Keris Taming Sari the Legendary Weapon of Hang Tuah

Keris Taming Sari was a prize from the Javanese kingdom of Majapahit to Hang Tuah after he fought and killed their supposedly invincible warrior named Taming Sari from Majapahit. The keris derives its name from the original owner. It is classified as a keris gabus or keris terapang which posses magical powers. Legend has it that Taming Sari could do Hang Tuah's fighting for him - if Hang Tuah was menaced or in any danger, the keris would leap out of its sheath, fly through the air and attack the assailant. The whole of the sampir and batang are covered in gold leaf and the sculptures of keris dating back more than 400 years, where its known as Kujang, can be found in Central Java’s Borobudur Temple. It is told that that it is made of twenty-one different types of metal- supposedly metal leftover from the forging of the bolts of the holy Ka'aba.

The legend of Keris Taming Sari cannot be separated from the story of Hang Tuah. Hang Tuah is a legendary Malay warrior and the father of Malay silat. He symbolizes the prominence of Malacca and projects the bravery of the Malays. Hang Tuah was a humble man and a great warrior. His diplomatic, linguistic, and fighting skills earned him the highest position in the Sultan’s palace. Legend has it that one day during the marriage ceremony of Sultan Mansur Shah of the Malacca Empire and the daughter of the Majapahit Emperor, Hang Tuah was insulted. A warrior from the Majapahit named Taming Sari, saw that Hang Tuah could dance but that he could not defend himself. With permission from the Sultan, they engaged in a battle. During the fight, Hang Tuah was able to snatch his opponent’s weapon, the legendary Keris Taming Sari. Ultimately Hang Tuah overpowered his challenger and killed him. After the duel, Sultan gave the keris to Hang Tuah as a prize. Keris Taming Sari was believed to have magical powers, any person in possession of this weapon became impenetrable and able to impose lethal wounds upon enemies.

A bronze mural of Hang Tuah exhibited at the National History Museum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hang Tuah later appointed as laksamana (admiral) and defended effectively countless attack against Malacca sovereignity from Siamese and Acehnese fleets. His outstanding performance as a military officer made him a legend that has refined the history of Malacca. However, many highly ambitious officials of the palace wanted to see him exiled. Hang Tuah was slandered by his enemies, who accused him of having an affair with the favorite concubine of the Sultan. The Sultan ordered him to be put to death. His closest friend, Hang Jebat pleaded for his life, but to no avail. He was executed. And then Keris Taming Sari was handed over to Hang Jebat as the new appointed admiral. After hearing that his dearest friend was dead, Hang Jebat became so furious and started killing the palace’s protectors. He stormed the Sultan’s palace, driving everyone into hiding including the Sultan himself. With the Taming Sari in his hand, no one could defeat him as he was strong and invincible. What Hang Jebat and the Sultan didn’t know was that the Dato Bendahara (prime minister), who believed that Hang Tuah was innocent, had secretly spared Hang Tuah’s life and hide him from the Sultan. Then the prime minister told the Sultan where he can find Hang Tuah in order to stop Hang Jebat. The Sultan was thrilled to hear the news and fully pardoned Hang Tuah and sent him to meet his friend, Hang Jebat.

Hang Jebat was distressed to learn that Hang Tuah, whose death he had avenged, had been sent to take his life. In the beginning of duel, Hang Tuah tried to snatch the Taming Sari from Hang Jebat but failed. During the battle, Hang Jebat attempted to convince Hang Tuah to disregard the past and take over the empire. Hang Tuah ignored his best friend’s idea and then effectively snatched the Taming Sari from him. At the end of the fight, Hang Tuah successfully defeat Hang Jebat and killed him. Hang Tuah was regretted about what he has done and vowed never to show himself again. Until this day no one knows where he went and the whereabout of Keris Taming Sari has never been found.

Another version of the legend has it that Hang Tuah had thrown the keris into the river, saying that he would return when the keris re-appeared. This has led some to believe that the real Taming Sari has disappeared, like the legend of the sword Excalibur.

The Malay Art of Self-Defense: Silat Seni Gayong by Sheikh Shamsuddin;;

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