|Artist / Origin||
Balinese artist, Indonesia
Early to mid-20th century
Period: 1900 CE - 2010 CE
Wood, leather, twine, wire, hair, mirrors, pigment
|Dimensions||H: 12 ¼ in. (31 cm.), W: 18 1/8 in. (46 cm.), D: 10 ¼ in. (26 cm.)|
|Location||Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA|
|Credit||Courtesy of the Fowler Museum at UCLA|
|Roy W. HamiltonCurator for Asian and Pacific Collections, Fowler Museum at UCLA|
The Barong is a spirit guardian of a Balinese village. It takes the form of a mask that’s danced by two people. If you were watching such a performance, it might just look like a dance performance to you, but it’s actually very serious religious ritual. And the community gathers to observe it. And very typically, at the climax of the dance, a spiritual presence enters the dancer.
It certainly brings the entire community together. The ceremony is held in one of the temples in the community. These temples are essentially obligatory membership groups for the people of the community who donate time and donate financial support to maintain the temple and to maintain the Barong mask itself.
If you go into Balinese communities today, you’ll see beautiful, beautiful masks, many of them made in relatively recent times because there is this sacred obligation to keep up this tradition and to honor the Barong.”