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Keris Jalak Nguwoh Polu Tirto 17th century Mataram Sultan Agung with Yogyakarta trembalo wood scabbard


This particular keris's blade appears to be a beautiful sample of the style of the Mataram kingdom (1582-1749) and this blade is likely to have come from the early 17th century. The end of the buntut cecak of the ganja curls up in the kanyut style which was the fashion of the Sultan Agung era (1591-1645). We believe that this is a fine sample of high quality keris making and it was probably made in the besalen workshops of Mpu Ki Nom during the preparations of the siege of Batavia.

By this time in history the Java keris did not only use African and Asian or Sulawesi iron but also began to use European iron especially from ship parts while the material for the pamor was still mainly obtained from meteorite which was a prized commodity in Java ports and marketplaces. Sultan Agung mounted a failed attack on the Dutch garrisons of Batavia and thousands of keris were made during his reign including some innovations in style and fashion.


The over all shape of this handsome keris or its dapur is straight, with a deep pijetan and tikel alis , a simple worn down ri pandan , a sraweyan and a strong ada-ada down the middle to the tip. The combination of these details gives the blade's dapur as Jalak Nguwoh (or the Jalak bird eating fruit). The sight of the Jalak bird eating a fruit is the feeling of happiness and thanksgiving this keris is hoped and expected to bring.

The pamor is beaten in to the steel blade in the mlumah technique, and the motive of islands of water is called Pulo Tirto and is considered to be a gift of God or pamor tiban. This pamor is believed to bring prosperity and calm and is suitable to be owned by anyone.


The scabbard of this keris was not originally made for this blade. It is of the prised and rare trembalo wood and it has been polished with remplas leaves. The brass pendok is in the blewah style to show off the whole piece of trembolo wood scabbard. This kind of scabbard is called gandar iras. The wood can be buffed until it shines like a looking glass.

Compared to the blade this scabbard is relatively new, and was probably made in the 19th century, after the Java War which ended in 1830. It is in the gayaman style, used when the owner is on royal duty or is at war, as opposed to the more flamboyant ladrang style used for when the owner is attending ceremonies as a guest.


We know that this keris was a genuine pusaka that had been handed down through generations. Thierry Durieux collected it from an old professional keris cleaner in Yogyakarta in the 1980's. It was a long uncollected item, probably forgotten by the family that owned it as it had been in the possession of the keris cleaner for over a decade. Indostan would accept a dowry of 1.200 for this superior keris.

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DISCLAIMER: The materials and the make dates of Asian antiques are rarely explicit on the piece. All our descriptions of use, materials, and the dates of our antiques are approximates based on our experience and knowledge. Please contact us if you have other suggestions concerning the nature and the dates of the antiques we sell. Any unsatisfactory item, if returned within 30 days, will be fully refunded excluding shipping costs.