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Chinese Legacies in Bali  

by on Monday, 11 February 2008One Comment | 2,509 views

Various ethnics with different religions lived peacefully in Bali. Chinese is one of them. For example, on the next February 7th Chinese will celebrate the Chinese New Year and of course Balinese will show a big tolerant to them. Balinese always do that, even more to the others.

Griya Kongco Dwipayana, Denpasar Bali.

It has not been assured yet when Chinese came and stayed in Bali for the first time. A source from Chinese news was mentioned Po-li. Po-li had sent its representative to China. Is it Po-li refers to Bali? Nobody is sure about that. Other sources mentioned relation between Balinese and Chinese was started on Tang Dynasty.

Trading took a big part most in historical story of regions in the world. In this case Chinese were known as people who liked exchange goods with the other Asian. They also sailed to the Bali and exchange the goods. They paid Balinese goods with “uang kepeng” (Chinese coins with a hole in the middle). Then, “uang kepeng” became a mean of trading in Bali. Furthermore it also used to be Balinese accepted currency.

“Uang Kepeng” (Chinese coins with a hole in the middle).

Chinese had settled in Bali since long ago. Some of them married the natives and decided to live in Bali. In fact, there were two types of Chinese who lived in Bali. Chinese who lived in the city tend to be hard to interact with natives. In contrast, Chinese who lived in the village had been integrated with natives easily. They also brought their arts and culture. What is the next? Absolutely, there are assimilation process between Balinese and Chinese art and culture. Even more, Balinese are easy to adapt influences from others cultures. Of course, those assimilation products enriched Balinese art and culture.

Some numbers of Balinese cultures and arts that were adopted from Chinese are “uang kepeng”, Chinese Baris dance, ceramics, and one of Hindus temple named Pelinggih Ratu Subandar. Chinese used ‘uang kepeng’ in terms of trading. Meanwhile, Balinese used it as means of Hindus traditional ceremonies. Moreover, they use it until now.

Chinese Baris dance.

Besides ‘uang kepeng’, ceramics which were known as a Chinese commodity of trading in previous time become tools of traditional ceremony. The frictions of ceramics were found in Blanjong (Sanur). Dr. John Miksic from National University of Singapore said that those frictions came from China when China was ruled by Tang Dynasty.

Pelinggih Ratu Subandar.

What about Chinese Baris Dance and Pelinggih Ratu Subandar? Let see on the next posting.

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