Ancient kerises and other pusaka heirloom items come in various forms and sizes. However, the so-called ‘patrem’ model (dapur) is a very unique type of keris, which can be recognized by its smaller size compared to conventional pusaka weapons in Indonesia. The length of the blade of this particular keris patrem measures 20.5 cm, whereas the total length including the hilt is 32.5 cm. In spite of the small blade, the keris patrem is nonetheless considered one of the most sacred pusaka items. This is primarily because of the ritualistic purpose for which this keris is used.
Indeed, the keris patrem, first and foremost, serves as a sacred tool for ritual magic. Traditional offerings often will be blessed with this type of keris before they are offered to the gods and spirits. According to the traditional Javanese belief system, also known as Kejawen or Kebatinan, such offerings are believed to be essential in order to maintain a harmonious relationship between this world and the world of the unseen (i.e. the realm of spirits, and the heaven of celestial beings). Thus, through properly performed ritual worship one can improve the conditions of his or her life in this world, thereby creating the causes for becoming successful in life.
Hence, in line with the mystical meaning, the keris patrem is forged with the pamor Ngulit Semangka (pronounced: ngulit semongko) motif on the iron blade. Pamor Ngulit Semangka represents the characteristic pattern on the skin (Javanese: ngulit; Indonesian: kulit) of a watermelon (Javanese: semongko; Indonesian: semangka). It is classed as a tiban type of pamor, which means the motif is created spontaneously during the forging process. For the rest, pamor Ngulit Semangka also is a mlumah type of pamor, which implies that a keris with this pamor pattern is suitable for everyone because it is not restricted to a specific type of person, as is the case with pamor miring.
Due to the extremely limited availability, ancient patrem kerises are seldom seen in the contemporary keris scene. Most of these talismanic kerises are being preserved as a traditional pusaka heirloom by those who inherited them directly from their forefathers. Needless to say, the very few people who still have an authentic keris patrem in their private collection of pusaka items are reluctant to let go of such valuable heirloom. Hence, this is a very rare opportunity to obtain a genuine family heirloom keris. As can be seen from the pictures, the keris has been kept in perfect condition due to regular cleansing of the blade with proper pusaka oil. Moreover, the keris comes with the original wooden warangka sheath and hilt. The distinctive form of the hilt represents the image of a bhūta spirit with both hands held in prayer position. Again, this reflects the philosophy of ritual magic, which requires ritual offerings to the spirits, gods and angels in order to help humans keep balance and harmony on the Earth.