True Java specialists will classify Keris according to:

Tangguh, which is the estimated age of the Keris or the period when it was made

Sepuh, which is the age of the Keris

Wutuh, which is the condition of the Keris

Keris are therefore related to a specific period, one of the great Javanese kingdoms. There is a lot of subjectivity in identifying a Keris with a specific Tangguh and Sepuh. In fact very little historical facts are known before the Majapahit kingdom. 

SRIWIJAYA  (6th to 12th century)

Although this Buddhist kingdom was not established in Java, but in Palembang, Sumatra, it is the mother empire of the Indonesian archipelago. Its power extended up to the Northern Malay Peninsula. 

FIRST MATARAM  (7th to 10th century)

This is the golden age of Hinduism and Buddhism influences with the great temples of Borobudur and Prambanan in Central Java. Mataram was essentially an agricultural kingdom. At the same time the powerful seafaring Sriwijaya kingdom from S-E Sumatra had under control most of the Northern coasts of the Archipelago.

JANGGALA. KADIRI & SINGASARI (11th to 13th century)

During the 11th & 12th Janggala is best known for its trading role in the region, Kadiri  for its literary remains. The rise of Singasari is in 1222 until 1292. The heart of these kingdoms were located in East Java. A period with little temple construction.

PAJAJARAN (13th to 16th century)

Its heart was located in West Java, it is the old Sunda kingdom, an essentially animistic culture.

MAJAPAHIT (1292 to early 16th century)

This kingdom was situated in East Java, the heart was near today's Mojokorto, South East of Surabaya. It was the first powerful Javanese kingdom that practiced a syncretism form of Hinduism and Buddhism and also introduced Islam through its mercantile activities with Arabic traders. Its influence was over Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Maluku and some of the S-E Asia coasts. The second powerful archipelago kingdom after Sriwijaya. Majapahit is the true ancestor to modern Indonesia. 

DEMAK & JAPARA (16th century)

Strong Islam influence in Java. The center of the kingdom is in North Java, then moved to Central Java. The Majapahit Hindu culture remains only in East Java and will later be limited to Bali. 

SECOND MATARAM (17th to 18th century)

The great period of central Java influence in the archipelago. 

YOGYAKARTA & SOLO SULTANATE (18th to 19th century)

After the fall of the Mataram kingdom because of the Dutch. In 1755, the treaty of Giyanti divided the kingdom in two sultanate, which would develop their own traditions.


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Revised: 2007-05-20