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Jakarta Post

Kris: A cultural inheritance

Fri, March 16, 2018   /   09:29 am

Maksum Nur Fauzan

Kris daggers are popular among Indonesians and expatriates. Their unique patterns is one of the reasons why people like the blade. The kris has become a national treasure and, for some, a collectible item.

Subandi “Bandi” Suponingrat is a blacksmith who specializes in making the distinct dagger. He lives in Banaran village, Karanganyar regency, Central Java.

From afar, the sounds of iron being forged at his house, which also serves as his workshop, can be heard.

To make a kris, Bandi needs three kilograms of iron ore, 800 grams of nickel and half a kilogram of steel. Bandi and his three workers blend the materials together to produce a pamor pattern.

Bandi then makes the handle, which is usually made of wood. He carves in motifs that typically resemble animals.

The final step is to make a warangka (sheath) from wood. It is usually coated with metals like brass, silver or gold.

Bandi said he needed three to four weeks to make one kris, depending on the motif. To make a complete kris, he added, it took eight people with expertise in different skills, such as carving and sheath-making. [yan]