Damasking of the keris, part 1

” Translation of Malayan MS. on Krises and Process of
Damasking
” FASL I. ON THE PAMUR, OR DAMASKING OF KRISES
“If the damasking of a kris only reach within a
finger’s breadth of the point, and if it reach the edge,
it is inauspicious for combat. Should the damask not
be even with the point, a stab made with such a kris
would err ; but if even, then the kris will never deviate,
although its possessor lose strength to thrust ; still, by
the grace of God, it will hit the mark should he cast it
at his adversary. If it be damasked on both sides, it
is good ; but not so should the damask be separated at
intervals.
” If the damask on the point be that of Alif besar
(a damask running in the shape of the Arabian letter
Alif}, the kris is good for combat ; but it is not lucky
to wear such a weapon while trading, nor one in which
the damask runs from the pangkal (the stem which
runs into the handle), to the tali.
If it possess the Alif damask near the handle,
the middle, and point, it is very auspicious for commercial
transactions ; men cannot resist the force of the
” Translation of Malayan MS. on Krises and Process of Damasking
FASL I. ON THE PAMUR, OR DAMASKING OF KRISES

“If the damasking of a kris only reach within a finger’s breadth of the point, and if it reach the edge, it is inauspicious for combat. Should the damask not be even with the point, a stab made with such a kris would err; but if even, then the kris will never deviate, although its possessor lose strength to thrust; still, by the grace of God, it will hit the mark should he cast it at his adversary. If it be damasked on both sides, it is good ; but not so should the damask be separated at intervals.

“If the damask on the point be that of Alif besar (a damask running in the shape of the Arabian letter Alif}, the kris is good for combat; but it is not lucky to wear such a weapon while trading, nor one in which the damask runs from the pangkal (the stem which runs into the handle), to the tali.

“If it possess the Alif damask near the handle, the middle, and point, it is very auspicious for commercial transactions; men cannot resist the force of the possessor’s arguments ; should it be worn whilst planting, the crop will be fruitful. The possessor will be irresistible in fight, nor can any person thwart his wishes.

” If the kris (called Tuah) have the pamur kittilang, or the bird’s-eye damask, at its point and stem, it becomes entitled to the appellation Manikam di Ujong Gala (the ruby at the end of the pole). The possessor of such a kris is most lucky. If the damask be that of batu ampar, and reach to the ganja (the lower part of the blade immediately above the ikat tali, it ensures the safety of the wearer.

“FASL II. ON THE BLADE OF THE KRIS

If the blade of the kris be split in the direction of the tali tali (the silk and ratan appendage by which the kris is fastened in the girdle), you cannot return an adversary’s thrust with it. If the betala be cracked to the ikat tali (or bottom welt), it is not auspicious. Should the point of the kris be split, it is a sign that it requires blood; if this want be not gratified, the possessor becomes sick.

“FASL III. ON THE BADIK, OR SENDRIK

“If the blade of the badik be damasked all over to its edge, it is lucky to wear while trading or dividing property. If the back bear the damask Alif, it is also good for trading with, or for combat, by God’s assistance. If the blade have the pamur gunong, or mountain damask, it softens the hearts of men, and is good for trading and warlike excursions. If the lines of damask be of equal breadth from the pangkal to the tali, and straight, it is auspicious.
” Should the belly of the blade be veined, it is lucky to trade, and good for making a stab with, as the possessor’s antagonist will not be able to return the thrust. If the damask be that called pamur kait (or the damask like a hook), it is auspicious.

“Should the back of the blade be damasked and streaked, it is good ; and also, if it has the pamur belanga  in one or two places only, and on its back. If the damask run waving from the top to the bottom of the back, it is very auspicious.

” How to damask krises

“Place on the blade a mixture of boiled rice, sulphur, and salt beat together, first taking the precaution to cover the edges of the weapon with a thin coat of virgin wax. After this has remained on seven days, the damask will have risen to the surface; take the composition off, and immerse the blade in the water of a young cocoa-nut, or the juice of a pineapple, for seven days longer, and wash it well with the juice of a sour lemon. After the rust has been cleared away, rub it with warangan (arsenic) dissolved in lime juice; wash it well with spring water; dry, and anoint it with cocoa-nut oil.

Source: Walter William Skeat. MALAY MAGIC: An Introduction To The Folklore and Popular Religion Of The Malay Peninsular. London: MacMillan & Co. Ltd. 1900.

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