THE LAND OF KRIS AND SARONG- 259
archipelago, and long displayed wonderful skill in tempering steel, in welding steel and iron together, and in giving the wavy blade fine veinings and damascenings. Those beautiful veinings, grained and knotted in wood, and other curious patternings of the blade, were obtained by soaking the blades, welded of many strips of hard and soft metal, in lime-juice and arsenic until the surface iron was eaten out. A wound from such a weapon is, of course, as deadly as if the kris were dipped in poison for that purpose solely; and from this arises the common belief that all kris-blades are soaked in toxic preparations. With the more general use of firearms, and the arming of the troops with European rifles, the kris remains chiefly a personal adornment, an article of luxury, and a badge of rank.
Solo has always been considered a later Toledo for its blades, and in the search for a really good, typical Solo kris I certainly looked over enough weapons to arm the sultana s guard. The most of them were disappointingly plain as to sheath and hilt, the boatshaped wooden hilts having only enough carving on the under part to give the hand a firm grasp. We could not find a single Madura kris, with the curious totemic carvings on the handle; and all the finely ornamental krises, with gold, silver, or ivory handles inlaid with jewels, have long since gone to museums and private collections. One may now and then chance upon finely veined blades with mangosteen handles in plain, unpromising wood, and brass Sundanese sheaths; but after seeing the treasures of krises in the Batavia museum, one is little satisfied with such utilities, mere every-day serviceable weapons. Increasing tourist