Keris Singinjai

(Alt. Spellings: Siginjai;  Sigenjei;  Sigenjai;  Gunjai;  Gindjei;  Ginjai;  Si Ginjai;  Si Genjei;  Si Gendje; Si Ginje)

Keris Siginjai

The “Keris,” or a dual sided curved knife, is a famous artifact that is often seen in Indonesia and Malaysia museums. The keris has been used since prehistoric times, and is believed to contain magical powers.

The keris has held a very important position for people in Indonesia, both as a weapon, as well as for a sign or symbol of a particular family, or a position that one held. Today a keris is treasured and sought after by collectors.

One famous keris in Indonesia is the one with the name: “Keris Singinjai.” This keris is an ancient artifact that has been handed down through the Sultans of the Jambi Province. For a little over 400 years the Keris Singinjai was used, not only as a symbol, or crown of the Jambi sultanates, but also as unifying symbol of the Jambi people.

The last sultan that had the Keris Singinjai was Sultan Achmad Zainuddin, who was the sultan in the Jambi Province area at the beginning of the 1900s (some reports say Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin was the last who had the keris). The keris was handed over to the Dutch colonial authorities in Palembang in 1903, as a sign of submission. The Dutch placed the keris in the National Indonesian Museum, where it is still to this day.

An interesting side note is that a famous bridge in the city of Jambi (Jembatan Makalam) has the Keris Singinjai carved onto each of its pillars. An interesting question that could be asked about these carvings is: “Are those carvings merely a symbol of Jambi’s historical past, or do some people still hold to the belief that the Keris Singinjai has magical powers that can protect that bridge, and all who travel on it?

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