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The Characters

JayaPangus

King Sri Jaya Pangus

In his short and tumultuous tenure between 1179 - 1181, King Sri Jaya Pangus of the Warmadewa dynasty ruled in what was to be possibly the most exhilarating historic period of the Balinese kingdom. He defied traditional law by taking a foreigner, Kang Ching Wie of the Chinese Kang dynasty, to be his first lady. The concern from the high priest did not stop the king and the power of true love. He moved his palace to a new location known as Balingkang, from the words “Bali” and “Kang” dynasty. There, in a relatively short time, he soon gained strong followers, becoming one of Bali’s most respected kings. Sadly, with no blessing from the high priest, the couple was childless. Frustrated, the king set out on a pilgrimage to the nearby temple of Mt Batur. There he met the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu, and a romance soon followed. The couple was blessed with a baby boy. It was this love affair and the fierce scuffle that followed that turned he and his along with his Chinese first lady into stone statues. However the couple’s divinity is still highly observed by their people today where their effigies are carried around during the celebration of one of Bali’s most elaborative holidays Galungan and Kuningan day.

KangChingWei

Kang Ching Wie

The daughter of a Chinese influential merchant and ship captain, Kang Ching Wie was described as a gorgeous princess with charming personality and who had mastered various Chinese dances and trades. Her marriage to King Jaya Pangus was happy and prosperous, except that she failed to bear a baby. This failure was costly. When she set off to find her husband who was on his pilgrimage to Mt Batur, she soon realized that her beloved husband had been taken from her by the goddess of the lake. In an unavoidable brawl, the royal couple were cursed by the goddess and become stone statues. The legend continues and apart from being observed as a Barong Landung effigy, Kang Ching Wie is still believed to be the god of trade, whose shrines are established at every merchant and trading location. She is recognized as the Goddess of Prosperity.

DewiDanu

Dewi Danu

The Goddess of the Lake, Dewi Danu, Sri Jaya Pangus’ consort is believed to be the goddess of water on Bali and one of the two supreme deities. Commanding her kingdom of lakes which are the sources of water and sustenance for all Balinese. Lakes symbolize lushness, providing water to irrigate the verdant green rice all across the island. Dewi Danu is worshipped as the symbol of fertility.

Dalang, the puppet master

Throughout the show, the puppet story teller, dalang, recounts the Bali Agung story to his son, describing the future and past of Bali this highlights the fact that cross cultural contact is an unavoidable occurrence. Being a dalang is one of the most respected occupations in Bali. They are capable of translating the highly regarded Sanskrit language of the holy books into daily words in an entertaining manner with fresh jokes while matching each sacred message through the characters he is playing. In Bali, therefore, a dalang is more than just an artist. He must be a language guru, a priest, teacher, historian, as well comedian and entertainer. Since puppet performances often are devoted for religious ceremonies, a Balinese dalang is capable of administering a holy function. Indeed, once in every 210 days, Balinese celebrate tumpek wayang (a wayang day) which is a religious observance dedicated to puppets and the puppet masters.

The Priest

In an island where its three million inhabitants are nearly all devout Hindu Dharma believers, the existence of priest is very significant. A Hindu priest is regarded as the most respected social occupation, beyond the royal family members.  Priests were actually the people who decided what a king should and should not do. Once someone challenges his decision, a catastrophic incident is sure to happen. This happened to King Sri Jaya Pangus although he managed to move his kingdom and build his own palace beyond the priest authority but fate soon interrupted in a spectacular fashion.  On Bali, a priest is consulted for every single piece of ceremony, from baby’s hair cutting schedule to wedding arrangements, from planting rice to chopping down a tree.

Ship Captain

Attracted by Bali’s abundance of farm produce, Chinese merchants established trading posts on Bali as early as the beginning of the eleventh century. One of them is from the Kang family whose ships regularly visited Bali, and even established relationships with the inner kingdom way up near Batur Lake. They not only traded with the local kings but also exchanged many gifts and presents with them. Kang’s daughter marriage to the local king not only made her the first lady, but her family trading expertise immortalized her as the goddess or wealth, whose shrines are established in every market and trading location across the island.

 

Narrator

Narrator

Although Bali Agung is essentially a visual show, the audience is guided by the English speaking narrator to help visitors better understand the flow. The man behind the creative production, he has been the key to success of ‘Bali Agung- the legends of Balinese Goddesses.’

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