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EARLY CHINESE SOCIETY

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Researches

South East Asia, Bali in particular received a very strong influence from 2 central cultures those were India and China. The influence from India was in the spiritual aspect such as Hindu and Buddhism. The influence was so strong a researcher G. Coedes gave his research a title " The Indianized States of South East Asia"

The influence from China was most on trade aspect. During 4th century the center of Chinese Culture moved from Northern area to the South as a result of recurrent invasion from ethnics in central Asia.

Ancient Records

The relation between South East Asia and China brought some records in Chinese chronicles about kingdoms in South East Asia. On 2nd to 3rd century AD is mentioned a kingdom of "B'iu-nam" a Chinese pronunciation for "Funan" a place now known in modern Cambodia. In old Khmer is called "Bnam" or in complete "burung bnam" means "king of mountain" which is in modern Khmer called "Phnom". Second chronicle is mentioned Lin-Yi (ca. 270 AD), which was identified with the name Champa, located at South Vietnam.

Fa Hsien a Chinese traveler around 413 AD mentioned that he returned to China via the sea from "Yeh-po-ti" which is identified as "Javadwipa" ( Java island ). In 430 AD was an emissary to China from "Ho-lo-tan" in "She-po". He brought with him Indian cloth and "Gandhara". "She-po" is identified with "Java Island" In 664 AD, Itsing said that a Buddhist monk named "Hwi-ning" had come and stayed for 3 years, with the help of monk named "Jnanabhadra" he translated Buddhist holy book of Budha Mahayana. Chinese chronicles of 7th century mentioned that in Sumatra there were kingdoms of "To-lang-po-hwang ( Tulang Bawang)" Mo-lo-yeu ( Melayu) and Chelifo-che (Sriwijaya).

A chronicle from Tang dynasty in 618 AD mentioned that Holing was located at an archipelago, of south sea, to the east was "Po-li" to the west was "To-po-teng" to the north was Chenla ( Cambodia) and to the south was the sea. Here "Po-li" has been identified with "Bali"

Traces in Bali

According to Balinese folklore that was a king married Chinese princes of Chung dynasty. The palace of the king was at Balingkang. The name Balingkang is still preserved until now near Panulisan in Kintamani, where is now an old temple and also a shrine for Chinese worship. An ancient stone sculpture with profile Chinese woman was also found at Tegeh Koripan temple, near Kintamani. All Chinese residents around Kintamani area worship this as the princes of Chung Kang. "Kan" means "king" In Batur temple, Kintamani, one of the shrines is a "Klenteng", a Chinese temple. When a ceremony at the temple, the Chinese also organized an offering for the "Klenteng"

Other indication of the strong relation between China and Bali is the use of Chinese coin for ceremony. It is used until now as part of an offering, or in any kind of ceremony. The story about the king married Chinese Princes is preserved with a dance called " barong landung" literally means " tall barong".

Some aspects of Chinese influence in Bali until now can still be observed such as:

Chinese Coin

This coin was made of bronze mixed with copper which have been used as a formal currency during ancient Balinese trade, and later after the introduction of Dutch Gulden and Indonesian Rupiah the coin used only for ceremony. It's function in religious ceremony is very important, can not be changed with other currency.
Baris China ( Chinese man Dance )
This dance is found only at Renon village, closed to Sanur. The character of the dance showing marshal art, each dancer bring Chinese sword, dressed black and white,followed by the monotone music which is call "gong Beri" a Chinese music. In Sanur was found an inscription dated 913 AD, carved on a round stone column. Near the column archaeologists found various flakes of Chinese ceramics. It was possible that Sanur in the past was a port or a town, as mentioned by the inscription that it was the palace of "Singha dwara" = the place of lion. The place ( temple shrine) to preserve the dress and accessories of this dance is called the throne of "tuan" Tuan means foreigner. So it must be a Chinese gentlemen ever lived there as a trader, and he might have introduced the dance to local residents.

Readings

  • Bandem, I Made MA, The Baris Dance, Serba Guna Press 1976, Denpasar
  • IHD ( Bali Hindu Institute ), Laporan Penelitian Sejarah Pura 1979
  • Spies Walter, Zoete Beryl de, Dance and Drama in Bali, Faber and Faber Limited, London
  • Local informants

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Early Chinese in Bali
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Living Magic Belief
Marriage Tradition
Ngaben Cremation Ritual
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Traditional Synbols Pratima
Tenganan Bali Age Village
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POPULAR TOURS

Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.