In Javanese society, a keris (Javanese traditional dagger) or creese, has a social function as a marker of class, or at least as representative of the owner. So importantly it is the representations of identity that make it able to represent a human figure that cannot be present in certain key events. It is normal practice to bring the keris as a representative of the owner in a marriage ceremony.
According to the Trisakti University lecturer Drs. Krishna Hutama, M. Hum., Javanese political structure that is centered on the palace makes the king who rules the Javanese kingdom the main institutional holder of traditional Javanese culture of keris. Palace literature says that creese is evidence of the kingdom’s important role as a major institutional holder of creese culture. "In addition, the Javanese historical records often raise the keris culture in its story," he said at the Graduate School of UGM on Monday (6/12) during an open examination of UGM doctoral program.
In the examination, Krishna Hutama explained that generally Javanese creese can be distinguished by its straight and curved form. The difference of the two types has consequences in the designation of different parts of the composition. A straight creese has four sections of composition, i.e. pucukan as tip of the keris, awak-awakan as the body part, bangkekan as the waist part of the keris personifying human body, and the lowest part is the sor-soran.
"In the meantime, the curved dagger only has the pucukan, luk and sor-soran," says the husband of Dra. Atika Ediyati and the father of Ganendra Pradhikara.
As a cultural product, Keris is composed of ideofact, sociofact and technofact elements. The initial idea was to make a stabbing weapon in close combat. Meanwhile, in its development, keris also received an extra significance that enriched the ideas of keris-making in Javanese culture.
Keris, says Krishna, is believed to be a symbol of mystical union between two opposite natural conditions, i.e. male and female, day and night, hot and cold, up and down, well being and his Lord. "It was a tangible manifestation of the concept of lingga and yoni, which represent two different poles or rwa bhineda, a symbol of unity between Hyang Shiva and his wife, Dewi Parwati as written in the Hindu principle," the former expert staff of PT Narendra D.C from 1980 to 1990 explained.
In the dissertation entitled Traditional Javanese Keris in areas of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Continuity and Changes, Krishna further explains that the making of traditional Javanese keris is a technology that connects ideas and social dimension in Javanese culture, and the all three come together to form the keris as a complex work of art. Continuity of the keris construction techniques relies on the empu (keris maker) of the palace. In the palace of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, the construction technique of the traditional Javanese keris is done in four stage, namely preparation, basic forging, forging engineering and finishing.
Apart from being a developed cultural object, keris can also be seen from the artistic viewpoint. Its art is inseparable from the beauty that can be captured from its form. "There is a valuation concept that classical beauty is normally used as a direction in Yogyakarta keris culture as well as a basic assessment of the keris in general, including to value keris from other regions," said Krishna who passed with honors and became the 1310th doctorate from UGM.