The Story of ORANG KAYO HITAM and the Keris Siginjai (one version)

Keris Siginjai

The legend of the magic knife, famously known as “Keris Siginjai,” involves the founder of Jambi, and the Kingdom he ruled.

The Basic Story of the Magic Knife

The Mataram Kingdom, which was from the central part of the island of Java, demanded taxes from the Melayu Kingdom (Jambi). Orang Kayo Hitam (King of the Melayu Jambi Kingdom from 1500-1515 AD) had ascended the throne of the Melayu Kingdom, and he said that the Melayu Kingdom was not the slave of the Mataram Kingdom, and would not pay taxes to them.

The king of the Mataram Kingdom in Java was furious, and ordered a master craftsman to make a kris (knife with supernatural powers) that could overcome Orang Kayo Hitam. This special knife was needed because Orang Kayo Hitam was known for possessing extra-ordinary supernatural and divine powers, in addition to his wisdom and fairness.

When Orang Kayo Hitam heard the news that the king of the Mataram Kingdom planned the creation of this special kris (knife), Orang Kayo Hitam immediately went to the island of Java in search of the master craftsman. When he got there, he found that the kris was already made, but buy force he took the kris away from the master craftsman and killed him even though the craftsman was surrounded and protected by Mataram soldiers. Orang Kayo Hitam then relentlessly, and with no let up, began attacking the Mataram Kingdom.

The king of the Mataram Kingdom feared for his own kingdom when this event took place, and fearing Orang Kayo Hitam, he made a truce with him on the spot, and with the Melayu Kingdom.

Orang Kayo Hitam kept the kris that he took from the master craftsman and brought it back to the Melayu Jambi Kingdom. There the kris became famously known as “Kris Siginjai,” or “Keris Singinjai.” That kris became a symbol of authority and power in Jambi, and the image of it still today is used as a symbol of the Jambi Province.

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Expanded Version

Our translation of the above legend can be read by clicking this link.

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