Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Traditional Malay Weapons

Traditional Malay Weapons

Date of Issue: 1984-05-30
Denominations: 40 cents
Stamp Size: 39.19 mm x 24.13 mm
Paper: Unwatermarked
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Harrisons & Sons (High Wycombe) Ltd., England
Sheet Composition: 100 stamps
Designer: Peter Khang Howe Ket

Stamps in the Series:

First Day Cover:

Traditional Malay weapons can be classified into swords, daggers, spears and also the cannon. The most well-known of these weapons is the dagger, that is the keris, badik, tumbuk lada, pedang, golok, beladau, lawi ayam, tombak, meriam and the ekor lutong. The keris has been the national weapon of the Malay people for over five hundred years. However, today the keris and other traditional weapons are being made more for decorative and ceremonial purposes.

A keris is primarily a weapon for thrusting. Basically there are five types of keris namely the keris from the Northern States of Peninsular Malaysia and Patani, from Rembau, the Javanese Keris, the Bugis Keris and the Sumatran Keris. The keris can be further classified according to the parnor, the iron used, the shape of its blade and the hilt. A keris must be made of at least two kinds of metal. Some keris have been known to contain even up to seven or more kinds of metal.

The blade of a keris is double-edged and it tapers to a point. It can be between twenty and forty cm in length and is either straight or sinuous, depending on the type of keris. Normally, there are three, five or seven waves but some keris even have nineteen waves. The sheath of a keris is normally made of ornamental wood and can be plain or intricately carved.

The most beautiful part of a keris is the hilt which is carved from hard wood, horn, bone or ivory depicting a variety of decorations such as the hulu pekakak (Kingfisher's Head) and the hulu burung (Bird's Head). A keris with hulu pekakak is part of the regalia of His Majesty the King.

Tumbuk Lada

The tumbuk lada has a straight blade and usually does not exceed twenty cm in length with only one cutting edge. Its hilt is normally tubular and is carved so that the top resembles a pepper crusher hence its name, tumbuk lada. The sheath of the tumbuk lada is normally carved.

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