Balinese Masks: Preserve Balinese Culture through Performing Arts

"WhoisBali.com - More than just knowing Bali"

Publish: 06 Jun 2018, Edited: 28 Jun 2018
Balinese masks - whoisbali.com
Photo: Topeng Tugek Carangsari

Discussing Balinese culture will never end. The creation and variety of traditions that exist in Bali is caused by the variety of customs and traditions of each region in Bali, which then adds to the diversity of cultures that can be seen and enjoyed in Bali.

will try to discuss Balinese Mask culture whose existence is not only famous for its dance, but the element of philosophy, meaning, and other art contained in every performance.

In this article, we will not discuss the history of the mask dance in Bali but rather leads to how the Balinese masked dance is represented as one of the preservation of culture and traditions that exist in the modern life of the Balinese society. All we will summarize with a simple discussion so that the goal of introducing Balinese culture to local and international communities can be achieved.

Before knowing how the Balinese Mask dance became a representation of cultural preservation in the midst of the modern life of Balinese society, it is necessary to understand in advance what Balinese mask dance is.

What is Balinese Mask dance?

"Mask" or by the Balinese called "Tapel" is one of the results of art, in this case, shaped carving on wood media to shape the character's face. Usually the character of the face of Mask Bali taken from the representation of existing characters in the chronicle (Babad) or legends that exist. From the representation of these characters will affirm how the character of the figures will be presented in the Bali mask dance.

If defined, Balinese Mask Dance is a dance in which dancers use a 'Tapel' with a certain character. Dance is performed usually associated with Balinese culture or Hindu culture that story is taken from the chronicle (Babad) and legends that exist in Bali or related to the teachings of Hinduism.

Bali Mask art is very much related to dance art and percussion art (gamelan) in Bali. This is because of every Balinese mask dance performances are always followed by a dance and Balinese art of percussion or Balinese society call "Gamelan". With this dance and gamelan will further emphasize the existing character of Balinese Mask dance that is being staged.

In Bali, there are many types of mask dance that are often performed, ranging from sacred Balinese mask dance and mask dance aimed at entertainment. One of the sacred mask dance is Barong Brutuk mask dance performed only in Trunyan village, Kintamani. There is also Dalem Sidakarya mask dance or often called Sidakarya mask dance which is performed during a Hindu religious ceremony with the purpose of the ceremony performed can run as well as expected.

The Evolution of Mask Dance in Bali

Along with the growing art of mask dance in Bali, the characters that exist in Balinese mask dance are not only sourced from chronicle (Babad) or legends that exist. Various new characters are created for entertainment purposes, one of which is often performed for entertainment is Bondres mask dance or Balinese people call it "Topeng Bondres".

Bondres mask dance usually displays a joke that comes from daily habits. It can be said the Bondres mask dance is very touching the life of the audience so it is easier to understand and the language used is everyday language. Often a new character is inserted in this mask dance to add interest to the audience to watch the mask dance performance.

Nevertheless, Bondres mask dance still carries elements of the story of the chronicle (Babad) or the legends that exist. With this, the audience can be entertained and at the same time able to receive well the core message and storyline that is in the chronicle (Babad) or legend that is shown.

The role of Balinese Mask Dance in cultural preservation among modern Balinese society

If talking about the role of Balinese mask dance in cultural preservation among the modern life of Balinese society, of course, this is unquestionable. Why is that? This is because of every Balinese mask dance performances various elements of culture are presented and displayed among the Balinese society. Starting from the element of art that comes from the making of a mask that contains elements of local culture and also clothing is worn mostly recognized as a characteristic of Bali.

Then how this Balinese mask dance can be the best means of conveying religious teachings and the point of view of goodness that can be transmitted and applied in everyday life?

According to whoisbali.com version, this Balinese mask dance can be one of the best media that can be used as a means to convey the teachings of Hinduism and views of goodness. In this case, Balinese mask dance will provide religious philosophy to deal with current issues within the local community. One type of Balinese mask dance that can be used as an intermediary for it is Bondres mask dance.

By delivering a philosophy that is easily understood by the audience, making the preservation of Hindu culture for the Balinese society that adopts modern lifestyle will be much easier to convey. Flexible language and jokes that touch the social life of Balinese society will make the moral message of a story that comes from chronicle (Babad) and legends faster to understand and more interesting to watch. In addition, any current problems that exist around modern society can be lifted and given a solution from the point of view of Hindu religious teachings and the point of view of goodness.

As we all know, rarely Balinese who are interested in learning more about their culture. Knowledge of the language is limited and is already considered old-fashioned one factor eroding the interest of the younger generation in the study of culture. While on the other hand, many tourists want to learn a lot about Balinese culture. With this, the Balinese artists tried to pack the Balinese culture with some modifications in its delivery, one of them in the form of dance masks Bondres with modern packaging.

Packed in a modern way with jokes related to social life will be much more appealing to modern society in Bali. So the Balinese still remember and preserve their local culture and traditions. Whoisbali.com is very grateful to Balinese artists who have been keeping and performing from Balinese culture in the midst of modern life. Hopefully Balinese culture we can preserve together.

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