The Kris collection of collector Emile van Veenendaal

Collector Emile van Veenendaal (1934-2017) received his first kris from his father after returning from a trip to New Zealand. This kris, from Malaysia, sparked a love for the ceremonial Indonesian dagger.
In the early years of collecting, Van Veenendaal mainly roamed Dutch art, antiques and flea markets, but he soon decided to move his search to South East Asia, to the countries of origin. After early retirement, he and his Indonesian wife traveled annually to Asia and mainly to the islands of Java, Bali and Lombok.
In his early years, Van Veenendaal studied as a technical engineer. His insight and knowledge in material science resulted in a great appreciation of the kris with Pamor motif. Pamor is a form of decoration on the wilah, the blade of the dagger. This is formed by a forging technique in which different compositions of metals are mixed with each other, resulting in colour differences. The decoration resembles the structure of wood. In the Pamor, the blacksmith, the Empu, puts the mystical powers of the kris. These are often positive wishes for the family of the owner of the kris. This combination of high technical expertise and the myths and powers that are attributed to the kris were the basis of Van Veenendaal’s love for this Indonesian dagger.

In the Netherlands, Van Veenendaal regularly gave lectures at the Volkundig Museum in Leiden and was also the author of three books on the subject. He was recognized as a true connoisseur not in the Netherlands, but also in Indonesia. His reputation was unprecedented. For this reason he was even included in Indonesia as a member of the Kraton, the Indonesian ‘world of royalty’.

Van Veenendaal died in 2021 at the age of 87 in the country where his heart laid: Indonesia.

A number of his finest krises from his collection are now being offered for auction at Veilinggebouw de Zwaan, all of which are a feast for the eye. The craftsmanship and the richness of mystique both radiate from it. The krises can be found in the catalogue with reference to Provenance: uit de collectie van Emile van Veenendaal.