Keris Crossing Cultures: Indonesian Daggers in Southeast Asia. A Talk by Garrett Kam



Keris, daggers with straight or wavy blades originally from Java, are important in many Southeast Asian countries. More than weapons, they represent genealogy, right to rule, power, fertility, and continuity. Keris are also used in dances and rituals.

This presentation focuses on the multiple uses of keris in Bali and Java but will also touch upon Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. It will include a performance of Javanese keris dances in the male and female styles by the presenter

This talk is in conjunction with the publication of the presenter's new book, "Balinese Keris: Metal, Masculinity, Magic".

Mr Garrett Kam is from Hawaii but has been living for over 30 years in Southeast Asia, mostly in Bali where he went on a Fulbright Grant in 1987 to study ritual. He has learned Javanese court dance since 1975 and has performed and taught all over Asia and the USA. Garrett has written extensively on Asian culture, most notably in his "Ramayana in the Arts of Asia" (2000). His latest book "Balinese Keris: Metal, Masculinity, Magic" will be launched on 14 July at SEA-Junction at BACC. He has previously presented talks at The Siam Society on Javanese court dance and Balinese cremations.

Date: Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2018-2019 Lecture Series.