The Magic Kris
Rev Martin Bieler was recently our guest for 2 weeks. Brilliant theologian from Switzerland, Martin has not only a passion for religion but also for knives from all around the world. He considers that knives are, since the dawn of time, the indispensable companion of the human being and that we can learn a lot about the culture and the people of a given country by studying their knives. The character of a people is reflected in the soul of a knife. This is definitively the case for the Balinese Kris (also called Keris) which is strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade (which has an energy like an active snake), although many have straight blades (which have an energy like a resting snake) as well. Both a weapon and a spiritual object, kris are often considered to have an essence or presence, considered to possess magical powers, with some blades possessing good luck and others possessing bad one. The kris can be divided into three parts: bilah (blade), hulu (hilt), and warangka (sheath). These parts of the kris are objects of art, often carved in meticulous detail and made from various materials: metal, precious or rare types of wood, or gold or ivory or even, and more rarely of meteorite metal. In 2005, UNESCO gave the title Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity to the kris of Indonesia. In return, UNESCO urged Indonesia to preserve their heritage. On the picture, Rev Martin showing the kris he acquired in Tabanan, thanks to our guide Nyoman on the right.
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