Barong Ket: Depiction of Good and Evil Battle in a Sacred Balinese Dance

Barong Ket is a traditional mask dance that originated from Bali, Indonesia. It is a unique performance involving intricate masks, colorful costumes, and traditional music. The dance is performed by a group of dancers, who move in a choreographed sequence, telling a story of good and evil.

The Barong Ket dance is a sacred and essential part of Balinese culture, and it is often performed in religious ceremonies and temple festivals. The dance is believed to represent the eternal struggle between good and evil, with the Barong symbolizing good and the Rangda representing evil. The dance reflects the Balinese Hindu belief that the world balances positive and negative forces and that their struggle is ongoing (Rwa Bhineda).

The anchient Balinese people believe that Barong Ket is a characteristic of Balinese Hinduism and was formed through cultural acculturation with Chinese Culture that entered Indonesia. This can be seen from the similarities to the other mask dances in China, such as Barongsai.

The Indo Art House Team once visited the maker of the biggest Barong Mask that was displayed in the 1000 year Batuan Anniversary Festival. The house production manager Mr. Wayan Selamet shared a story behind making this massive Barong Mask. From the material it was made from a special wood. The beard is made from combination of pandan and palm fiber.

Mr Wayan also explained that The Barong Ket is a mythical creature that is half-lion and half-dragon. Therefore, the Barong mask is carved by combining those two animal elements. It took nearly 10 months to finish this vast Barong mask, until it finally became an eye-catching sculpture in the 1000 year anniversary festival of Batuan Village on December 2022.

The performance of the Barong Ket dance is accompanied by traditional Balinese music, which includes instruments such as the gamelan and the kendang. The music is an essential part of the dance and sets the performers' rhythm.

The Barong Ket dance is a significant cultural tradition and a tourist attraction. Visitors to Bali can witness the performance of this dance at various festivals and cultural events. The dance is a unique experience that provides insight into the rich cultural heritage of Bali.