Although throughout South East Asia there are many forms of bladed weapons, many with their own local names and forms one weapon could be said to be common throughout the region that is the Kris (sometimes known as Keris). A unique weapon and fairly unmistakable once seen the Kris is short dagger like weapon with a hilt which is set at 90 degrees to the blade so that when gripped the blade points straight outwards. The blade which is but not always wavy gradually flares from the point to the hilt with a flat top edge. The origin of the Kris is open to debate some experts claim that it was modelled on the stingrays sting others suggest it evolved from the Ko a Chinese polearm. The blade is made up of at least two types of metal with the better blades being made up of seven metals this gives the blade a rough and grainy texture. The forging process is long and laborious with the pattern being enhanced by soaking the blade in a bath of boiling water containing sulphur, salt and rice and the blade finally being rubbed over with the juice of limes to give the rough grey appearance. Really old Kris are treated with reverence and raised to the forehead as a mark of respect, and thought to contain magical force. In Malaya several weapons may be carried into combat with a personal weapon kept on the left side for instant use.It was not unheard of for two Kris to be used in combat one in each hand.
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (13 February 2001), Kris, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kris.html