The Hindu Balinese have a long cultural history, much of which can be seen in its ritual art works. One example is the Barong Landung.

Barong Landung is a pair giant effigies in the form of a man and a woman with stylized masks. They give an eerie impression, perhaps because of their sanctity. Like the familiar lion-like barong ket, the Barong Landung are consecrated as symbols of deities that are venerated locally by certain groups. The Barong Landung are thought to represent a blending of Balinese and Chinese cultures, which has been respected and preserved to this day.

There are many stories about the origin of the Barong Landung. Among those told in Bali, there is one which is famous and spread orally by Balinese.

This is taken from the story told in the legendary history Babad Bali, which says that in 1181–1269 AD there was a king who ruled Bali named King Sri Jayapangus, who also held the title Ida Sang Prabu Dalem Balingkang. The king had a queen who was originally from China, named Paduka Sri Mahadewi Cacangkaja Cihna and was well known as Kang Ci Wi. For a long time, the couple was unable to have a baby, so the king went to meditate in the mountains. In his time there, he was tempted by the presence of Dewi Danu, the goddess of Lake Batur. They then married and had a child.

Because of the infidelity of King Jayapangus against his wife Kang Ci Wi and verbal abuse by Kang Wi Ci to Dewi Danu, they were condemned by the goddess. But at the request of the people in Bali, they both were revived by Dewi Danu in the form of the Barong Landung effigies.

Around the Galungan and Kuningan holy days (celebrating the victory of dharma, or goodness, over adharma), Barong Landung effigies are usually paraded around the village to neutralize evil forces.

Photo from flickr.com/photos/69457868@N00/21686542/