Kris dagger

Kris (keris, kalis) is a double-edged dagger exisiting in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand (Patani), Philippines (Mindanao) and Cambodia (Cham). What makes this dagger rather unusual is its wavy blade. Nobody really knows why this shape has been used. Kris in Indonesia has the title Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, which was awarded to this country in 2005 by the UNESCO.

Kris is kept in the sheath which is usually made of wood. Sheaths made of gold or ivory exist too. Kris is made by a bladesmith or empu. To make a high quality kris the empu uses up to several hunderds layers of iron and nickel.

Kris dagger from Bali, Indonesia
Kris dagger from Bali, Indonesia

In the past kris used to be a symbol of Malayan royalties and state officials. Kris dagger was also attached to a roof of traditional Malayan house as sort of protection. Some claimed that simple pointing of kris at someone was enough to kill a person. In Malaysia some locals still believe that a kris can fly in the night and find enemies of those who sent the kris on its way.

The most famous kris is called Taming Sari. It was named after an Indonesian warrior. According to the legend, the one who owns it is invulnerable. Kris daggers have been used for healing purposes too.