An eclectic blog concentrating on Bali but taking in the World

Posts tagged “barong

Kuningan in Ubud, Bali

Today is Kuningan in Ubud, Bali, which is the last day of the 10 day holiday beginning on Galungan when the gods descend and are present. Today the gods leave Bali.

Penjor

Penjor at Murni's Houses.

The roads are decorated, shrines are covered in glorious textiles and statues are dressed.

Balinese Guardian Statue dressed in Poleng textile

Balinese Guardian Statue dressed in Poleng textile.

The Balinese pray at their temples and shrines. It’s an  important and happy day.

Balinese Gate at Murni's Houses

Balinese Gate at Murni's Houses.

Murni’s Warung was closed as the Balinese staff are all too busy to work. So I left Murni’s Houses to walk into town for lunch. I looked back at the large Balinese gate and admired the penjor, the large bamboo pole, which is symbolic on many levels, and the offerings stuffed into the niches on either side of the door.

Shop on the main street of Ubud.

Shop on the main street of Ubud.

Walking down the main street I photographed a few shrines and the shop where I’ve often bought udeng, the Balinese headdress for men, from the old lady, who also sells hats. She’s always smiling. She had  a rather nice double shrine.

People going about their business, Ubud., Bali.

People going about their business, Ubud., Bali.

A little further down shop girls were chatting happily as a lady went about her business carrying a plastic container on her head.

Pig Barong,  Ubud, Bali.

Pig Barong, Ubud, Bali.

Throughout this period Barongs parade along the streets, always accompanied by umbrellas and music.

Balinese gamelan music accompanies the Barong.

Balinese gamelan music accompanies the Barong.

I mentioned in an earlier post that there are different types of Barong. This one is the pig Barong.

I decided to follow it and soon it stopped in front of a house and danced bringing good luck to the family who lived there.

Balinese photographer.

Balinese photographer.

I spotted a Balinese girl photographing me. We became friends and she invited me into her home to see her family temple and meet the family. Photography is like that.

The family temple was a beautiful one with magnificently decorated shrines.

But better than that there were several generations of welcoming people.

The Youngest One.

The Youngest One.

The youngest member was intrigued to see a large, ungainly foreigner wander in.

Sister.

Sister.

His sister was  more comfortable with the intruder and slightly bemused.

Aunt.

Aunt.

His aunt had eyes that looked right through you and melted your heart.

Mother.

Mother.

His mother was proud and smiley.

Grandmother.

Grandmother.

His grandmother had a wonderful, wise and kindly face.

Grandmother's friend.

Grandmother's friend.

Her friend was sitting beside her.

There’s more about Galungan, Kuningan and Barongs in Secrets of Bali.

There are more photographs on www.jonathaninbali.com


The Barongs of Bali

Balinese Barong

Balinese Barong

The Barong is unique to Bali and every time you see one it’s exciting. As you can see, they look life-like. They have spirit and come in various forms, the most common one being the Barong Ket. They symbolize Bali. Murni’s Warung Shop was honored to be asked to commission and oversee the making of a Barong Ket for one of the best-known museums in New York. It gave me an opportunity to take these photos.

Balinese Barong

Balinese Barong

And writing a book Secrets of Bali gave me the opportunity to research them and now to quote a few sentences from it without asking anyone’s permission except my own.

Walter Spies and Beryl de Zoete observed that Barongs are ‘…at once the most familiar and the most obscure…’ figures in Balinese tradition. Barongs come in many forms, but the most common is like a baroque Chinese lion, the Barong Ket, with big eyes and clacking jaws. It is one of the most sacred masks in Bali and probably every village has at least one.  The Barong protects the village from harmful influences. It parades the streets during every Galungan festival, dancing in front of shops and houses, warding off evil.  The Balinese wait in front of their buildings and bow in reverence when it passes.

Balinese Barong

Balinese Barong

Barongs also parade just before Nyepi, at the time of the Balinese New Year. The Barong’s origins are obscure. Two men are inside; one operates the wooden head and lower movable jaw, and the other holds up the back and arched tail… they need to be very strong as the whole costume weighs about 187 pounds (85 kilos).  The beard of human hair from a pre-menstruating girl is the most powerful part. If it is dipped in water, it creates holy water and can cure. The hairy hide, made of palm fibres or the hair of a white horse, is covered with small bells, mirrors and decorations. It takes about three months to make a good quality Barong. When a Barong Ket is old and in shreds, it is ceremonially cremated.

Balinese Barong

Balinese Barong

There are more photographs on www.jonathaninbali.com