Here you will find photographs of Indonesian talismanic weapons.
These are not weapons in any sense other than being weapons to guard against misfortune, they are not weapons intended
to be used against humanity.
In a sense, this could probably be called a "non-information" page. Not enough is known about these items of wesi aji to allow
a definitive discourse on them. My purpose in making these photos available is to assist researchers in this field.
The items hereunder that resemble a keris are known as "keris sajen" in Indonesia, and by many collectors in the western
world as "keris Majapahit". The keris sajen is reportedly a keris used in offerings, notably the ceremony of bersih desa which
is carried out after the major rice harvest (panen raya). Dates for the harvest can vary, and each village has its own day and
own requirements for bersih desa, so offerings can change from village to village.
In the ceremonies I have seen, no keris sajen has been used. Suryo Negoro in his book "Javanese Traditional and Ritual
Ceremonies" describes the general form of bersih desa and mentions two other forms specific to individual villages.
Nowhere does he describe the inclusion of a keris in these ceremonies. Bambang Harsrinuksmo in "Ensiklopedi Keris" claims
use of this keris form in the ceremony of bersih desa, and other writers have also claimed this. It is possible that some
villages could have the requirement for a keris sajen to be included in the ceremony and other villages not have this
David van Duuren records that in the colonial days, these small keris were known as talismanic weapons.
My own observance has been that present day Javanese regard them as talismanic objects.
At the present time insufficient research has been carried out in relation to this form of wesi aji to allow any certain
definition of their place in Indonesian or Javanese culture.
In respect of the age of keris sajen in general, and this is also true of the examples shown here , it is not possible to be at all
certain of how old any particular item may be. The form is clearly an ancient one, and an example was found under the
central stupa of Candi Borobudur during its restoration, however, whether it was placed there at the time Borobudur was
built, or at a later date, we do not know. However, although ancient, it is doubtful if the form can be linked to Dongson
daggers with similar handles. The time gap between Dongson culture and early classical Javanese culture is too great.
Some writers have attempted to classify this form of wesi aji into types and sub-types, and wish to make true weapons of
the longer examples of the keris sajen. I do not intend to attempt any such classification. Too little is known of these objects
for such a classification to be of very much use. The design of the gonjo of the longer examples would seem to indicate that
these were not intended for use as a real weapon, any more than was the shorter version. Anybody using one of these long
examples as a weapon would be likely to do severe injury to their own hand, because of the narrowness of the gonjo.
I think it is highly probable that the alternate keris sajen as in #'s 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, were forged from recycled old keris
blades. Further, I believe that recycled old keris blades were sometimes used in the manufacture of certain other talismanic
keris, those with the handle forge welded to the base of the blade. Whether this was done simply as a use of recycled
material, whether to preserve a valued blade, whether to save costs, or for all these reasons, we have no way of knowing.
Apart from those items of wesi aji that are positively identifiable as keris sajen, a number of other items of talismanic wesi aji
are also shown here. Some are keris-like, with the handle in a different plane to the blade, one is of cunderik form.
I regret that I am unable to provide more information on these talismanic objects, however, I am open to questions or
discussion in respect of them.
Additional Indonesian talismanic blades will be made available for viewing at a later date.
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