Ki Empu Djeno Harumbrodjo – The Maestro of classical KERIS making in Java

Indonesian Jogyakarta Keris Maker Empu Djeno Harumbrodjo, a master keris/kris maker from Gratak village, located 15 km west of Yogyakarta, on the Island of Java in Indonesia. He can make only 2 pieces of classical Keris in a year. His works of arts are really masterpiece, physically and spiritually.

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He is the 15th descendant of Empu Supa, the famous Keris maker of Majapahit Empire of the 13th century. In fact in Java, there are other Keris makers, their works are also of good quality, but they say that compared with Empu Djeno Harumbrodjo, they are merely craftsmen.

When, be was young, the youngest fifth child of Empu Supowinangun, was not very interested in Keris making. Until one night, his late father come in his dream asking him to help his father to forge iron to make Keris. 3 months later the same dream came again and again 3 months later for the third times he dreamed the exactly same thing. He was convinced that he had to continue the family hereditary job – to be Empu of Keris.

At first, it was not easy for Pak Djeno, to set up his own workshop. He had to approach some local high ranking officials for help, but the replies were discouraging, simply they said ……. be patient. As a devout Javanese who believes that everything could happened with God’s willing, he prayed a lot until his way to become Empu Keris was widely opened.

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How to make a classical – Masterpiece Keris

As stated in the article Keris, it is believed that Keris has magical power. The original magical power of A Keris is determined by the wish of the Empu and the customer. In making a Keris, Empu Djeno needs the personal data of every customer as date and day of birth, occupation etc, the best if he can meet the customer in person, from the meeting, Empu Djeno, should have the ability to understand better his customer’s personality. The Empu shall make a Keris with the spiritual power (YONI) suitable with the customer’s personality. He has to prepare two steps simultantly i.e physical and spiritual.

Making a classical kris took a long time and high concentration while ‘nglakoni’ (doing) mutih and fasting.  First step to make kris ; kris must be heated, forged, folded up to hundreds time. This process took 50 bags ofcharcoal from teak wood, 12 kg metal, 0,5 kg steel and pamor 100 gram. But the weight of kris as a product only 1 kg. Spiritually by fasting, meditating, not sleeping for several days and other spiritual deeds. The customer is also requested to do self denial and spiritual deeds, so that he shall receive a good Keris suitable for him.

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The suitable Keris

According to Empu Djeno, there are about 300 kinds of Pamor (surface design of a Keris blade). The pamor reflects the purpose of the Keris. The drawing design should say its meaning. For a farmer, according to Pak Djeno, a straight Keris (LURUS) with Pamor Wos Wutah (spilled rice) is good. It is symbolizing a good life materially and peaceful life for the owner.

In fact Pamor Wos Wutah is the mother of all kind of Pamor. There are some types of Keris, which are only fit for Kings such as Sengkelat. Pasopati, Kaladete, Pulanggeni etc. Sometimes, an ordinary people wishes to make a Keris of the above type, in that case Pak Djeno shall advise him to make a suitable Keris or he shall reject to make it. Usually customer follows his advice. 

Dozens of magical krises has created by empu Djeno Harumbrodjo. His masterpiece spreads in the world. It’s not surprised, tourist adored his work. A keris could be valued about ten millions or $ 1,000. But there are some certain conditions to possess a kris. There is keris for farmer, for young man, for king relative, and a king. According to empu Djeno Harumbrodjo, a king could possess all krises.

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Besides classical Keris. There are Keris of souvenir class. It can be made for a much shorter period. Physically it might be OK, but without a spiritual power.

Empu Djeno passed away in May, 2006. The skills he acquired from him forefathers was fortunately passed on to his son Empu Sungkowo Harumbrodjo. Ki Empu Djeno Harumbrojo wishes the art of Keris making to be always preserved in this country, as it is a reflection of Indonesia’s identity. 
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