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Keris Glossary


Some terms needs to be understood for everyone interested in learning about keris. Without the understanding, one  can get difficulties in the process of learning of the keris. The terms of keris are mostly known in Java, such as: dapur, pamor, tangguh, tanjeg, angsar, perabot, etc.

Below are mostly short description of keris terms which are common in Java and Madura.

is the power of magic or 'force' that some people believe is in the blade of keris. This power of magic or 'force' is not visible, but can be felt by one who believe in it.
Angsar can be good or bad. 
Basically all keris has good
angsar, but sometimes a good angsar is not suitable to everybody. For example a Keris which has a good angsar for a soldier, almost always is not suitable for a businessman. Another example is a Keris that has a good angsar for a leader is not suitable for lower rank salaryman.  
To understand the
angsar of a keris, one needs the practice and knowledge of  tanjeg. To understand if someone is suitable to the angsar of a keris, the practice and knowledge of tayuh is used.   

is a term for the name of shape or type of the blade of a keris. With the mention of the
dapur of the keris, one will understand the shape of the keris mentioned. E.g. one says "The Keris has the dapur of Tilam Upih" , the listener will understand that the keris was a straight one, not a luk one. Another example is when the dapur is Sabuk Inten, then it must be an eleven luk keris.
In the Javenese culture of Keris, it is known more than 145
dapur keris. But from that number, only 120 are considered dapur keris that are 'right' or following the rule (pakem). Serat Centini,  which is considered as the guide of pakem (rule) of dapur keris, specify  the dapur of keris as follow:

Straight keris has 40 variety of dapur. Keris that has 3 luk, 11 dapur. Keris with 5 luk, 12 dapur. Keris with 7 luk, 8 dapur. Keris with 9 luk, 13 dapur. Keris with 11 luk, 10 dapur. Keris with 13 luk, 11 dapur. Keris with 15 luk, 3 dapur. Keris with 17 luk, 2 dapur. Keris with 19 luk to 29 luk each has 1 dapur.

Alternatively according the manuscript Sejarah Empu, written by Pangeran (Prince) Wijil, the number of dapur that is considered following pakem is much more than those mentioned above. The manuscript wrote that straight keris has 44 variety of dapur. Luk 3 keris has 13 dapur. Luk 11 keris has 10 dapur. Luk 13 keris has 11 dapur. Luk 15 keris has 6 dapur. Luk 17 keris has 2 dapur. Luk 19 -  29 keris has 2 dapur. Luk 35 keris has one dapur.  

The number of dapur known until last century is much more than the numbers mentioned above. 

Three different keris's dapur: Pasopati, Carita Prasaja, Cengkrong Luk

Tangguh literaly meant estimation. In the world of keris, it means the estimation of the period when the keris blade is made, the estimation of the creation place of the keris, or the creation style of the keris. Since it's only estimation, the works of tangguh cannot be precise. If the keris tangguh is Blambangan, but the really tangguh is a Majapahit, people will accept the slight error, since the shape of the two tangguh is similiar. But if a recent keris is being tangguh a Jenggala, then it's obvious the one making the estimation is not a good tangguh expert. 

Pamor in the keris world has 3 (three) meaning. The first is about the material of the keris; eg. pamor meteorit (from a meteorit stone), pamor Luwu, pamor nikel (from nickel), and pamor sanak. The second meaning is about the shape of the blade, eg. pamor Ngulit Semangka, Beras Wutah, Ri Wader, Adeg, etc. The third and last meaning is about the technic of the making of the keris, eg. pamor mlumah, pamor miring, and pamor puntiran.  

The term is used for a blade of keris which is not straight but wavy. The
luk of keris is always odd, never even. The number of luk starts from three up to thirteen. This is for a normal keris. If a keris luk is more than thirteen, it's an abnormal keris or a kalawijan or palawijan keris.

