Gedong Arca Museum

At the east end of Bedulu, on the road to Pejeng, stands the very interesting Archaeological Museum (Gedong Arca Purbakala). In the inner courtyard are 53 stufa sarcophagi of varying size which are believed to date from about 300 bc. They were found in the early seventies on 37 different sites on Bali and brought together here. Some of them show signs of damage – probably the work of tomb-robbers or careless excavators.

The dead were laid in the sarcophagi not in the traditional western fashion but in a crouching posture. This is thought to be a symbolic representation of the eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth, in which the dead person was reborn from a fetal position. Particularly striking is a sarcophagus found at Taman Bali (near Bangli) in the form of two turtles (symbols of the underworld), one on top of the other. Interestingly, the head of the lower turtle has human features.

Gedong Arca Purbakala Museum displays a variety of jewelry and ornaments, utensils and implements dating from the Stone and Bronze Ages – mostly chance finds rather than the result of planned excavation. Of particular interest are the miniature stupas from the Bedulu/Pejeng area, no doubt dating from Bali’s Buddhist period (8th-10th c. ad).

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