Our Collection

We are proud to offer 31 lots of Krisses from Indonesia over the next couple of weeks. All the Krisses in this exceptional selection are generally ceremonial pieces, being intricately designed and some highly decorated with gemstones and precious metals. In superb condition, they are extremely rare and seldom seen or offered even at major auction houses.

THE KERIS (or Kris)

The Kris is a distinctive, asymmetrical dagger indigenous to Indonesia and the Malay World for at least 500 years. It is widely spread in the Archipelago, but has its origin in the island of Java. A Kris is typically a sheathed short sword or heavy dagger with a wavy blade and knobby hilt bent at about the middle to provide a pistol-like grip.
Unlike other daggers, it can be distinguished by the unusual widening of the blade just below the hilt. Both edges and tip are kept sharp and a damascened pattern – which in ancient times acquired a talismanic reputation – is normally embedded on the blade’s body. The pattern probably originated in Java where meteoric iron was used by the early kris makers. Even when purer iron was available, the ironsmiths continued to incorporate a proportion of meteoric iron into the blade to maintain its mystique.
It is associated with special power due to its blade pattern welding (pamor) and shape (dapur).
Javanese and Malay people believe it is inhabited by a spirit, and the choice of a good Keris goes with a thorough knowledge of the power, the magic and the wealth of each pamor and dapur to match your personality and needs. Some Keris are transmitted from generation to generation as pusaka (heirlooms).
A Kris region of origin can be identified by its hilt, sheath and blade.
Both a weapon and spiritual object, a Kris is often considered to have an essence or presence, with some blades possessing good luck.
A Kris was worn everyday and at special ceremonies, with heirloom blades being handed down through successive generations. Yearly cleanings, required for as part of the spirituality and mythology around the weapon, often leaves ancient blades worn and thin. In everyday life and at events, a man usually only wore one Kris.
The Kris-smiths, called Empu (for those highly skilled smiths in the employ of Kratons (palace), who can pass down their title of Empu to their sons) or Pandai Keris (for smiths of varying skill levels, working outside of Kratons). Only the highest rajas (king/sultan/royals) were permitted to make and carry Krisses decorated with gold motifs.

Provenance

This Kris was bought in the 60s by the Dutch collector Adrien Noe who lived in Jakarta and Bali since the 1950s.
Most of the Krisses in the collection were reputedly sold to him by Jimmy Pandy the most noted antique dealer in Bali after WWII.
Many other Krisses were obtained by Noe in Karangasem from Anak Agung Djelantik the heir of the Lombok throne whose father was a powerful vassal of the Lombok regent during the wars with Holland in the 1960s.
Noe had houses on Sanur Beach / Bali.
Noe, who was an avid collector of Krisses and other Indonesian art, passed away in the late 90s. Because of illness and the wish to simplify his life he began selling some of his better pieces privately in the early 90s.
It and many other pieces from his extraordinary collection were sold by Noe in the early nineties when he sold his house in Bali.
We bought this Keris directly from Adrien Noe in 1995.
The remainder of his extensive collection was sold in the auction by Christie's in Jakarta by the Achianus Noe Foundation on 8 – 9 February 1996.
Similar examples can be found in a number of ancient collections including the royal family of Holland, the National Museum in Jakarta and the several Dutch museums.



Item no. 260 0001






Description : Kris Gold, Wood, Gold inlayed Iron, Ruby Precious Gemstones, Iron
Origin : Banjarmasin, Kalimantan (Borneo)
Age : 17th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 46 cm
  • Width: 15 cm
  • Depth: 3 cm
  • Blade: 28 cm
  • with Handle: 36 cm

Weight : 300 grams
Price : US$46,000

This early (circa 17th century) kris is from Banjarmasin an important Malay trading port located on the southern coast of Borneo. Like many of the major trading centers of Borneo, Banjarmasin was ruled by a Malay court that was strongly influenced by Java, which maintained many Hindu-Buddhist conventions even after most the inhabitants of the island were nominally converted to Islam. This is seen directly in the gold handle of this kris. Solid gold it depicts a long nosed raksasa or demon with bulging eyes and long curly locks that is based on the dvarapala guardian demon statues that flank the entrances to Hindu and Buddhist temples. Notably the handle is cast like the gold knife and kris handles dating from the late Javanese Majapahit Empire (13 to 15th centuries) upon which so many succeeding courts, including those who had converted at least nominally to Islam, were based. Casting using the lost wax method is not only an indicator or great age but also stands in contrast to the larger but similar Balinese gold handles. Although the latter are a continuation of the same tradition, Balinese handles are not cast but rather made by the combination of repoussé and carving. The raksasa in the handle is rather elongated and its necklace encrusted with high quality hand polished Burmese rubies.