Mas Kawin
It is simply a term for payment in money or things for a term of transaction because of change of ownership of a keris, sword or a spear. The term mas kawin or dowry arise because of the believe that a keris blade must match with the owner. If it is a match, the owner will gain fortune, otherwise only misery will come. If someone want to buy a keris, it is said one propose the owner of the keris, for the keris to change hand/ownership. Should the mas kawin or dowry is agreed, than the proposal is accepted, and the keris can change hand. 

is a term for the ring of keris, which is the same term in Java, Bali and Madura. In other region, it is simply called the cincin (ring) of keris.
Mendak is mostly made of metal: gold, silver, or bronze. Many mendak is enhanced with diamonds. In the old days, some mendak is made of iron with pamor. Beside the function of accesories, mendak physically function as divider between the blade and the warangka.

Pamor has three meanings. First is the material in making them; eg. meteorite pamor, Luwu pamor, nickel pamor, and sanak pamor. Second is about the shape or style of pamor, eg. ngulit semangka pamor, wos wutah pamor, ri wader pamor, adeg pamor, etc. Third is about the technique in making them, eg. mlumah pamor, miring pamor, and puntiran pamor.

Dua macam pamor yang tergolong jenis pamor miring.

From the wish of the empu, pamor shape is divided again into two categories. If the empu made the pamor without designing or planning the shape, it is called pamor tiban. People will consider the pamor as a God's gift. But if the empu designed or planned the pamor, it called rekan pamor (rekan from the work reka = rekayasa = design). Example of tiban pamor is wos wutah, ngulit semangka, pulo tirta. Example of the rekan pamor are udan mas, ron genduru, blarak sinered, and untu walang. 

Keris dapur Sepang. Pamornya Wos Wutah yang tergolong jenis pamor mlumah.

There is also titipan pamor or ceblokan pamor, ie pamor which is added later, after the keris is 90% finished. Shape of pamor is added later in the late part of the keris making process. Example of titipan pamor are pamor kul buntet, batu lapak, etc.

Pamor Kul Buntet yang tergolong pamor titipanPamor Batu Lapak

function as shield or protection of the gandar part (part of warangka keris that is made of soft wood). But the function of protection has changed to a luxury function. A simple pendok is made of bronze, but the luxury pendok is made of silver or even gold with diamonds. 
The pendok has a few shape, ie
bunton pendok, blewehan, slorok and topengan.

Pendok keris: No 1 sampai 4 gaya Surakarta, no. 5 gaya Yogyakarta.


The accessories of keris is called perabot of keris. Accessories of keris include warangka or the sheath of keris, ukiran or the handle of keris, mendak or the ring of keris, selut or pedongkok, and pendok. 

is parts or components of a keris blade or spear. Each ricikan keris has a name. Ricikan keris is important, because of its link with dapur and tangguh of the keris. A keris with Jalak Sangu Tumpeng dapur has signs of straight keris, uses gandik polos, pejetan, sogokan rangkap, tikel alis, and tingil. Gandik polos, pejetan, sogokan rangkap, tikel alis, and tingil is keris component that is called ricikan. 

like mendak, is made of gold or silver, with diamonds etched. But the selut only functions as ornament that shows luxury. From the shape and size, selut is divided into two categories, selut njerut pecel which is small, and selut njeruk keprok which is large.
Note: in 2001,
selut njeruk keprok with diamonds etched can go for more than 20 million rupiahs or more than 20.000 US $. 
Because it shows too much of luxury, not everyone want to use keris with selut ornaments.

Selut gaya Surakarta, jenis njeruk keprok


Tangguh simply means estimation. For keris, it means estimation of  the age of the keris, or when the keris is made; where it is made; or the style of the making of the keris. Since it is only an estimation, of course it can be wrong. If a keris is said to be tangguh Blambangan, but really tangguh Majapahit (both are the old kingdoms in Java), one would forgive the error because the shape of both tangguh are similiar. But if a new keris is estimated by one as Jenggala, than clearly one is not a good tangguh expert. Even it is estimation, not everyone can estimate tangguh keris. For that one must learn from a tangguh expert, and see many thousands of keris. One must also has a strong photographic memory. 

