Dagger Handle

Historical period(s)
Date unknown
Medium
Bone
Dimensions
H x W x D: 7.9 x 3.7 x 2.8 cm (3 1/8 x 1 7/16 x 1 1/8 in)
Geography
Indonesia, Java
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1906.294
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Weapon and Armament
Type

Dagger handle

Keywords
bone, Indonesia, Java
Provenance

To 1906
Unidentified owner, Java, to 1906 [1]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased in Java from an unidentified owner in 1906 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Reserved Wood List, R. 5363, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. According to Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record, this object was purchased in Java as a lot of five [F1906.291-.295].

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

A kris is a ceremonial dagger with great spiritual and artistic significance in Indonesian courtly culture. In short, it is an emblem of power. Shaped like an animal, a deity, or a geometric form, the kris handle (ukiran) can constitute an artwork on its own.

Five kris handles were among the first Southeast Asian objects that Charles Lang Freer collected during his travels in Java. He may have been attracted to their unique forms and evocative shapes, in addition to their cultural importance.

This handle bears the face of a demon, who protects the user from harm.

Collection Area(s)
Southeast Asian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
F|S Southeast Asia
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