Keris of this form are rarely encountered, probably because they were made for Moros of high rank, and for ceremonial use. Thus, not many were made as compared to other forms of keris. For many centuries, the center of power and influence of the Moros has been (and is) on the island of Jolo, in the Sulu sea - and it is here that this keris was undoubtedly made. The blade shape and ganja closely resemble those made in Mindanao, where the Moro influence was also pervasive.

The hilt is of ivory and is undoubtedly a conventionalized representation of some mythical creature or bird. Between the silver-gilt bands surrounding the hilt, there are bands of multi-strand silver wire, twisted together and would around the hilt, forming a sculptured surface that provides a secure non-slip grip. There is evidence of an old repair of the ivory pommel. In the detail view one can see an ivory 'dowel' of small diameter that had been used to hold together the parts that had fractured.

The straight, double edged blade is composed of many layers of steel, hot forge welded to form a tough laminated composite structure. It can take and hold a very keen edge.

This piece probably dates between 1800-1850 and is in the collection of a prominent collector and antique dealer in New York.


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