weights also vary from six inches long weighing a couple of ounces to two feet long weighing close to two pounds. In the Philippines, Kerises are much larger and heavier than those found in Indonesia. On the other hand, Philippine Kerises lack the watered pattern characteristic of Java or Bali blades.
A word about sheaths: The most commonly found sheaths are made from various types of wood and were often replaced or eventually needed replacing due to breakage or wear. Even though most were made of wood some can be found that are quite elaborate and made of precious materials, ivory, gold, steel were used to make sheaths for Keris and if the owner could afford it they were often encrusted with precious and/or semi-precious gems. Different regions in Southeast Asian produce different styles of sheaths. There are examples, though few, of sheaths made with fossilized elephant teeth. A tooth would be cut to transect the enamel folds inside and the inside and outside would be polished to a high sheen. These sheaths are quite stunning and display the masterful artistic abilities of the Keris makers who created them.
Without a doubt a great Keris is quite possibly the most difficult blade profile to create. This is why collectors seek them out and pay vast sums of money for them. Many people wonder if the wavy shape of a Keris blade is created for pure decoration purposes. The answer to this is a is an unquestionable no. The wavy shape of the Keris allows the blade to have more cutting edge in the same overall length; if a conventional knife hits something hard when stabbing, such as a bone, it will probably be stopped by the hard surface and need to be withdrawn. However, the Keris, because of its curvy shape will slide off bone or hard objects and continue deeper. It would not have to be withdrawn, saving time in combat. Lastly, the Keris shape also makes the blade wider without making it heavier. A wider blade may make a wider wound, but it is also much heavier and thus harder to weld. The Keris is both light and wide, so, it is easy to handle and deadly in combat.
Many believe that a properly made Keris, crafted by a Keris Smith who is knowledgeable in supernatural forces, will afford its owner physic protection, financial prosperity, harmony in life and elevated social status. The finest made blades are thought to possess a magical or spiritual force. This is known to Indonesian’s as “Khodam” or Servitor, Khodam is a spiritual force or intelligence which “lives” in the Keris. In this regard the Khodam provides guidance and offers protection to its owner. All blades sold on this site contain their own unique Khodam sprit genie, which makes them highly prized and valued amongst collectors.
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