THE JAVANESE KERIS. A LEGENDARY WEAPON AND POWERFUL OBJECT
by Prof. EDWIN WIERINGA
Date & Time
17.06.2022, 10:00 AM (CEST)
Trainee centre 2.40, Tř. Svobody 686/26, Olomouc & ONLINE via ZOOM
https://cesnet.zoom.us/j/91612294249 (meeting ID: 916 1229 4249)
This presentation will address the Javanese keris or kris, which is a traditional dagger, best known for its distinctive wavy blade. It is both a weapon and extraordinary object, considered to have magical powers. This lecture will discuss the importance of the keris as a symbol of Javanese culture, paying special attention to ‘local knowledge’ in Javanese manuscript literature on this intriguing weapon. Such handwritten literature on crisses is categorized in catalogues as belonging to “magic, physiognomy and related subjects” to which all kinds of so-called “pre-scientific knowledge” belong: incantations, divination; physiognomy of humans, usually connected to female physiognomy and erotic lore; physiognomy of animals (horses, cocks, doves, cats), and armourers’ lore on crisses and lances. Often provided with illuminations, Javanese manuscripts on crisses and lances contain lists “divided into many groups according to their shapes, which have names” (Pigeaud 1967:278). The lore on crisses is hitherto the domain of connoisseurs and collectors, but little studied by academics. This presentation will attempt to place this very special branch of traditional knowledge within the much broader scope of traditional interests of Javanese gentlemen.
Edwin Wieringa is Professor of Indonesian Philology with special reference to Islamic Cultures at the University of Cologne. Trained in Indonesian philology at Leiden University, where he was awarded a PhD in 1994 on a corpus of traditional Javanese historiographical texts, he has published widely in the fields of traditional and modern Indonesian literatures. Among his publications are catalogues of Malay and Minangkabau manuscripts, articles on Javanese historiography and hagiography, and studies on contemporary Indonesian literature.