AN EXHIBITION on the legendary Taming Sari Keris that is the Malay equivalent of King Arthur’s Excalibur, held in conjunction with the Sultan of Perak’s 83rd birthday, has drawn hundreds daily to the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery in Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar.
The keris was a prize from the Javanese of Majapahit to 14th century Malay warrior Hang Tuah after he fought and killed their supposedly invincible warrior named Taming Sari.
It was said that the keris would leap out of its sheath and fly through the air to attack the assailant whenever Hang Tuah was in danger.
The keris is unique in that it is made of 21 different types of metal - supposedly metal leftover from the forging of the bolts holding Mecca’s Holy Ka’aba.
Its handle and sheath are made of gold.
Keris Taming Sari is one of the state regalias and is the ultimate symbol of the sovereignty of the State of Perak.
It is inherited by each Sultan of Perak since Raja Mudzaffar Shah was installed as the first Sultan of Perak (1528-1549).
The glory of the Perak Sultanate was unfurled before the visitors as they spent time going through various chambers that displayed exhibits on the genealogy of the Perak Sultanate, the royal family, chronology of Sultan Azlan’s career in the legal service, as the 9th Yang DiPertuan Agong, his installation ceremony as the 34th Sultan of Perak, his schooling days and his collection of gifts, keris and automobiles.
A visitor Ahmad Daud, 50, from Ipoh said he was impressed by the gallery the moment he walked through the front gates.
“I was surprised to see the large landscaped compound. My family members immediately asked me to take photos of them in front of the fountain which has water gushing out from five sayong vases.
“For the first time, we get to see so much of Perak’s history within a day. There are so many belongings, documents, mementos, family photographs, trophies and state regalia that trace the illustrious life of the Sultan here.
“My children were surprised that the Sultan first travelled to school on a rickshaw and then on a bicycle,” he said.
Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery was built and conserved from the ancient castle called Istana Ulu or Istana Kota.
It was built in the year 1898 and was completed on 1903.
The former palace, which was first occupied by Sultan Idris I in 1903, was restored in 2003.
The building has an imposing pyramid-like roof structure.
The roof tiles were from France while wall and floor tiles were sourced from Italy.
The roof trusses and beams were made of the best cengal and meranti wood.
The gallery opens from 10am to 5pm daily. Visiting time on Fridays is 10am to 12.15pm and from 2.45pm to 5pm.
Admission fee is RM4 (adults), RM2 (elderly), RM2 for IPTA and secondary students, RM1 (primary school pupils).