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Old 22nd January 2009, 03:08 PM   #1
Pusaka
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Default Thai equivalent to the keris

I recently came back from a trip to Thailand. Whilst there I went to a few antique shops looking for keris. I found a few, the owner had no idea of what they were, all she knew was that she wanted a lot of money for them. I had no intention paying the asking price.

Whilst looking through the shop I seen a knife perhaps 7 long and with a 5 luk wavy blade. It had characters carved into the blade, I have no idea of their meaning. The handle was ivory and carved in the form of a human. It had no scabbard and looked to be fairly old.

I asked the shop owner what the item was and she said the knife is used to protect the owner from evil spirits. It has the same purpose as the keris according to many traditions.

The owner also wanted a very high price for the item so I never bought it. She said the economic situation means she has to rip people off more, not literally but that's what she was getting at

The item is called a mead/meed-morh/mor, I have seen a few recently but the trend is usually that they are much shorter and with a straight blade.

This got me thinking about what other cultures may use knifes to protect the owner in a spiritual way, a spiritual guard dog if you like.
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Old 22nd January 2009, 04:29 PM   #2
David
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Hi Pusaka, welcome back.
Well this is why every good ethno-tourist needs to travel with a decent camera in hand. It would be great to see photos.
This is a very good question. That being said i believe that this discussion would be much better served in the main forum, since what you are asking, if i am not mistaken, is about other cultural blades that serve a similar purpose, not keris themselves. Since we really want to keep the focus specifically on keris here i am going to transfer this thread. You are likely to get better feedback in the main forum anyway, since there is a more diverse collecting background to draw from there.
The only Thai mead morh that i have seen have been on eBay, mostly newly made blades aged to look antique.
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Old 23rd January 2009, 01:24 AM   #3
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What you describe is also known as a "Priests Knife" and is usually sold on Ebay and in markets as a Buddhist Amulet to ward off bad spirits. I understand that Buddhist Monks/Priests also carry them for literal protection also.
They come in all sorts of sizes up to about 10",and it is most likely that most are of relatively modern manufacture. Pic attaced of a very small one that I have.
I am interested in your comments re prices of knives etc in Thailand at the moment as I will be there next week for a 3 week holiday. Will let you all know how I get on when I return.
Regards Stuart
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Old 23rd January 2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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You will find true keris in S. Thailand .
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=thailand+keris
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Old 23rd January 2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
You will find true keris in S. Thailand .
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=thailand+keris

Thanks very much for that Rick! I will certainly now be keeping a watch for these! I had seen many Keris in Malaysia but have not thought of them as a Thai weapon.
Regards Stuart
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Old 23rd January 2009, 02:29 PM   #6
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Hi Stuart,

The keris I seen in Thailand were not native, they were from Indonesia.
The Thai also import lots of goods from Cambodia so you will see many Cambodian items, also many items from Tibet.
As you would expect many fake items made last week being sold today as antiques.
I found that as a tourist you will have to get used to being overcharged for everything
It would be better if you know some stores that you are interested in going to.
If you just ask the cab driver he will probably take you to a shop which has no relevance at all to what your interested in. The reason for this is that they get five litres of free gas if they take you to particular shops and keep you in there for 10 mins or longer ie they are given a credit stamp. Some cab drivers will try and bring you to a few of these shops and get as many stamps as possible.
I seen a few mead morh like youre one, there are also old ones but much harder to find.
The keris I seen was in bad shape. The blade was a bit rusty and the sheath had woodworm, the owner wanted over 300 for it, it was so not worth it
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Old 23rd January 2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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Some pics in this thread caught my eye... Hopefully helpful.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=Bangkok+museum
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Old 23rd January 2009, 05:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusaka
Hi Stuart,

The keris I seen in Thailand were not native, they were from Indonesia.
The Thai also import lots of goods from Cambodia so you will see many Cambodian items, also many items from Tibet.
As you would expect many fake items made last week being sold today as antiques.
I found that as a tourist you will have to get used to being overcharged for everything
It would be better if you know some stores that you are interested in going to.
If you just ask the cab driver he will probably take you to a shop which has no relevance at all to what your interested in. The reason for this is that they get five litres of free gas if they take you to particular shops and keep you in there for 10 mins or longer ie they are given a credit stamp. Some cab drivers will try and bring you to a few of these shops and get as many stamps as possible.
I seen a few mead morh like youre one, there are also old ones but much harder to find.
The keris I seen was in bad shape. The blade was a bit rusty and the sheath had woodworm, the owner wanted over 300 for it, it was so not worth it

Hi Pusaka,
Thanks for the extra info on the Keris....and yes I agree with you re the Taxi (and Tuk Tuk) drivers. You need to be real firm with them, or take the bus. I have been there before so know the pitfalls! Also bargaining is a way of life in Thailand so NEVER accept the first price quoted. Most swords/knives I have found were in the many markets around the country, and I don't usually bother with the proper antique shops for the reason you mention.
Regards Stuart
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