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Iron Trisula
Java, Indonesia
circa 18th century

length: 40cm

This elegant, three-pronged ceremonial lance head, known as a trisula or  trisular, is of pamor iron, achieved by hammering and folding sheets of molten iron
until the resulting blade has a fine, watered appearance. Such
pamor designs imbue the trisula with magical powers. The pamor on this example is particularly
striking.

Such lance heads were produced by
kris-smiths (empus) - a role that combined blacksmithing with Javanese mysticism. The blades were smithed at
auspicious times and with much ritual. The lances were intended for ceremonial display and use in the palaces (
kratons) of central Java. Like most krises, the
prongs of this
trisula are also wavy (luk).

Lance heads of similar form were presented in the nineteenth century to King William III of the Royal House of Orange-Nassau. These are illustrated in
Wassing-Visser (1995, p. 166.)

The example here is in fine, stable condition.

References:
Ibbitson Jessup, H., Court Arts of Indonesia, The Asia Society Galleries/Harry N. Abrams, 1990.
Wassing-Visser, R.,
Royal Gifts from Indonesia: Historical Bonds with the House of Orange -Nassau (1600-1938), Waanders Publishers, 1995.

Provenance:  UK art market

Inventory no.: 3298

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