Another unique characteristic of this magnificent kris is that both the black iron upper half of the sheath cover and the kris ring below the handle are inlaid with a pure gold floral motif, a technique that has long since disappeared. The kris’s wrangka is of burl wood and the lower half of the sheath covered in gold in a style that resembles the krisses of the Malay kingdoms of Sumatra and the Buginese and Makasaarese kingdoms of southern Sulawesi. Interestingly the handle of this kris also resembles handles of the archaic krisses of that region (see 00003) in that they are figurative and also cast using the lost wax method.


The blade of the kris has a fine damascene pattern or pamor. It has 9 curves or luk.

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Item no. 260 0002






Description : Kris Ivory, Gold, Diamond, Iron
Origin : Minangkabau, West Sumatra
Age : 18th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 56 cm
  • Width: 15.5 cm
  • Depth: 4.5 cm
  • Blade: 35.5 cm
  • with Handle: 44.5 cm

Weight : 600 grams
Price : US$39,800

This large and magnificent kris once belonged to a datu, a chieftain of the Minangkabau ethnic group of the province of West Sumatra, which has been famed since antiquity for its rich gold mines. The handle of the kris is carved in elephant ivory in the form of a stylized human being derived from the raksasa guardian figures dating from Indonesia’s Hindu-Buddhist period. Scholars speculate that the bird-like abstraction was developed to disguise the human form which was forbidden by Islam. The handle is held in a gold cup decorated with repouss√© patterns imitating foliage.

The large sarong or sheath of the kris, including the wrangka cross piece at the top end, is entirely clad with finely decorated with gold filigree which demonstrates the virtuoso abilities of Minangkabau gold smiths who were already praised by western visitors in the 18th century. Creatively the design of the bottom half of the kris sheath consists of simple bands which contrast with the swirls motifs of the top. The foot of the sarong is flared with large round balls often believed to be based on coconuts. A wonderful wreath like decoration with a stepped stupa-like center incrusted with diamond slivers and a dangling leaf on a chain is attached to the sheath where the wrangka and long stem meet. This not only served a decorative function but was also used to bind the kris to the datu.

Like many Sumatran krisses, the iron blade is probably of great antiquity but does not show any of the elaborate damascene patterns of Javanese and Balinese krisses. Its top end, however, is clad in gold. It has 7 luk or curves.

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Item no. 260 0003






Description : Kris Gold, Ivory, Diamonds, Red Stone or Glass, Iron
Origin : Bugis / Makassar, Palace of Bima, Sumbawa
Age : 17th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 50 cm
  • Width: 12 cm
  • Depth: 5 cm
  • Blade: 35.5 cm
  • with Handle: 46 cm

Weight : 575 grams

Remark : Handle damaged / cracked

Price : US$47,500

This rare and beautiful antique gold kris is one of only a handful manufactured in Sulawesi. In the 16th and 17th century, the courts of the Buginese and Makassarese peoples, both from southern Sulawesi, grew in wealth and power as their intrepid sailors crisscrossed the Indonesian Archipelago and beyond engaging in trade and pirating . Although they were never under the direct rule of the powerful earlier Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in Java and Sumatra, they did adopt their imagery in their remarkable krisses which are a directly related to the art of the late Majapahit Empire (13th to 15th centuries) in east Java. This is seen in the handle of this kris which depicts a princely figure, possibly, based on the shape of the curled form of the headdress, Arjuna, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata Hindu Epic.

The wrangka or upper part of the sheath is also elaborately decorated with a floral motif of Hindu-Buddhist origin. Its curvilinear ornamentation stands in contrast to the bands seen on the lower part of the sheath which ends with a flared foot. There is also a kris decoration attached to the body of the kris which resembles a loop in a rope and flower like roundel with a red stone.

The blade of the kris has 11 curves or luk. It is also decorated with gold embellishments and might possibly be of early Javanese manufacture. A kris similar to this one, now in the collection of the Dutch Royal House, was already documented in 1782. Another piece can be found in the collection of Amsterdam’s Tropical Museum.

