Ornament on the Pendhok of the Surakarta Kris

  • Guntur - The Batik Department, the Faculty of Fine Art and Design, the Indonesian Institute of Arts Surakarta Jl. Ki Hadjar Dewantara 19 Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
Keywords: ornament, pendhok, lung-lungan, alas-alasan, style, mranggi, Surakarta, Java


The type of ornament found on the Javanese kris pendhok is rarely discussed from an iconographic point of view. The pendhok is the decorative protection plating found on the sheath of the kris, usually made from metals such as silver, bronze, copper, brass, and even gold. The kris is a Javanese dagger. This essay focuses on the pendok ornament of the Surakarta kris, and on its symbolism. The pendhok is a ‘patronage’ art, traditionally manufactured by palace’s mranggi-s(the sheath maker), and today by kris craftsmen. Its various motifs--vegetation, plants, animals, or other motifs--are combined with lung-lungan (curly, vegetation-looking forms) in such a way as to create symmetric-vertical ornaments. The lung-lungan and alas-alasan (the forest as cosmos) motifs are more numerous than flora, wayang puppets, and geometrical motifs. The designs emphasize  symmetry, repetition and harmony as their basic principle. The ornament style is believed to embody the ‘syncretic-mystique’ of Javanese Islam. The ornaments  embossed on the surface usually refer to pre-Islamic, Hindu-Buddha notions.Ornamen pendhok keris sebagai ikonografi Jawa jarang dibahas. Pendhok adalah lapisan dekoratif pelindung keris, yang biasanya terbuat dari berbagai logam seperti perak, perunggu, tembaga, kuningan, dan bahkan emas. Keris adalah jenis senjata tusuk Jawa. Artikel ini difokuskan pada hiasan pendhok dari keris Surakarta, dan simbolismenya dalam pencitraan Jawa. Pada awalnya, ornamen pendhok adalah seni ‘patron’, yang dibuat oleh mranggi istana (pembuat sarung), dan saat ini ‘diciptakan kembali’ oleh para pembuat keris di banyak tempat. Motif bunga, tanaman, hewan, atau figural pada pendhok, adalah komposisi dan penggabungan dengan lung-lungan (penggayaan tanaman) sebagai cara untuk membentuk irama ornamen secara simetris-vertikal, ornamen disederhanakan sebagai lung-lungan. Motif lung-lungan dan alas-alasan (kosmos hutan dalam imajinasi spiritual), mendominasi gaya ornamen dibandingkan dengan motif lain seperti tanaman/flora, wayang (boneka), dan geometri. Komposisi simetri, repetitif, dan harmoni menjadi yang paling ‘prinsip’ pada desain. Gaya ornamen diyakini melambangkan ‘sinkretis-mistik’ dari Jawa - Islam, ornamen yang ‘timbul’ pada permukaan yang berdimensi, menjadi ekspresi relief, yang sebagian besar menandakan seni yang diadopsi pra-Islam: Hindu – Buddha 


Anderson, Benedict R. O’G. (2016), Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia. First Equinox Edition.

Andono. (1995), Study of Ornament on Pendhok’s of Keris. Research report at Lembaga Penelitian Institut Seni Indonesia. Yogyakarta: Indonesian Institute of Arts.

Banerji, Sures Chandra. (1989), A Companion to Sanskrit Literature: Spanning a Period of Over Three Thousand. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ.

Brown, Rebecca M. and Hutton, Deborah S. (ed.). (2011), A companion to Asian Art and Architecture. West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. United Kingdom.

Dharsono (Sony Kartika) and Sunarmi. (2007), The Aesthetic of Archipelago’s Visual Art. Surakarta: ISI Press.

Florida, K. Nancy. (1993), Javanese Literature in Surakarta Manuscripts: Introduction and manuscripts. Vol.1, Introduction and Manuscripts of the Karaton Surakarta. SEAP, Southeast Asia Program. New York: Ithaca, Cornell University.

