Dagger Handle

Historical period(s)
Date unknown
H x W x D: 7.7 x 3.7 x 2.6 cm (3 1/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 in)
Indonesia, Java
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Weapon and Armament

Dagger handle

horn, Indonesia, Java

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]


[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


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, divine figure, or geometric form, the kris handle (ukiran) can constitute an art object on its own.

The group of five kris handles was among the first Southeast Asian objects collected by Charles Lang Freer 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 closely resembles figures from the wayang kulit, Indonesia's traditional shadow puppet theater. The pronounced profile, slender form, and curved headdress suggest the figure of Arjuna, warrior-hero of the Mahabharata.

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

Copyright with museum