Join Date: Apr 2005
Thanks for the examples, Kubur!
I'm afraid that the current selection is not really convincing to me: The keris are very recent pieces (or recently modified from old blades); these are clearly not traditional and, thus, only representative of the current era approach of a limited sector of society on Java to regard keris as art for art's sake only (i.e. not restricted by any traditional constraints).
These brass "Aceh" bucklers were produced in huge numbers for the late-colonial collector's market (for colonial Dutch and other visitors); the addition of a snake and a centipede is certainly unusual and not representative of any older pieces I remember - I'm pretty sure that this piece isn't from a workshop run by Acehnese craftsmen.
There is no doubt that centipedes have been widely regarded as special (strong and dangerous) animals like elephants, crocodiles, snakes, tigers, etc. As poisonous animals, they will also have found a place in rituals as well as parlor tricks.