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Ritual + Culture / A BALINESE GOLD KRIS HILT INDONESIA, LATE 19TH-EARLY 20TH CENTURY

Lot 1063
A BALINESE GOLD KRIS HILT
INDONESIA, LATE 19TH-EARLY 20TH CENTURY
3 – 11 October 2019, 10:00 HKT
Online, Hong Kong

Sold for HK$17,850 inc. premium

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A BALINESE GOLD KRIS HILT

INDONESIA, LATE 19TH-EARLY 20TH CENTURY
14.5 cm high
251 g

Footnotes

An exquisitely carved Royal Balinese gold and gem-encrusted kris hilt in the form of a deified character, depicted on a circular pedestal holding a bejewelled vessel in the right hand, his face with a large grin and crowned with an elaborate jewelled headdress. Profusely decorated with rubies and sapphires, the cast gold surface is moulded around a core material and decorated with elaborate repoussé work and incised detailing.

The character here rendered is often referred to as a depiction of the wind god Batara Bayu, the spiritual father of Hanuman and the Pandawa brother Bima from the Mahabharata epic. Bayu is the Indonesian expression of the Indian wind god Vāyu, worshipped in this context as a protective deity but also as the bringer of health and riches. Bayu is recognisable by his large moustache, characteristic broad grin and long, sharp thumbnails (panchanaka) which he uses as a weapon. He holds in his right hand a vessel containing (toya mreta) the life-giving holy water, an important element in physical and spiritual purification rituals in Bali.

Bayu, who is closely linked with Indra, the god of storms and spiritual father of Arjuna, is also known as Prabhu Guru Bayu (Bayu the Majestic Spiritual Teacher) for his cognisance of dewa ruci, a state of deep spiritual self-awareness. (LaRocca, 1996)

This example of a Balinese kris hilt is particularly noteworthy for the quality of its crisp sculptural detailing and fluid modelling of form.

References
LaRocca, D. (1996). The gods of war: Sacred Imagery and the Decoration of Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Richter, A. (2000). The jewelry of Southeast Asia. London: Thames & Hudson, cat. 196, pp. 191.
Stark, P. and Content, D. (1992). Gold & silver auction, Taisei Gallery. Singapore: Taisei Gallery, lot 476.
Reichle, N., Brinkgreve, F. and Stuart-Fox, D. (2010). Bali: Art, ritual and performance. San Francisco: Asian Art Museum--Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, pp. 257.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York acc. no. 28.23.2a, b
Metmuseum.org. (2019). [online] Available at:
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/23017

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