Bentuk keris tangguh Segaluh



is an estimation of the charm or use of the keris, spear, etc. Some keris enthusiast believe that a keris has "spirit" that is called angsar. The use of keris is of many forms, eg. to increase self confidence, to make one advise heard by others, etc. To understand the use of the angsar, one need the knowledge of tanjeg

is an estimation if an angsar of a keris match with its (to be) owner. Before deciding if a keris is bought or not (to paid dowry or not), the buyer will have the keris to be tayuh, to know if the keris match with him or not. 

The word ukiran in the terms of keris, means the hilt. It differs from the standard meaning of carved or engraved in bahasa Indonesia. The hilt in Balinese keris is called danganan, in Madura it is landheyan, in Surakarta it is jejeran, in Yogyakarta it is deder. While in other areas in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, it is simply the hilt of the keris. 

Ukiran gaya Surakarta wanda Maraseba

Javakeris use the term ukiran and keris hilt considering all regions above also understand th e term ukiran. The shape of ukiran or hilt is different in every region. 

Below is some example of hilt from a few region. 


Or the sheath of keris, mostly made of wood which has good texture. In some region, the sheath of keris are also made from the ivory, buffalo horn, or even old fossil. Keris' warangka always made beautifully, and sometimes a luxury. That's why warangka also shows the social economic status of its owner.
The shape of warangka differs from one region to the other. Even in one region sometimes has different shape of
warangka. The difference made one easily identify a keris by its region, such as from Bali, Palembang, Riau, Madura, Jawa, Bugis, Bima or Malaysia. 

Some types of warangka are as follows:

Warangka Surakarta

Usually made of cendana wangi wood or cendana Sumbawa wood (sandalwood - Santalum Album L.) Other options are trembalo wood, and after that  timaha pelet wood. Warangka ladrang can be categorized into four prime wanda, ie. Ladrang Kasatriyan, Ladrang Kadipaten, Ladrang Capu and Ladrang Kacir. The last two wanda is rarely made now, and so it becomes very hard to find.

Warangka ladrang is warangka that is worn during a ceremony or festivities and the user is not on duty. 

Ladrang Kadipaten

Other than ladrang, in Surakarta there's also warangka gayaman, which is worn by one who is on duty in a ceremony or festivities. Eg. in a wedding ceremony, one who is playing gamelan or the puppet master of the wayangs. Traditional Javanese kingdom soldier on duty always wore the warangka gayaman. 

There are some types of Warangka gayaman Surakarta, such as: Gayaman Gandon, Gayaman Pelokan, Gayaman Ladrang, Gayaman Bancigan, Gayaman Wayang.

The third type of warangka is warangka Sandang Walikat. The form is simple and rather sturdy. Warangka of this type is used when one brings (not wear) a keris in a trip. 

Warangka Sandang Walikat

Warangka Yogyakarta
Warangka branggah Yogyakarta terbuat dari kayu kemuning
The shape of warangka in Yogyakarta is rather similiar than Surakarta's, the difference is in its smaller size, or slimmer. The shape that is similiar to warangka ladrang in Yogyakarta it's called branggah. The wood that made the warangka branggah in Yogyakarta is the trembalo or timaha wood. The use of warangka branggah in Yogyakarta should be the same as the warangka ladrang in Surakarta, but in recent years that norm no longer strictly practiced.

Other shape of warangka Yogyakarta is gayaman. Once, there were more than eight types of warangka gayaman, but now only two are still popular, ie. gayaman ngabehan and gayaman banaran. Warangka gayaman is used when someone is not in attendance of a ceremony.
The third shape of warangka is sandang walikat, which is pretty much the same shape with the sandang walikat style of Surakarta.

(c) M M I I,  Java

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