Sunday, August 28, 2022

Pamor of keris

All Malay weapons if made of metal are divided into three classes, berpamor if damascened or laminated, meleda if plain steel, and besi bari if rough steel.

The term pamor is used to denote the Malay form of damascene markings. The word is Malay-originally meaning mixture or alloy. This exactly describes the manufacturing method of the keris blade: the forging together of various metals using a technique called “pattern welding”. The pattern welding work demonstrates the skills of the Empu but also characterizes the power of the blade.

Now it is often used to describe the nickelous metal in the kris-marking process and just as often used to denote the variegated patterns produced by the pamor metal.

The core of a keris is the only layer of steel. On each side of this is a layer of besi pamor made of iron bars welded together, then beaten into a sort of Greek key pattern. Welding, carving, cleaning and other processes can cause layers to be lost and the pamor is revealed.

A separate heating and hammering is needed for each wave In some keris especially those made in Patani, the waves are made by filing and grinding, but usually only in keris melela or besi bari as the beauty of the pamor is spoilt if it does not follow the waves.

Early in kris history 1600 A.D it was found that if one of the metals contained nickel, the pamor show bed sharply more contrast. Possibly at that time and certainly later nearly all nickelous iron came from the Celebes (Sulawesi) and was termed pamor luwu.

Such iron was often called ‘white iron’ because being more etch-resistant it left silvery threads on an acid-darkened blade. Probably late in the eighteenth century the first kris blades were made containing nickelous iron from the meteor that had fallen near Prambanan in 1749.

It was reported that the nickel content of pamor luwu as 0.4 per cent and pamor Prambanan as being 4.7 per cent. However, present day samples of the latter iron each essay a 9.4 percentage of nickel.

Pamor can be classified according to the forging technique:
*Pamor mlumah, for luck and tranquility, the lamination is parallel to the flat surface of the blade, it is the most common type
*Pamor miring, for glory, the lamination is aligned to an angle to the flat surface of the blade, this type is much more elaborate
Pamor of keris

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