KERIS SAJEN

Keris Sajen are often referred to as Keris Majapahit. Although some examples might date back to the mighty  kingdom, most of them are of more recent fabrication. Rather than a weapon, the Keris Sajen is an amulet, like the Kudi. Sajen means an offering ceremony. Keris Sajen were used for the traditional bersih desa (countryside cleaning) ceremony, to protect the village and ensure a good harvest. After the ceremony, the Keris Sajen was buried, thus many have been found rusted in ruins or in fields. It is said that a Keris Sajen has been excavated from Borobudur's top Great Stupa. Some were kept and venerated as Pusaka (family heirloom). The Majapahit name is related to the power attached to this kingdom and Javanese custom is to call Majapahit all ancient looking objects.

The Keris Sajen primitive design is more related to its magical power than to its age, since metal work as early as the 9th/10th centuries was of excellent quality  (the Wonoboyo treasure is an illustration of the quality of the metal work).

Keris Sajen are primitive looking keris, made of roughly forged welded iron, the hilt is one piece with the blade, therefore there is no separate ganja. Usually the blade is straight, but in some instances it is wavy. The shape of the hilt represents a squatting or a standing human figure with arms on the knees and wearing a headdress. The figure normally faces the blade, but on some smaller examples, it is perpendicular to the blade. Pamor is typically Adeg or Sanak on older blades.

Keris Sajen can be divided in four types:

Type 1: the smaller 10-16 cm, very rough design, probably the oldest one.

Type 2: the medium 20-30 cm, more refined with a distinct pamor adeg and batu lapak is often found.

Type 3: the longer 30-50 cm, with a larger variety of dapur, pamor and  with a detailed hilt figure.

Type 4: has the same size as type 2, but the hilt is perpendicular to the flat of the blade and it has a dapur cundrik. This type has more commonality with the Sumatra Rencong or Tumbuk Lada, then with a Keris.

 

See collection

Pictures type 1,2 & 3  are from "The Kris, an earthly approach to a cosmic symbol"
Picture type 4 is from Charles Buttin collection n850

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OLD BLADES - Malay World Edged Weapons.  Copyright 2000 - 2007
Revised: 2007-09-09