VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Kris with sheath
2882
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This kris with it’s sheath is a very special piece because of it’s fancy history and it is singular. The weapon is connected with two cultures – the Javanese, in which it originated and with the Europeans in which it was revised artistically and adapted to the European taste. The sheath, once painted with plain yellow varnish, was revised by decorating with Chinese subjects on black varnish in the renowned Dresden varnish workshop of Martin Schnell (1675-1740). The simple elegance of the sheath didn't correspond with the aesthetic feeling in the magnificent baroque age. The hilt was revised as well. In 1757 the once more luxurious original hilt was dismantled and sold, later on replaced by a simple wooden replica in Yogyakarta style. Only the blade remained in original state. It is covered with floral designs and a lion motif in gold.

History of the Object
In the electoral collections in Dresden, a lot of weapons, armours, equipment for knight games and fancy dress balls, besides some curiosities from overseas were stored. Most of the Saxon Electors shared the passion for preciously decorated weapons from far away countries. By specific purchasing at the Leipzig Fair, the stock grew continuously also in this manner. Also, gifts reached the electoral collections. The names of the donors, however, can't be investigated in every case. The shown kris is first mentioned in 1718, when it was given from the armory of the castle to the Indian chamber, which 1832 merged into the “Historisches Museum”. In 1882 the kris was handed over (together with a lot of other items) to the “Königliches Ethnographisches Museum”.

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Type
Weaponry 
Materials
Iron, nickel (pamor), gold, wood, varnish 
Measurements
Length 46 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown - revised in the varnish manufacture of Martin Schnell (1675- before 1740) in Dresden 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Indonesia, Island Java, Mataram / revised in Europe, Dresden 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century; Prior to 1718 (in all probability 17th century) / revised in Dresden 18th century 
Function
Regalia. State kris, used in ceremonies, part of state robe. 
Acquisition
Collector unknown, first mentioned in 1718 when it was given from the armory of the castle to the Indian chamber, which 1832 merged into the Museum of History. In 1882 it was handed over to the collections of the “Königliches Ethnographisches Museum Dresden”. 
Copyright
Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen, Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden (Saxonian State Collections of Ethnography) 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, Saxony (Germany) 
Museum
Museum of Ethnography, Dresden 
Credit line
© Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen. Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden 

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