Geertz, Clifford. (1980), Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Centry Bali. New Jersey: Pricenton University Press.

Guntur. (2015), “Alas and Gunung: Their Representation in the Javanese Traditional Batik”. In Arts and Design Studies, www.iiste.org, ISSN 2224-6061 (Paper) ISSN, 2225-059X (Online), Vol.27.

Groneman, Isaäc. (1910), Der Kris Der Javaner. vol. 19, pp. 91-109; 123-161; 179-211 + Tafel XXV-XXXIV.

Gustami, SP. (2007), The Grains of East Aesthetic, Basic Ideas of Creation of Indonesian Craft Art. Yogyakarta: Prasistwa.

Haryono, Timbul. (1991-1992), “Gold Metal: Function and Meaning in the Ancient Javanese Society Cultural System in 8-15th Century”. Yogyakarta: A Research Report, The Faculty of Literature, Gadjah Mada University.

Harsrinuksmo, B. and Lumintu,S. (1988), Encyclopedia of National Culture: Kris and Other Traditional Weapons. Jakarta: Cipta Adi Pustaka.

Harsrinuksmo, Bambang. (2004), Kris Encyclopedia. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama Publisher.

Haryoguritno, Haryono. (2005), Javanese Kris between Mystics and Reason. Jakarta: PT. Indonesia Kebanggaanku.

Hidayat, Taufiqurrahman. (2012), The Costume of Paku Buwono XIII on Rites of Throne (Tingalan Jumenengan Dalem) 2005-2011. Undergraduate theses. The Faculty of Literary and Visual Art. Surakarta: University of Sebelas Maret.

Hooker, M.B. (1988), Islam in South-East Asia. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Headly, Stephen C. (2004), Durga’s Mosque, Cosmology, Conversion and Community in Central Javanese Islam. Singapore: ISEAS (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies).

Headly, Stephen C. (1979), “The Ritual Lancing of Durga’s Buffalo in Surakarta and the Offering of its Blood in the Krendowahono Forest”. In Francien van Anrooij, Dirk H.A. Kolff, Jan T.M. van Laanen, Gerard J. Telkamp. Between People and Statistics Essay on Modern Indonesian History. Amsterdam: Martinus Nijoff, the Hague, under the auspices of the Royal Tropical Institute.

Janowski, Monica & Kerlogue, Fiona (ed.). (2007), Kinship and Food in South East Asia. Denmark: NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies).

Kossak, Steven M. and Watts, Edith W. (2001), The Art of South and Southeast Asia, A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kuntowijoyo. (2004), Raja, Priyayi dan Kawula. Yogyakarta: Ombak.

Lieberman, Victor. (ed.). (1999), Beyond Binary Histories. Re-imagining Eurasia to C. 1830. The University of Michigan Press.

Lombard, Denys. (1990), Nusa Java: Cross Cultural. Vol I: Boundariess of Westernization. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

_____________. (2000), Nusa Java: Cross Cultural. Vol. 3: The Heritage of the Concentric Empires. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

Marleen, Heins (ed.). (2004), Surakarta Palace. Jakarta: Foundation of the Culture of the Surakarta Palace.

Margana, S. (2005), Surakarta Kingdom and Yogyakarta 1788-1880. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar.

Meyer, Schapiro. (1953), Style. In Anthropology Today, An Encyclopedic Inventory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Meyer, Frans Sales. (2007), A Handbook of Ornament. New York: The Architectural Book.

Miyazaki, Koji. (1988), The King and The People: The Conseptual Structure of A Javanese Kingdom. Proefschrift. Leiden: Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden.

Mulder, Niels. (2005), Mysticism in Java. Yogyakarta: Kanisius Publishing House.

