Barong Landung : Protective Effigy of the Village

Barong Landung is a magically protective effigy which is found in many villages of Denpasar area in preference to Barong Ket and other types of animal Barong. The word landung means tall and indeed the three-meter figures, with human faces and features, tower over their bearers and attendants.

A set of Barong Landung consist of five characters : Jero Gede (the Big Man), Jero Luh (his wife), and their three children. Jero Gede has a black complexion, long hair, and fangs while his wife has Chinese features and yellow skin. The children are somewhat shorter and wear mask with pleasant and smiling expression.

Barong Landung, like other types of Barong, belongs to the village. The dancers are drawn from among the strongest young men, who alone can handle the size and the weight of the giant figures, each of which carried and operated by a single performer. During most of the year Jero Gede, Jero Luh, and their children remain in the home banjar (hamlet), but at Galungan time they appear, in the evenings, on the highways.

At this time, groups with a set of Barong Landung figures walk from village to village, dancing and singing Balinese song, to the accompaniment of the gamelan batel. When the procession reaches the Bale Banjar (hamlet meeting hall) of the village to be visited, a small circle of spectators gathers around the figures.

There, a simple domestic drama, drawn from daily life, is enacted in song and speech in Balinese language. The play contains jokes, comic sketches, along with bits of homely good advice from parents to children. The husband and wife quarrel and argue for a short time, but there is no fighting sequence.

The little play concludes with a song by the principal characters and then the procession moves on to the next hamlet.

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