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On Building Balinese Traditonal House  

by on Wednesday, 4 April 2007No Comment | 2,056 views

Building a Balinese traditional house or structure is not a simple matter, not just simply taking natural materials – wood, grass, and stone – and shaping them to fit human needs. Instead, it seeks balance and propriety, in a Hindu sense, between the occupant and the structure, and structure and cosmos.

Man’s body is considered in Hindu thought to be a microcosm or miniature of the universe at large. It is only natural, therefore, that the Balinese should regard their house compounds as extension of same concept of balance between body and environment.

There is a set of traditional rules known as Asta Kosala Kosali that have to be observed in building a Balinese traditional structure. A Balinese traditional structure that is built in accordance with The Asta Kosala Kosali will express a harmony between human body and environment.

The Asta Kosala Kosali is originally written on sacred palm leaves in the ancient Javanese language called Kawi. The study, interpretation, and excecution of Asta Kosala Kosali is performed by a specially trained group of traditional architects, undagi, who are treated with the same combination of respect and awe that is accorded any scholar in Bali. ad as other things in Bali, undagi from different areas vary in their interpretation. But there is some fundamental similarities that are shared by all version of interpretations.

To insure that a traditional Balinese structure is in balance and harmony with the environment and its owner, the basic measurements for the layout are taken from the head of the household’s body. Instead of a tape measure, the architect transfer special measurements from the owner’s body and uses them as units of measure for laying out the pillar. And the size and dimension of the pillar are used as a basic measurement for other parts of the house.

The Asta Kosala also what kind of wood should be used for a given structure. The structure dedicated for God, for example shrines and temple structures are using fragrance wood such as sandalwood. For a house, teak wood is considered the best.

Failure in observing the Asta Kosala Kosali will cause misfortunes and sicknesses to the owner of the house and his family. It is also forbidden to cut or modified the Balinese traditional structure that is built in accordance with Asta Kosala Kosali since it is considered as an act of disturbing harmony and balance, this also punished with misfortunes and sicknesses.

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