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Item no. 260 0004






Description : Kris Ivory, silver, Gold, Wood, Iron
Origin : Minangkabau, West Sumatra
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 43 cm
  • Width: 14 cm
  • Depth: 3 cm
  • Blade: 30.5 cm
  • with Handle: 40.5 cm

Weight : 325 grams
Price : US$24,500

18th to 19th century

The ‘cubist’ style ivory handle of this kris depicts a stylized human being squatting on his haunches with his arms folded a top his knees. The diamond-shaped eyes and jutting nose dominate the mouthless face. The flat black is decorated with diamond shapes with v shapes and a stylized four petal flower. These and the stripes on the ankles probably represent tattoos. Notably a bulging penis can be seen between his legs. The handle rests in a gold cup on a pedestal that is decorated with fine filigree work. The wrangka cross piece at the top of the sheath is of dark brown wood. The upper half of the main body of sheath is decorated in silver the bottom with gold. Both are worked with the same floral pattern bordered by the same four petal blossoms on the back of the handle. The bottom finial of the kris is flared and made of ivory and buffalo horn. Like many Sumatra kris blades this piece is straight and has no damascene pattern.

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Item no. 260 0005






Description : Kris Ivory, Silver, Gold, Wood, Iron
Origin : Minangkabau, West Sumatra
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 43.5 cm
  • Width: 13 cm
  • Depth: 3 cm
  • Blade: 32 cm
  • with Handle: 40 cm

Weight : 450 grams
Price : US$19,500

18th or 19th century

Another stylized squatting human figure handle carved of ivory sitting in a gold cup with a diamond and loop filigree pattern. Below this is a ring with granulation and below this again a hexagonal tapered stand. The wrangka is carved of water buffalo horn that is brown with steaks of blond color. The entire length of sheath is clad in silver, the upper half with a pattern of swirling foliage, the lower dominated by double angular stripes which also act as borders for a floral pattern. The tapered foot is of gold with filigree and carving. The blade is very ancient but without damascene or curves. The top of the blade is clad in gold.

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Item no. 260 0006






Description : Kris Wood, Silver, Iron
Origin : Minangkabau, West Sumatra
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 33.5 cm
  • Width: 13 cm
  • Depth: 3 cm
  • Blade: 25.5 cm
  • with Handle: 38 cm

Weight : 325 grams
Price : US$3,950

This stunning kris has a handle and wrangka carved of natural burl wood sitting in a gold cup with an undulating shell like cut out edge. The artist has carefully chosen the wood and followed its natural contours. The sheath is covered with a heavy, deeply worked sheet of gold. The top have is decorated with a double border of zigzags which frame a curving vine with flowers. The bottom half of the sheath depicts flowers framed by reversed v shapes made of thick gold wire. A triangular pattern is at the bottom and foot has vertical stripes resembling those of a pumpkin or belimbing fruit. The blade consists of seven luk or curves and long damascene pattern that extends down the length of the blade. The top of the blade is covered in gold with a woven wire border and fish scale pattern.

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Item no. 260 0007






Description : Kris Wood, Silver, Iron
Origin : Minangkabau, West Sumatra
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 33.5 cm
  • Width: 13 cm
  • Depth: 3 cm
  • Blade: 25.5 cm
  • with Handle: 38 cm

Weight : 325 grams
Price : US$3,950

Carved from a dense hard black ebony-like wood the handle of this kris shows the subtlety and delicacy of Minangkabau artists. The head is divided into two, the surface of the bottom half of which is undecorated. The nose, eyes and hairline all meet at a diamond shape in the center of the forehead. Long tresses on the back side are remnants of the Hindu raksasa demon guardian figures upon which these are based. The elongated left arm of the figure is carved separately from the torso. A pattern on the back represents a decorated textile of some sort the corner of which is held in the wedge like hand. The legs are very small. The wrangka is carved of wood while the main part of the sheath is clad in silver which is vigorously carved with swirling floral patterns. The foot flares widely at the corners. The blade is straight and undecorated.

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Item no. 260 0008






Description : Kris Ivory, Gold, Ruby, Sapphire and other Precious Genstones, Iron
Origin : Bali
Age : First half of the 20th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 52.5 cm
  • Width: 18.5 cm
  • Depth: 2.5 cm
  • Blade: 38 cm
  • with Handle: 47.5 cm

Weight : 575 grams

Remark : Gold loose, needs repair

Price : US$18,900.

