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Excalibur in Bali

Two Long-Lost Sacred Keris (Swords) Receive a Welcome Homecoming to Bali.


(5/18/2008)

Two priceless keepsakes of Bali's ancient kingdoms of Klungkung and Gelgel have made a brief and very emotional homecoming to mark the 100th anniversary of the Puputan sacrifice on April 28, 2008.

On a 100 year-long journey from Bali, Holland, Jakarta and now back to Bali - two bejeweled ceremonial swords or keris have been given a memorial tour of their "old home" in Bali. So revered are the Keris that each bears it own name – Ardawaike from the Klungkung Palace and Tombake Ki Baru Gudug from the Gelgel Palace.

The two swords are part of a highly-prized special collection of the Indonesian National Museum in Jakarta and are on loan after a long negotiation including complex guarantees issued by Bali to the Museum. Flown from Jakarta with a special escort, the two keris were an object of a massive special ritualized welcome at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport on Sunday, April 27th, followed by another religious rite at the city of Semarapura. Both ceremonies were described by NusaBali as taking place in a solemn and magical atmosphere.

The weapons, known to be hundreds of years old, were personally escorted to Bali by Gunawan and Sutikno, two senior staff from the National Museum who, among other duties, safeguarded the keris from any contact with moisture thought to be harmful to the objects.

The Keris Kenegaraan Ardawalike was once the personal weapon of the last King of Klungkung, Ida I Dewa Agung Jambe, who died with scores of other in the Puputan "battle to the death" of April 28, 1908. Both swords are made from nickel, gold and rare jewels. Keris Tombak Ki Baru Gudug, which is also known as Ki Baru Ngit,is credited with having saved Ida Dalem Bekung, a King of Gelgel, from a palace revolt.

Both swords were taken as part of the victor's spoils during the Puputan Klungkung in 1908. Some years later the keris were returned to Indonesia from Holland and have been kept ever since in the Country’s main museum.

Believed to be imbued with living presence, both keris' were welcomed back to Semarapura with ceremonies, guided tours of the various rooms of their former home and a rolling escorted tour of the city and surrounding areas.


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