Keris: Burning, Forging and Folding

.Keris is a kind of deggar, well known to almost Indonesia and Malay region. The shape is distinctive, sometimes grooved blade. One characteristic of the keris is always accentuate the Pamor or damascene, the metal layer fibers that appear on the bar.

Keris is made from a mixture of some metals that produces a distinctive strength and beauty. The raw materials of keris are iron, steel and something called pamor, that is a nickel metal or meteorite stone. But beside the quality of the material, the most affecting the quality of keris is the workmanship. Β Basically, the principal stages in the making of keris is burning, forging and folding.

Here in Java, the blacksmith who expert to make the keris called Empu. He usually assisted by servants called Panjak. And the place to make a Keris named Besalen. Tools needed include Paron, that is a pedestal forge. Then Supit, a tool for clamping and holding when burned and forged iron. Next is the big hammer held by Panjak and small hammer used by the master to form the keris.

The process

The raw material are two pieces of 2-3 cm thick ferreous beams. The pamor is inserted in between those two material beams. To mash those pieces of metals are burned in the heat of up to 1000 degrees Celsius more. The next is forging. The metals are forged repeatedly to unify them. Then, the coalesced metal are shaped to be flat. After that, the material is folded and cut into two pieces and then burned again. This process is repeated as much as possible, depends on the quality of Keris that wants to be created. The more the number of folds will produce a softer composition. After that, a metal plate is divided into two. One piece used as a dagger and the wider piece used as a butt of keris. So, we have a crude keris named Kedokan now.

The Kedokan then filed until smooth. The Empu uses arsenic to raise the Pamor or the ornaments of iron in the body layer of keris. There are various motives of Pamor created by the traditional patterns to contemporary. Once given the handle, sheath and garnish, the Keris become beautiful and handsome.

Paron is a pedestal forge

big hammer held by Panjak

The heat is up to 1000 degrees Celcius

The metals are forged repeatedly to unify them

Folded and cut into two pieces

Crude keris named Kedokan

An assistant well-known as Panjak

the Keris become beautiful and handsome

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25 comments

  1. Amazing! Breathtakingly gorgeous captures! So enjoyed reading what it is all about~ the beautiful Keris! Your English is really good, whoever said otherwise need to be checking their own! Thank you so, so much for translating, I never really thought you’d be taking my request seriously, that’s very kind of you! It’s so worth it, ‘cos i so enjoyed this page! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  2. I loved learning about the Keris. Great post! I am very impressed that you are brave enough to post in English (I don’t think I would be as brave). Your english is great. Keep working at it!

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  3. Congratulations for your first English post!! Very well done indeed! You have such a rich cultural heritage and writing in English will ensure a greater understanding and appreciation with a much wider audience. Thank you for sharing with us your wonderful world. Terimakasih! Sharon

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    1. Hi Sharon, thanks for stopping by..
      I’m just trying to share about the cultural wealth of Indonesia.
      Umm.. apologize me if there are some mistakes in the way I deliver. I’m not confident enough to write in English actually.. πŸ™‚
      Regards, Aan

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  4. It is true a state of art. The craftsmanship define the class. Great photos also, they can capture the spirit of Keris making

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