BALI CULTURE INFORMATION

 

 
 
The Island Of Bali, Indonesia

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THE BODY

Sometimes there is not more than a few bones to be found, but even these are collected and arranged as nearly as possible in the form of the human body. These are wrapped in a bundle of new white cloth and carried back to the house. It was an eerie sight when on a rainy day the men of Pemetjutan were opening the graves for a mass cremation, searching the mud-filled trenches, cavorting and shouting with delight at the discovery of a blackened jaw-bone or a femur,At home, the bundle containing the remains is placed again on the pavilion reserved for the corpse, now strewn with silks.

The remains are covered with many cloths bearing magic inscriptions, over which are placed the offerings and the many ritual accessories that symbolize or contain the dead man's soul. Among these are the kekreb sinom, a sort of lattice of coconut leaves with flowers in the crossings; and the ukur, a human representation showing the proper position of the bones and nerves,

Angenan usually simply kepengs (the bones) strung on ropes of white yarn (the nerves) , but the prosperous use ukurs made of silver or gold plaques representing the head, hands, feet, and bones, held together by wires of the same metal. These are used for display and are replaced by an ordinary ukur of coins for the actual burning.

An interesting accessory is the angenan, a curious structure made of a ripe coconut filled with rice (the heart) as the base of an upright stick surmounted by an elaborate structure of coloured threads (the brains) and a little lamp made of an eggshell (the soul) , supported by a bent piece of rattan (the arm). This is supposed to commemorate the love and remembrance of the dead person. Of great importance is the kadjang, a sort of shroud, yards of white cloth covered with cabalistic symbols drawn by the priest, who also writes the ulantaga, the credentials by which the soul is admitted into the swarga, inscriptions on little pieces of a sort of tapa from Celebes, a specially prescribed paper made of beaten tree-bark.

Offerings are made again to the sun, to Pradjapati, and for the evil spirits. There are also special offerings for the soul itself to take along on its trip to the beyond: food for the soul, for its retinue, and for presents to give out along its way. These are the ponguriagan, pisang djati, nasi angkab, pandjang Ran, and bubuh pirata, the essential cremation offerings.

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