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Kris sword, steel and iron, Philippines, ca. 1915-1925, gift of Fred Stone, 1982.11.9.1

A Kris is a common sight within many Southeastern Asian countries today. It’s distinguishing wavy curve of the double edged blade can be found on ancient ruins, modern country’s flags and political symbols, and people’s waists. The Kris is more than just a weapon. The Majapahit empire (1293-1500 CE) of now modern Indonesia, who are attributed in the first crafting and distributing this weapon, believed that the swords has mystical properties. The blades represented bravery, authority, and beauty and were believed to have a almost human relationship with their owner. There are tales of kris blades moving on their own and even stabbing the unworthy.