Kris, an exotic form of traditional Indonesian war armor, could possibly pour water from heaven, at least according to the legend. Kris artist-maker at the time were regarded as holy and together with thousand villagers experiencing drought prayed to gods and goddesses for rain. Lo and behold, rain poured thanks to their unswerving faith.
Today it is not the case. Ministry of Public Works creates dams and reservoirs, maintains river courses, directs streams, builds bridges, etc. The myth was recreated as the Organizing Committee of the Expo Zaragoza determined the theme ‘Water for Life; Reassessment of Tradition, Art, Culture and Identity related to Water’ for interested participating pavilions. Nations and countries manifested the theme differently and are now for the public to see.
One of the many artifacts exhibited in the Indonesia Pavilion are several krises (or “keris” in the native language) from Java. For some with eyes for details, the handles are visibly made with decorative pattern. The curator of the pavilion chose some with watery decoration, waves and flows, droplets and streams. “It was not carved on the surface”, said Mr. Wagiono, the curator. “It was whacked, bent and fire-burnt wholly up to the deepest layer of the iron and ore. The result is the wavy pattern symbolizing water. Water has been and always is the symbol of life and prosperity. It is believed that whoever owns and keeps the kris will be prosperous and blessed with good life”, explained him. For him, that is the obvious interpretation of the theme determined by the Organizing Committee. And for many curators in other pavilions, traditions are being re-lived thanks to the Zaragoza water wisdom.