Between Worlds

We were amongst the first to arrive at the temple - a short walk from Sumandhi's house - probably because Komang had to supervise the unpacking of the masks.

Here are the three masks being unwrapped. From left to right - Rangda, the Barong, and Durga. While in storage they are covered with white cloths inscribed with mystical figures.

As the masks were being unwrapped, a constant stream of women were arriving at the temple carrying offerings on their heads. They set the offerings down on a table before the masks. Fruit, flowers, and lots of incense.

Rangda looks like she just got back from the hairdresser's salon, with her immaculate do of white frizzy hair. She still gives me the creeps. The white cloth on the heads of each of the masks amplifies their powers. The meru tower behind them is inscribed with the mystical Hindu-Buddhist swastika symbol.

The Barong figure is the traditional Barong Ket - the lion Barong, with its cat-like face. His shaggy coat is horse-hair, and his "saddle" and tail are decorated with mirrors, red tassles, and gold leatherwork. He wears the sacred colors of white and yellow, as well as the black and white checkered cloth.

We sat on the grass of the temple, with our cameras and video recorders arrayed out in front of us, our modern world tools for peering into the world of the Balinese. From the other side, Rangda, the Barong, and Durga peered back.

The priest's chanting droned from the loudspeakers, and we felt we had entered yet another level of our Bali experience. We were the only Westerners there, and we had been invited by a local family. We were far off the tourist track.

Look at the Barong checking out the offerings!

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Photos: Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall
All content copyright (c) 2002, Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall