COSTUME AND ADORNMENT
At home and it work-the-Bali-n6e like to be free of excessive clothing; ordinarily the'dress of; both men and women consists simply,of a skirt called kamben, (the women wear an underskirt tapih) of Javanese batik or domestic hand-woven material, and a head-cloth. The women wear this skirt wrapped tight around the hips, reaching down to the feet and held at the waist by a bright-coloured sash (bulang) . Along scarf (kamben tjerik) in pale pink, yellow, or white cotton completes the costume. Young girls love gay batiks from Pekalongan, full of birds and flowers in red and blue on a white ground, or hand-woven skirts of yellow and green for feasts, but older women prefer conservative brown and indigo or black silk enlivened by a green, yellow, or peach sash. The scarf is generally thrown over one shoulder or wound around the head to keep the hair in place, but it also serves as a ,cushion for a heavy basket carried on the bead, or to wrap over the breasts when appearing in front of a superior or entering the temple, because, although the Balinese are accustomed to go nude above the waist, it is a rule of etiquette, for both men and women, that the breast must be covered for formal dress. This is purely a formula and does not imply that it is wrong to go with uncovered breasts; often the cloth is worn loosely around the waist, leaving the torso free; but even modernized Balinese, who generally wear a shirt or blouse, wrap the breast-cloth across their chest or around their middles when they wish to appear properly dressed.
For daily wear the men also wear a kam ben, a single piece of batik reaching from the waist to a little below the knees, tied in the front and leaving a trailing end that falls into pleats. The kamben can be pulled up and tied into an abbreviated loincloth when the men work in the ricefields. An indispensable part of the men's dress is the head-cloth (udeng) , a square piece of batik worn as a turban and tied in an amazing variety of styles. Each man ties his udeng in a manner individual to himself, taking good care that the folds form a certain pattern and that the end sticks out just right. Conservative Balinese wear the udeng with a comer high like a crest, but the young generation prefers small tight turbans with the four points neatly arranged in different directions. Children generally wear only a lock of hair on their foreheads, but little girls learn feminine propriety by wearing a skirt many years before the boys. Priests dress all in white and one can recognize a high priest (pedanda, " staff-bearer ") because be goes bareheaded and carries a staff (danda) topped by a crystal ball (suryakanta, " the glitter of the sun"), symbol of his authority.
It is unfortunate that new fashions in dress are introducing a new sort of class-consciousness. Young elegants feel superior and emancipated " from the old-style peasant class when they wear a Malay sarong, a tube of cloth worn snug at the back, folded in front in two overlapping pleats and held at the 'waist by a leather belt. With the sarong go a pair of leather sandals, a common shirt, too often with the tails outside, and a Europeanstyle coat. This is the costume of scbool-teacbers, clerks, chauffeurs, and those in frequent contact with Europeans, who will, in the long run, set the fashion for the rest of the population.
All women in North Bali have worn the Malay blouse (badju) for over half a century, since they were ordered to wear blouses by official decree " to protect the morals of the Dutch soldiers." Women of the Southern nobility started to wear badjus, and the fashion is rapidly spreading all over Bali. The Balinese form of badju is clumsy and ill-fitting and does not suit the huskier Balinese women as it does the slim Javanese. Many women cannot afford more than one badju and often let it go without washing. A girl who looks elegant and noble in the simple and healthy dress of the country, appears vulgar when " dressed up " in a tight badju of cheap cotton, not always clean, usually worn pinned up at the breast with a rusty safety-pin. Those accustomed to associate nudity with savagery often refer to the Balinese as " charming primitive people unconcerned with clothes," but however scant and simple their daily costume may be, they love dressing up, and for feasts they will wear as elaborate a dress as they can afford, or borrow one rather than appear poorly clothed to parade at the feast. At temple feasts, weddings, and cremations one still sees middle-aged men in the elaborate ceremonial dress of former times: the white kamben with a trailing end, a rich piece of brocade (saput) tied over the I breast with a silk scarf (umpal) in which is stuck the ancestral kris, weapon and ornament, the sheath of precious wooA and ivory, the hilt of chiselled gold glittering with~rubies and diamonds, crimson hibiscus over their ears.
Few costumes in-tbe world have the dignified elegance of the ceremonial costume of a noblewoman: the underskirt dragging on the ground in a train of silkand gold; the torso. boundfrom the hips to the armpits; first is a strong bulang, a strip of cloth fifteen feet long, covered by a sabuk, another strip of silk overlaid, with gold leaf; with gold plugs through her cars, her hair dressed in, a great crown of real and gold flowers,, with the forehead, reshaped with paint and decorated with rows of flower petals, two small disks of gold pasted to the temples; walking with poise in a procession with other girls dressed like herself, in a display of style, beauty, and dignity, The costumes for dramatic performances are as Spectacular as any in our ballets; diadems of fresh flowers and helmets of gold set with coloured stones, the body wrapped from head to foot in bright-coloured silks to which bold designs in glittering goldleaf are applied by a special process in truly theatrical style. A Balinese woman is seldom without flowers in her hair, and during festivals one sees a bewildering variety of bead-dresses. They are then well aware of their beauty and take special pains with the arrangement of the hair, fixed ingeniously without pins. and without the help of a mirror. The hair is combed back with a fan-shaped comb, the end rolled into a bundle (pusung) that protrudes to the left and is held in place tucked under strands of the woman's own hair. Unmarried girls leave a loose lock (gondjer) that bangs down the back or over one shoulder. Ordinarily the flowers are simply caught between the bairs, some-times suspended in the gondier or over the forehead, dangling from a single invisible hair.
Each type of bead-dress receives a special name, from the simple flower arrangement worn at lesser feasts to the gelung agung, the diadem worn by noble brides. The gelung agung is an enormous crown of fresh flowers; sprays of jasmine, sandat, and bunga gadung, mixed with flowers of beaten gold mounted on springs that quiver at the slightest motion of the head. A beautiful forehead that describes a high arch coming down at the temples is obtained by painting it with a mixture of soot and oil. Little acacia blossoms or yellow flower petals are carefully pasted in a row in the blackened area to emphasize the outline of the brow. They are called tiangana, meaning a " constellation." Girls who have reached puberty cut two locks of hair, brought from the middle of the head, over the ears in two curls (semi) , stiffened with wax to keep them in place.
Men do not wear any ornaments except flowers and perhaps a bracelet of akar bahar, a black sort of coral supposed to prevent rheumatism, but women love jewellery and it is extraordinary that outside of dancers or children the Balinese are one of the rare people in the world that do not wear necklaces. In ancient times men and women wore ear-rings, and ancient statues show that, like the Dayaks of Borneo, they distended their ear-lobes until they hung below the shoulders, weighted down by heavy gold ornaments. Today some men have pierced ears because when children they wore leaf-shaped ear-ornaments (rumbing) of gold set with precious stones.
Little girls distend the holes of their ear-lobes with rolls of dry leaf or with a nutmeg seed until the hole is large enough to receive the large rolls of lontar leaf for everyday or their replicas. of gold (subang) for feasts. The subangs are hollow conical cylinders of beaten gold three inches long by one ih diameteri closed at one end, imitating in shape the palm-leaf subang. Only girls wear them and-after marriage they consider the wearing of subangs a coquetry that is out of place, although married women-, of high caste may wear them at feasts. Rings of gold set with rubies are popular, but the most fashionable today are those set, if with an English gold guinea. Bracelets are in good taste only made of gold and tortoise-shell set with rubies, star sapphires, or little diamonds.
The Balinese are as fastidious in the care of their bodies as they are about dress, and people of all classes, conditions permit ting, make almost a cult of cleanliness. They bathe frequency, during the day, whenever they feel hot or after strenuous work, but two baths a day are the rule, in the morning and evening " before each meal. Many villages have formal baths with separate compartmen for men and women, divided by carved stone walls and provi with water-spouts in the shape of fantastic animals, or sim natural pools or streams fitted with bamboo pipes and low Often the favourite bathing-place is a shallow spot in the river,"' where men on one side, women on the other, squat on the wat remaining for a long time in animated conversation, scrubbin themselves with pumice stone that removes superfluous hair a invigorates the skin, or rubbing their backs with a rough sti. or against a large stone placed there for the purpose. In, a ri near Cianyar we often saw a group of women sitting in the water in a circle, their feet radiating from the centre, gossiping until after dark.
There are strict rules of etiquette for bathing-places; for exsample, sexual parts should be concealed even among persons of the same sex. A man simply covers himself with one hand offend his fellow bathers. It would be unthinkable for a man to look deliberately at a nude woman although she may be bathing within sight of everybody in the irrigation ditch along the road. It is customary to give,some indication of one's presence on approaching a public bath. Women wade into the water raising their skirts to a espectable level, a little above the knee, and after considering the possibility of the sit Suddenly in the water, quickly taking off the skirt. Tie process 'is' reversed in getting out of the water: the skirt which has been lying on a stone or held in one band, is gathered up in: front of the bather and dropped like a curtain as she stands up. She wraps it around her hips and walks off without bothering to dry herself.
Besides the ordinary village bathing-places there are sacred pools and batb-houses, some of which have magic or curative, qualities. There it is customary to leave a small offering for the spirit of the spring before bathing. The most famous of these is the sacred pool of Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring, one of the holiest temples of Bali, where a special compartment has been devised for menstruating women.
The Balinese admire a smooth, clear skin the colour of gold, and pretty girls have a mortal dread of being sunburned, so they do not like to go unnecessarily into the sun. The skin is kept in condition by rubbing and massaging while bathing, afterwards anointing the body with coconut oil and boreh, a yellow paste that refreshes the skin when hot or gives it warmth after exposure to the rain. Boreh is made of mashed leaves, flowers, aromatic roots, cloves, nutmeg, and tumeric (kunyit) for colouring.
In olden times men wore the hair long, but nowadays the younger generation cuts it short like Europeans. The women's hair should be long, thick, and glossy, heavily anointed with perfumed coconut oil. in which flowers are macerated. The hair is kept in condition by washing it in conconctions of herbs.
When a Balinese has nothing to do he squats on the ground and pulls hairs from his face with two coins or with special tweezers, and women remove the hair under the armpits with porous volcanic stones. Some men wear moustaches, which are considered elegant, but only priests wear beards. It is a sign of distinction to wear the fingernails long, often four inches or more, showing that the wearer does not have to do manual work. Priests may wear the nails of both hands long, but the average well-to-do Balinese lets them grow only on the left hand. In Tenganan I have seen young girls wearing naiil-protectors five inches long made of solid gold.
The teeth are ceremoniously filed at puberty to shorten them and make them even. Old-fashioned Balinese blacken them with a sort of lacquer that supposedly protects the teeth from the devastating effects of betel-nut. However, since betel-chewing is losing favors, young people keep their teeth white by polishing them with ashes, although in many cases the molars are blackened, and the front teeth left white. The custom of filing and blackening the teeth, which is widespread throughout Malaysia, has its roots in animistic ritual, to avoid having the long, white teeth of dogs. In Bali today the teeth are filed mainly for oesthetic reasons, since long teeth are ugly.
It is plain that the refined and sensitive Balinese make the most of their daily routine, leading a harmonious and exciting, although simple existence, making an art of the elemental necessities of daily life - dress., food, and shelter.
& Maintained by:
Lisa P.A Zimmerman,PhD. Albert Zimmerman,MA. Putu Agung,M.Eng. Kirsten Parson,M.Eng. Joost MK,M.Eng. Brian Widjaja,SKom, Lhukie Ridwan,SKom & Friends
contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.geocities.com/bali_info_4u/The most complete information about Bali,Bali hotels and accommodation,Bali holidays,Bali weddings,Bali villas and Bali travel site