National Geographic Indonesia. (2012), Di Balik Tradisi Memandikan Pusaka di Bulan Sura. KRT Sumowijoyo. 23 November 2012. http://nationalgeographic.co.id/berita/2012/11/di-balik-tradisi-memandikan-pusaka-di-bulan-sura (accessed 14 April 2018)

Nakamura, Mitsuo. (2012), The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree. A Study of the Muhammadiyah Movement in a Central javanese Town, c.1910-2010. Singapore: ISEAS (Instute of Southeast Asian Studies).

Panofsky, Erwin. (1955), Meaning in The Visual Arts. Doubleday Anchor Books.

_____________. (1939), Studies in Iconology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Pemberton, John. (1994), On the Subject of “Java”. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

Purwadi. (2005), Encyclopedia of Javanese Culture. Yogyakarta: Bina Media.

Prijohutomo. (1953), History of Indonesian Culture I, Hindu Nation. J.B. Wolters- Djakarta, Groningen.

Riddell, Peter G. and Street, Tony. (1997), Islam: Essays in Scripture, Thought and Society. A Festschrift in Honour of Anthony H. Johns. Leiden, New York, Koln: Brill.

Raffles, Thomas Stamford. (1817), The History of Java. Vol.1. London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street.

_____________. (2008), The History of Java. Yogyakarta: Narasi.

Read, Herbert. (1935), Art and Industry, The Principles of Industrial Design, New York. Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Ricklefs, M. C. (2008), A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1200. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Ricklefs, M. C. (2014), “Babad Giyanti: Source History and Literary Masterpieces of Java”. Jumantara, Vol 5 No. 2, October.

_____________. (2002), Yogyakarta Under Sultan Mangkubumi 1749-1792: The History of Javanese Division. Yogyakarta: Matabangsa.

_____________. (2006), Mystic synthesis in Java: a history of Islamization from the fourteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Norwalk: EastBridge.

_____________. (2013), Islamisation and Its Opponents in Java. Jakarta: PT. Serambi Ilmu Semesta.

Subroto, Ph., & Pinardi, Slamet. (1993), Industrial Sectors in the Majapahit Period in 700 Years of Majapahit: an Anthology. Surabaya: Regional Tourism Official Agency of the Province of East Java.

Sudibyoprono, Rio. R. (1991), Encyclopedia of Purwa Puppet. Jakarta: Balai Pustaka

Suryono Joko, Soelistyo. (2012), The Existence of Surakarta Kris. Papers presented in Initiating the Museum of Kris Surakarta. The Hall of Tawang Arum, Town Hall of Surakarta. 1 September 2012.

Uhlenbeck, E.M. (1964), A Critical Survey of Studies on the Languages of Java and Madura. The Netherlands Institute for International Cultural Relations. The Hague, Netherland: Martinus Nijhoff.

Vlekke, Bernard H. M. (2008), Nusantara: a History of Indonesia. Indonesian Trans.: Samsudin Berlian. Jakarta: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia).

Wahby, Ahmed E. I. (2007), The Architecture of the Early Mosques and Shrines of Java: Influences of the Arab Merchants in the 15th and 16th Centuries, Volume 1: The Text. Dissertation in der Fakultät Geistes und Kulturwissenschaften (GuK) der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Bamberg.

Wibawa, Prasida. (2008), The Enchantment of Tosan Aji. Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

Wiryomartono, A. Bagoes P. (2016), Javanese Culture and the Meanings of Locality: Studies on the Arts, Urbanism, Polity, and Society. London: Lexington Books.

Wong, Wucius. (1972), Some Principles of Designing Dwimatra. Bandung: Penerbit ITB

Yuwono, Teguh Basuki. (2012), Indonesian Kris. Jakarta: Citra Sains LPKBN.

Yunus, Toni. (2012), Kris: An Interpretation. Panji Nusantara Community.

Zoetmulder, Petrus Josephus. (1974), Kalangwan. A Survey of Old Javanese Literature. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.

How to Cite
-, G. (2018). Ornament on the Pendhok of the Surakarta Kris. Mudra Jurnal Seni Budaya, 33(3), 409-420. https://doi.org/10.31091/mudra.v33i3.545