Abstract: The keris or the dagger is an illustrious weapon renowned for its capacity as an object of cultural heritage and priceless heirloom amongst the Malay people throughout the history of their civilization. Given that there are no documented records as to when the keris was made, reference was made to the reliefs of the keris as depicted at ancient places of worship, namely Candi Sukuh, Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan in Java, Indonesia. The keris was crafted and designed by master blacksmiths or Empu by means of several types of metal available at his disposal. There have been very few articles or research published in regards to the metallurgical aspect of the keris. Therefore, this study aspires to unearth the types of metal forged in the blade of the keris by the earlier-mentioned skilled Malay blacksmiths or Empu. In order to achieve the said objective, several laboratory tests were conducted in collaboration with SIRIM BHD (Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia). The laboratory test involve the usage of X-ray Fluorescent Innova-8000 LXZ equipment, a non-destructive technique use for determine the elemental content of the keris, Spectrotest Spark Analyzer (Mobile Edition) SN.4N0088 equipment also use to determine the elemental content of the keris but the technique is a destructive technique. The morphology analysis of the keris is studied by using the Microstructure Analysis test and Hardness test (profile) was done in order to scrutinize the solidity and resistance of the keris blade. Elemental analysis shows that the Iron (Fe) content forms >99% of the content of all the keris that have been analysed. Other elements that exist in Malay keris are silicon, nickel and copper. The evaluation of the Hardness test (profile) illustrated that the blade of the keris had different hardness value or level in the process of its forging and microstructure analysis show that pearlite structure changes and became harden due to the process of forging. It can be concluded here that the Malay keris contain >99% of Iron (Fe) and other elements that exist in the keris are silicon, copper and nickel which is very small on percentage range between 0.1-0.5%. The traditional method of keris making is testament to the Malay blacksmiths or Empus impeccable capabilities in forging the blade resulting in the different levels of Hardness Value (HV).
Khamis Mohamad, Samsiah Sulaiman, Zuliskandar Ramli, Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman and Abdul Latif Samian, 2014. The Metallurgical Aspects of the Malay Keris. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 9: 549-555.