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Photographer's Note

The bamboo poles that line the street during times of ceremony are called penjor , they are more than just simple decoration, as Jean Couteau explains:

The Balinese have a knack for displaying their religious spirit in various visual ways. Their rituals are so beautiful, indeed, that one sometimes wonders whether they are not almost a purposeless waste of beauty? They are actually, as we shall see representations of religious symbols. When Galungan day approaches, beauty comes to Bali in the shape of the penjor, ornate bamboo poles that decorate the outside entrances of all Balinese compounds, on their mountain facing (kaja) side. It is indeed highly impressive to drive through villages along a double row of swishing and swaying penjor that nod at us to stop.At arms height is set a small niche usually made of bamboo splints: it is the shrine itself, sanggah penjor, wrapped in a white and yellow cloth, sometimes standing on its own separate base.

From the shrine hangs a decorative mat made of enau leaves known as the lamak, while above it, there is a coconut and decorative coconut leaves (lilitan). The same leaves are again used all along the trunk as decorative elements; (gigi barong) barong teeth and gembolan alongside various types of paddy. At the upper part of the structure, where the bamboo bends down hang some other agricultural products: the tuber plants (pala bungkak), the fruit plants (pala gantung) and the vegetables (pala wija). A piece of cloth is also hung here, decorated with esoteric drawings. At the extremity of the bamboo hangs a sampian decoration with rice and cookies, and, in some circumstances, a bird. The sampian symbolises the cosmic wheel.

I have seen many streets with penjors but usually from the bus, it was difficult to take a good picture.

Two more pictures in WS

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12724 W: 133 N: 32881] (150873)
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