Ceremonial Keris Sajen Knife with Spirit Figurine Hilt and Pamor Wos Wutah Motif – Tangguh Majapahit Era (13th-15th Century CE)


The period from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century during the reign of the Javanese Hindu empire of Majapahit (1293–1500 CE) is considered the golden age of Indonesian art and culture. Royal artisans from the Majapahit Kingdom produced many masterpieces of art, including various exclusive kerises and other pusaka (heirloom) treasures. However, from the many kerises made during this time, there was one dapur (keris model) in particular that sparked the interest of the people. This, of course, is the keris we now know as ‘keris Sajen’. The Sajen also became immensely popular among Westerners, who erroneously called it ‘keris Majapahit’ (or ‘Mojopahit’), referring to the historical time period in which it was made.

Keris Sajen with Pamor Wos Wutah

As the name already suggests, Sajen (meaning ‘offerings’ in Javanese) kerises are used in ceremonial magic. Traditionally, ritual magic involving sajen was performed only by ordained priests at the royal court (Javanese: kraton). However, this ancient ritual practice was later also adopted by the laity, which allowed commoners to use the sacred dagger as a requisite to perform ritual worship with in their own home. Thus, the keris Sajen fulfilled the need of the people to be able to commence various occult rites for personal benefit. Indeed, this particular keris has a very practical design due to its relatively short blade and iron hilt, which therefore turns it into a potential ritual instrument; i.e. a ceremonial knife.

Keris Sajen Hilt with Spirit Figurine

The antique pusaka features a pristine pamor that represents sprinkled rice (Javanese: wos wutah; Indonesian: beras wutah). The sprinkled rice pamor pattern is a traditional symbol which indicates that there is always something left to eat. In other words, the keris owner’s household will never run out of food. Since food denotes sustenance, both the owner and his or her family will prosper as a result of the magical power of the pamor Wos Wutah. Also, there is a mystic spirit figurine carved into the hilt of the keris. This spiritual entity serves to repel evil, thereby protecting the owner from black magic and misfortune.

Keris Sajen from the Tangguh Majapahit Era

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