TITLE: Telek Luh Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Telek Luh
MAKER: Ida Wayan Muka, Mas Ubud (1971- )
CEREMONY: Barong Dance
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: colored glass; gold-plated silver ornament; paint; rubber band

The Barong Dance, named after its main protagonist, recreates a contest between good (represented by the Barong and its followers) and evil (represented by the goddess of death, Rangda, and her followers).  This specific mask represents one of the Barong’s retinue, known as Telek Luh.  Telek Luh is rarely performed, but she appears in the dance called Sandaran as the spiritual embodiment of feminine refinement.  The mask was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Wayan Muka of Mas Ubud, Bali.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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TITLE: Topeng Demung
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Patih Demung
MAKER: Ida Ketut Berati, Singapadu
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: colored glass rhinestones; goat leather and hair; gold-plated silver ornaments; paint; string; rubber band

The Topeng dance drama is an important traditional entertainment and education on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Its origin can be traced to the oral history of the Balinese people and venerable palm-leaf written histories, influenced by Hinduism imported from India. The dance may have originated as early as 840 CE. The stories depicted in this drama, called Babad Dalem, tell a political history of the islands of Bali and Java as written by the court poets of the regional kings.

This specific mask represents a character known as Patih Demung. It rarely appears in a Topeng dance drama and represents a harebrained court official. It was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Ketut Berati.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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TITLE: Barong Macan
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Barong Macan
MAKER: Ida Wayan Tangguh, Singapadu (1935-2016)
CEREMONY: Barong Dance; Japatuan; Basur
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: glass rhinestones; mirrors; buffalo leather; paint; gilding; human hair; gold-plated silver ornaments; brass bells

Barong masks are some of the most important cultural artifacts in Bali.  The Barong is a mythical beast that purifies and protects the village. The mask itself is a sacred object of worship and usually kept in a temple. Barong masks are taken out to perform dances and ceremonies on major holidays, most notably the Kunti Sraya, or Barong Dance. That dance recreates a contest between good (represented by the Barong and its followers) and evil (represented by the goddess of death, Rangda, and her followers).

Barongs come in many types, depending on the type of animal represented.  Barongs may take the form of a boar, bull or deer, for example. This mask, the barong macan, represents a tiger, the most fearsome animal in Indonesia. The macan maintains balance between the physical and spiritual worlds, and acts as a potent protector against the harmful influence of ghosts on the village.

This specific barong macan was the last one made by the master craftsman, I. Wayan Tangguh of Singapadu, before he died.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).


Video of a Barong Ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, 2018.

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