Thread: A Very Old Kris
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Old 15th August 2012, 04:44 PM   #24
migueldiaz's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manila, Phils.
Posts: 1,042

Originally Posted by David
In Javanese terms the "gandik" is not the "elephant trunk". That would be the "kembang kacang" in the diagrams you posted above. While this feature seems to be present in all Moro kris it is not a necessary feature on the Indonesian keris, but the gandik is.
As for this so-called "elephant trunk" feature on Moro kris, my feeling about it's intention is that sometimes it is supposed to be an elephant, sometimes a bird and sometimes even a naga. I have examples that clearly show all three of these forms. Just as it's Indonesian cousin comes in a variety of animal motifs (elephant, naga, singo, etc.) in the kembang kacang, so i believe does the Moro kris.
David, thanks for the comments. As for Moro swords, I agree that the 'elephant trunk' can represent both naga and bird. I'm not too sure though that in the Moro context, it can also mean an elephant. And it's because historically, there were no elephants in the our islands.

We used to have stegodons in the distant past (based on fossils found). But no elephants then, and now. Well, actually there used to a few (imported) elephants in Sulu, after the ruler of Java in 1395 gifted the Sultan of Sulu with Javanese elephants. This is according to Saleeby (1908), based on written accounts of the Moros (the tarsilah). More on this story can be found here.

On a related matter, Alcina in his 1668 epic work on the history of the Visayas included the elephant as part of the region's fauna. So maybe they also came from Sulu.

So on second thoughts, perhaps the elephant is after all a possible interpretation also of the 'elephant trunk'.

But I think the more important thing we can glean from the above story is that Java and Sulu, and Java and Manila (900 AD, per the LCI), have been corresponding with each other for the longest time.

And for Java to gift Sulu something means that Sulu must have enjoyed some prominence even in those earlier times.

So I think I'll just end this rambling by saying that presumably, the sword designs of each region (Java, Brunei, Sulu, Manila, Cebu, etc.) must have somehow influenced each other, given the close ties among them.
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