258 JAVA: THE GARDEN OF THE EAST
and that of Solo from that used in West or Sunda-nese Java. These differences imply many curiously fine distinctions of long-standing importance in etiquette and tradition; yet the kris is a comparatively modern weapona modern as such things go in Asia. No kris is carved on Boro Boedor or Brambanam walls, and its use cannot be traced further back than the thirteenth century, despite the legends of mythical Panji, who, it is claimed, devised the deadly crooked blade and brought it with him from India. When it was introduced from the peninsula it was instantly adopted, and all people wearing the kris were counted by that badge as subjects of Java. The kris is worn by all Javanese above the peasant class and over fourteen years of age, and is a badge of rank and station which the wearer never puts aside in his waking hours. Great princes wear two and even four krises at a time, and women of rank are allowed to display it as a badge. It is always thrust through the back of the girdle or belt, a little to the left, and at an angle, that the right hand inay easily grasp the hilt; and its presence there, ready for instant use, has proved a great restraint to the manners of a spirited, hot-blooded people, and lent their intercourse that same exaggerated formality, mutual deference, and high decorum that equally distinguished the old two-sworded men of Japan. The kris is the warriora s last refuge, as the Javanese will run amuck, like other Malays, when anger, shame, or grief has carried him past all bounds, and, stabbing at every one in the way, friend or enemy alike, is ready then to take his own life.
The Javanese are still the best metal-workers in the