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Ugly (bipolar?) Barongs

Published Jan 02, 2023
Updated Mar 08, 2023

📍 🇮🇩 Ugly (bipolar?) Barongs

Located in downtown Ubud, Puri Saren Agung also known as "Ubud Palace" is an historical balinese landmark. Built at the end of the 18th century, the palace was the residence of Ida Tjkorda Putu Kande, the founder of Ubud Kingdom from 1800 to 1823. While entering the front yard of the palace, you won’t be able to ignore the many sculptures of a mysterious creature made of black stone with big eyes and sharp teeth. Called Barong, this unique creature has been venerated by the balinese population for centuries.

According to hindu Balinese mythology, the Barong is the King of spirits and a symbol of health and good fortune. As an hybrid creature, the animal is commonly depicted with the head of a lion or a tiger, the body of a dragon and a elephant tail.  Considered as a protective figure, Barongs are highly represented in temples and shrines. The mythological character is also frequently found in Balinese performing arts especially in processions and dance. The Barong dance is performed during rituals ceremonies and represents a battle between Barong, the good character and its enemy Rangda, the demon queen.


Bandem I. Made, “Barong Dance”, The World of Music.

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18th century