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Home » Arts & Culture, People & Community

Heirlooms  

by on Wednesday, 4 May 2011No Comment | 2,906 views

Heirlooms in Bali are found in the forms of magically powerful weapons (pajenengan) such as dagger (kris), spears (tumbak), whips (pecut), etc; palm leaves manuscripts (lontar); metal plates inscribe with a piece of sacred text on various themes (prasasti); jewelries; rare coins and precious stones. Some Balinese also consider various kinds of poisons (cetik), their antidotes (usada cetik), potion (lelengisan), pieces of various rare woods that are believed to be imbued with magical power and parts of rare animals as heirlooms.

Heirlooms play important role in Balinese life; they serve as a symbol of social status of a family. A powerful family usually claims to posses more powerful heirlooms than others and claim to such powerful valuables can influence the family socio-political rank. A powerful heirloom such as kris, often gives authority and magical power to its owner. The respect and fear which is produced by the possession of a powerful heirloom is a significant support to elevate a family socio-political status in the eye of others.

An heirloom has to be handled with care and respect. A special offering has to be presented in every auspicious day and it have to be stored in a special elevated place or in a special room if a family posses many heirlooms. Failure to perform a necessary treatment to the heirlooms may result on various misfortune or disappearance of them. Some most powerful heirlooms such as kris, spears or coins are known to be the most demanding ones and tend to be disappeared if something amiss in their treatment.
(Disappearing tendency of some most powerful heirlooms may exclude them from heirlooms category, since they are have a power to choose their owner and sometimes cannot be passed through generations but only small number of kris, spears or coins are believed to have this capability)

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Heirlooms are not just owned by a family, all of the temples in Bali usually have an heirloom or two. They are usually in the form of kris, spears, whips and pratima (mediums in which gods reside during a temple anniversary). These heirlooms serve as a guardian of the temple and its congregations, believed to posses a magical power that can save the temple congregation from magical attack.

As any other things in Bali, Heirlooms are double-edge weapons; they can protect the owner and harm him. They are passed down through generations and use for every imaginable purpose which crosses to the owner mind.

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