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A Glimpse of Barong  

by on Monday, 31 March 2008No Comment | 1,792 views

Barong is a portrayal of a mythical monster that is animated by two men, one manipulating the mask, the other the hind end. Barong has a long, sagging body built on a framework of bamboo that is covered with various kinds of material according to the animal whose mask it wears. The barong masks that are widely used are tiger (macan), wild boar (bangkal), lion (singa), elephant (gajah), cow (lembu), and the most commonly used is ket correspond to unknown animal but it is universally known as Banaspati Raja, Sovereign Lord of the forest.

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If the Barong is a wild boar, its body will be covered in plain black cloth, sometimes strewn with white bristles; if a tiger, in a scarlet stuff, with long erect tail, its stripes stylized into leaf-shaped lozenges containing a sort of conventionalized rose. The coat of elephant is generally bluish, sprinkled with large spots. The Barong ket is usually covered with the long, snow-white hairs made from soaked and bleached fibers of perasok plam or the black fiber of sugar palm that is also used for temple roof. Sometimes, Barong ket uses the feathers of black crow, white heron or pigeon as coat. However, the rarest coat is the one that is made of peacock feathers, which are believed to be very holy and magically powerful.

Most Barong wear a magically powerful cloth made of a piece of white cloth inscribed with sacred letters and images. Some barongs are reported to wear the famous geringsing cloth; the geringsing that is used by the barong may only be woven on a certain propitious day. Some barongs have beards that are made of the hairs of their priests. Barong’s beards is believed to has a magical power which can turn plain water into holy water with various efficacies only by dipping the beards into the plain water.

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