Bali Royal Kris

The ivory handle is carved in the shape of a vigorous and muscular warrior with bulging eyes and a fierce grimace on his face to shows indicate an aggressive character. He holds a magic container high in his right hand and grasps the corner of his sarong at his waist in his right hand. Jewelry including a crown, armbands and sumptuous textiles are made of pure gold incrusted with rubies. The bottom ring is also encrusted with a circle of precious stones. The wrangka is carved of ivory and the entire sheath is clad in gold decorated with Hindu motifs including cloud patterns and stylized motifs. The front side is also encrusted with rubies and sapphires, the back with an eternal knot and a stylized tree of life. The blade has five luk or curves and a damascene pattern. This piece is in the Baroque style which flourished in Buleleng north Bali in the second half of the 19th century until the first decades of the 20th. From an old European collection.

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Item no. 260 0009






Description : Kris Wood, Gold, Iron
Origin : Java
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :

  • Length: 48.5 cm
  • Width: 18.5 cm
  • Depth: 5 cm
  • Blade: 33 cm
  • with Handle: 43.5 cm

Weight : 400 grams
Price : US$2,850

Javanese Kris

The beauty of this kris is not elaborate carving but its elegant simplicity. The long tapered curves of the wrangka and sarong are carved of fine burl wood. The handle, too, is of a fine wood and decorated with criss-crossing flower patterns. The kris ring below the handle is silver with granulation. The blade has 9 luk or curves notable for the stunning v pattern of the damascene near the handle.

Item no. 260 0010






Description : Kris Wood, Polychromes, Iron, Gold, Ruby Genstones, Iron
Origin : Bali
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :

  • Length: 62 cm
  • Width: 20 cm
  • Depth: 4.5 cm
  • Blade: 46 cm
  • with Handle: 58 cm

Weight : 500 grams
Price : US$19,950

Balinese Kris

The grip of the wooden handle on this kris has been inlaid with short bundles of horse hair inserted into holes in order to increase the grip. Such handles were drawn by the Dutch artist, W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp in 1904 when he visited the island while it was still under the rule of the native princes. In contrast to other elaborate Balinese handles, which were made for ceremonial purposes, such simple wooden handles were used in combat. The kris ring is of gold inlaid with Burmese rubies. Both sides of the wrangka cross piece at the top of the sheath have been decorated with a meandering tendril and leaf pattern created by placing gold leaf atop green polychrome. A fanged Cyclops motif known as bintulu karang also rendered with gold leaf appears in a grotto. Its background color, red, created from the expensive Chinese pigment cinnabar, stands out in contrast to the green. The details in this paintwork have been added with outlines of black India ink. One side of the sarong is covered with a lacquered layer of cinnabar while the other has been painted with a pattern mimicking rare pelet wood. The blade which has 15 luk or curves is decorated with a fine damascene pattern. It is also carved with the image of a royal singa or lion squatting on its haunches. This is surrounded by a flower and tendril motif.

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Item no. 260 0011






Description : Kris Gold, Ivory, Ruby, Sapphire & other Precious Gemstones, Iron
Origin : Bali
Age : 19th Cent. A.D.
Dimensions :
  • Length: 69.5 cm
  • Width: 22.5 cm
  • Depth: 6 cm
  • Blade: 39 cm
  • with Handle: 53.5 cm

Weight : 1150 grams

Remark : Ivory slightly chipped

Price : US$35,900

Balinese Royal Kris

This extraordinary sumptuous gold handle depicts Bhima, the most powerful of the 5 Pandawa brothers, the heroes of the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata. The muscular Bhima is shown seated on an undulating hillock with one foot tucked behind and one planted firmly on the ground. Both arms bent at the elbows are tucked tightly against his mighty chest. In his right hand he holds a truncheon, his weapon of choice. His round full face features bulging eyes and somewhat menacing grin, usually characteristics of raksasa demons, belies his hot temper and penchant for action. Bhima wears an arching crown, elaborate sarong and princely jewelry including necklace, belt, arm and legbands and earrings. The tiny sculpture is richly encrusted with rubies and sapphires.

The sheath’s wrangka is carved of a massive piece of ivory. Its deep rich color creates a pleasant contrast with the wooden bottom sheath one side of which is covered with a verneer of rare pelet wood. The blade is decorated with a stunning pamor damascene pattern and has 13 luk or curves. This complimented with an elaborate gold pattern including a magical flame in the center and undulating blossoms and tendrils. On the top side these are rendered in three dimensions.

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