As an art object, the keris is loaded with symbolic meanings and expressions. These symbols can be seen in not just only the type of dapur, but also in the pamor motif. The straight-bladed keris (‘keris lurus‘), also called ‘keris leres‘ by the Javanese, represents stability and constancy, yet it is also a symbol of unity. Sometimes the keris lurus is also called ‘keris luk satu‘ (‘single wave-bladed keris’). To name just a few examples of kerises with a dapur lurus, we can mention ‘Tilam Upih‘, ‘Brojol‘, ‘Mahesa Lajer‘, ‘Sinom‘ and ‘Kalamisani‘ among many others.
The keris luk, on the other hand, represents ambition and effort. For instance, a keris with three luks represents the wish to accomplish one’s personal goals. These can be worldly goals, but may also be spiritual. According the Javanese, this type of keris is most suitable for people who pursuit honorable goals (Javanese: ‘gegayuhan‘) indeed.
A keris with five luks, for example, symbolizes the hope of the owner to become a skilled speaker, someone whose words are believed by many, and can effect the other person’s speech.
Next, a keris with seven luks, is a representation of the empu‘s wish for the owner to become a leading figure, a person with authority. The owner of such a keris is believed to be capable of giving others orders and instructions by the power of his speech alone. Furthermore, he will be able to effect other peoples’ opinion in a debate or discussion whilst he himself remains very calm and seems unmoved by what others may have to say to him.
Then there is the keris with nine luks, which is a symbol of hope for great authority and increase in personal charisma. The owner of a keris with nine luks will ideally be someone with a wise character and has a mind of a just leader.
The keris with eleven luks represents the aims of a person who has huge ambitions. This kind of person strives to attain a higher social status. This explains the fact that the ones who own a keris like this are mostly people who already have a job and/or a family.
And lastly, there is the keris with thirteen luks. This type of keris symbolizes the aim of the person who desires to guard and maintain the stability in his life. He is the kind of person who has been through a lot and withstood the difficulties he met throughout the course of his life. That is also the reason why a keris with thirteen luks is most suitable for someone who already has accomplished his worldly goals and thus enjoys a certain level of stability, since his worldly position in life is already firmly established.
Reference: Majalah Pusaka Keris – Khasanah Budaya Nusantara vol. 2. Jakarta, 2007: 59.