ORIGIN OF THE KERIS

II- CHINESE INFLUENCE

   Dong Son (c. 4th–1st centuries B.C.) civilization brought metal work knowledge to the Malay world.  This culture is known for its elaborate bronze working, especially for its drums, which were found in most S.E. Asia, including Java. 

   Although the leaf shaped blades of the Dong Son daggers have not much in common with the Keris, the human shaped hilt has some similarities with the Keris Sajen.

Dong Son dagger

Sajen Keris
Meyer Ranneft, W. Beschrijving der tentoonstelling te Magelang, Batavia, 1894 

Chinese Ge dagger
Bronze Zhou Ge dagger-axe


Bronze Shang ceremonial dagger
12-11th century bc, British Museum

   Dong Son is the name of a small village in today's Vietnam. Indochina is known to have been a link between the Chinese world and the Malay world. 

   The Chinese Shang (1766-1122 B.C.) and the Western Zhou dynasties (1122-771 B.C.) were the first to cast metal. As all bronze age cultures they used this technique to make better weapons. 

   It is interesting to note the similarities between the Keris Buda and daggers from theses dynasties. The Shang ceremonial dagger, like the Keris is a thrusting weapon and has a revolver shaped hilt representing a zoomorphic creature.

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Revised: 2009-04-18