Model of a Balinese Festival Village
This Balinese wood sculpture depicting a procession on the occasion
of Melasti was likely carved by artisans in the village of Mas,
or Peliatan, in the 1940s or 1950s. The upright figures are carved from
red ebony (kayu ebon) found in Sulawesi; the pale wood is a Balinese
soft wood called waru. Melasti usually entails a procession
in which the gods from a particular temple are invited to enter into pratima
(small statues usually in human form carried in ornate palanquins). The
pratima are carried to the sea, or the closest source of sacred
water, and ceremonially bathed in order to purify the village and its
deities. Here a barong (a mythical, supernatural creature) is leading
the palanquin as it leaves the split gates of a temple, set off by kulkul
towers (slit drums made from hollow logs which are used as a summons to
temple or village activities). This suggests that the procession, accompanied
by male musicians and women in the lead carrying offerings, may in fact
be for this barong. In such a ceremonya matangithe
sacred barong of a temple is literally "awakened" and then goes on a series
of processions to neighboring villages, sometimes to meet with the "awakened"
barong of other temples. These processions are always very colorfulumbrellas
are carried to shade the gods from the noon-day heat; banners and flags
wave in the wind, and the gong provides marching music, while all
the villagers dress in their best ritual attire, and follow the procession
to its destination.
Gift of Nancy Echols Biggerstaff.
to project credits
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript
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