Indonesian Kingdoms and Keris throughout the Centuries
Indonesia is a very ancient land, there are archeological artifacts that have been found which dates the kingdom of the Tatar Sunda Territory of what is now know as West Java at the 2nd Century AD. It has been discovered that Java was built around this time. By the 15th Century and the date of the European Renaissance, Java and Sumatra, the two largest islands of Indonesia in modern times, had already seen over a millennium of civilization and two major empires had risen and fallen.
Although examples of the Keris can be found throughout most of Southeast Asia it is said to have come originally from the island of Java. The first Kerises can be traced to 14th century Java and a Janggalo king by the name of Inakto Pali.
Some major and notable kingdoms of ancient Indonesia include:
The Mataram Kingdom: This kingdom was based in Central Java which is close to the current day Yogjakarta. The Mataram is dated between the 8th and 10th centuries CE. During its last years it was ruled by Dharmawangsa. The kingdom collapsed around 996 A.D. into chaos at the end of Dharmawangsa's reign under military pressure from an opposing military force.
The Srivijaya Empire: Srivijaya was an ancient Malay kingdom on the island of Sumatra which greatly influenced much of the Malay Archipelago. Artifacts and records of its early culture are in very short supply; however archeological estimates date the kingdom from approximately 200 C.E. to the year 1400. From the little that can be found about this Empire it has been discovered that Srivijaya controlled both the Spice Route traffic and local trade. They charged tolls on passing ships, and remained a formidable sea power until the thirteenth century. Vajrayana Buddhism was also the predominant religion of this kingdom and attracted many scholars seeking knowledge from other parts of nearby Asian countries.
The Singhasari and Majapahit Empires: The Singhasari began in east Java between 1222 and 1292. The Majapahit Empire came later and was located and ruled much of southern Malay and Bali from about 1293 to around 1500. The Majapahit controlled and gaining a larger share of the commercial trade that passed through the archipelago.
Due to the growing trade business with other Southeast Asian countries during the development of what is now known as the Archipelago, the Keris began to spread throughout these regions. It became highly prized in this culture and men were not thought to be successful unless a Keris was in his ownership. It is well known that they were thought to possess magical powers and properties and that both men and woman wore them at all times as part of their dress code.
Unfortunately, at around the end of the 20th century Keris making had all but ceased to exist. Changes in the economics and culture did not require the beautiful blades at the level they were once demanded. Many historians and admirers of the blade and its cultural significance helped bring about a renaissance in Keris making. Keris experts revitalized the tradition of the blades and they are once again being crafted by master swordsmen. Some natives frown upon these blades calling them “Millennium Kerises” and viewing them with distain; however, these new blades are finely made and are considered works of art by Keris experts. These blades will someday grow old and carry with them the same value to future generations as Keris of old now have for families throughout the Archipelago.
It is believed 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. Be sure that the Keris you purchase is of only the highest quality and you are not getting an imitation or “simple” blade as those which are often sold on Internet auctions.
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