"Barong statue at the entrance of Villa Bossi".
Barong is a story telling dance, narrating the fight between good and evil.
Barong is a character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of the good spirits and enemy of Rangda.
In Bali each region of the island has its own protective spirit for its forests and lands. Each Barong for each region is modeled after a different animal. There is a boar, a tiger, a dragon (or serpent) and the traditional lion. The lion is the most popular one as it comes from the Gianyar region where Ubud is located. The lion has a red head and many jewelry and decorations.
The Barong represents the good spirit or someone’s ‘gardian angel’ that accompanies every person during his live.
In the Barong dance the lion (the good spirits) fights against his opposite called Rangda. Rangda represents evil.
The dance always starts with 2 playful monkeys teasing Barong. Then the evil Rangda appears and tries to use black magic on the male dancers. She orders them to commit suicide. However, Barong uses protective magic on the men so that they become invulnerable. The dance ends in a final battle between Baron and Rangda. Barong wins the battle; the evil is defeated.
In this dance the movement is coordinated to the rhythms of the gamelan, a percussion instrument specific to Bali and Java.
The masks that the barong dancers use, are considered sacred items and before they are used, a priest must bless them by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and by making offerrings.
Barong dances will typically be performed during the Galungan festival, but will also be performed when there is illness or misfortune in the village. The villagers believe that they will chase the bad things from their village by performing this dance. This is still common practise in every day life in Bali.