Subak – Cultural Landscape of Bali Province

Indonesia’s cultural heritage includes material objects that have become tourist business cards of this country – for example, temples (Borobudur, Prambanan), national parks (Komodo Island, Lorenz, Djjung Pendant), Tropical Sumatry Tree.

In addition, the UNESCO list includes the so-called "Intangible heritage". In the last mailing list, we talked about such phenomena of Indonesian culture, like a batik, Wague Theater, Dagger Chris, Angklung Musical Instrument, Dance SAMAN and NOKEN Bag.

There are more complex, comprehensive concepts that can not always be called "object". One of them is a cultural landscape of Bali Province.

The uniqueness of this phenomenon is that the monument is not one object, but a totality of traditions, customs that make up the culture of the islanders.

Let’s talk a little more about it.

The main agricultural culture of Balinese is rice, and the only way to cultivation – the filler fields. In the conditions of mountainous terrain, the creation of irrigation facilities and their further exploitation is a very labor-intensive process requiring participation in it as many people as possible, as well as coordinating their efforts, labor separation.

On the island of Bali, rice is grown on multi-tiered terraces, sometimes up to ten rows. Their structure required titanic efforts in those times when people could only count on their muscular power. Taking into account the mountainous terrain, the use of manpiece was also limited. It can be said that the construction of the terraces in its labor costs is comparable to the legendary pyramids of Giza. The cumulative area of ‚Äč‚Äčartificial rice fields on Bali is 19,500 hectares. It is more than the western administrative district of Moscow. In addition to the actual terraces, the system also includes a network of channels, ducts, gateways. It is difficult to imagine that all this was developed and built in the 9th century.NS. It is by this period of time that the first references to Irrigation on Bali belong to.

The above-described hydraulic engineering system is called "Subak". It should be noted that there are two more meanings that Balians are investing in understanding of this word.

"Subak" You can also determine as a community of peasants, jointly using one irrigation system. Moreover, the subak can enter both one and several villages. The criterion for accessories to the community is precisely sharing of a specific irrigation system or water source.

However, the concept of subak is not exhausted purely economic or administrative significance.

Subak also carries a mystical function – each community has its own temple that some call "Water temples". Their main task – "relationship" with a specific spirit that "Responsible" For the well-being communities. These spirits personify the forces of nature. As a rule, the Subak Temple is the largest object in the community. The most famous "Water temple" – Taman Ayun. It was built in 1634 Raja Mengway. From all sides, the temple is surrounded by canals, you can only get into it through the bridge. Inside the temple is a fountain with 9 jets, which symbolize 9 major Bali deities. Interestingly, jets are focused on eight sides of the world, and the ninth jet beats up.

Note that the perfume of the ancestors from the Balinese is associated with the mountains.

It is worth noting that the type of Bali Bali, which some researchers are called Indo-Buddhism, has its own characteristics. It includes both the provisions of the classical teaching of Buddhism and the pagan beliefs that are based on worship of the elements of nature and ancestors.

Subak - Cultural Landscape of Bali Province
  • Harmonious human relationship with Divine Forces
  • Harmonious human relationship with nature
  • Harmonious human relations with other people

In the canonical Hindu literature principle "Three hit Karana" does not appear, but, at the same time, it is very close to the spirit of Hinduism and is accepted by Balinese as part of religion.

Balinese community, subak, the basis of his life believes these principles. The same principles are transferred to the farm – the joint irrigation of the filler rice fields implies careful and mastical attitude towards nature. The interaction between communities, as well as their participation in irrigation and the subsequent distribution of the crop occurs, taking into account their financial situation and physical characteristics of each.

Water use is sacrallized, each of its significant steps are accompanied by different ceremonies (for example, water start) in accordance with the principles "Three hit Karana".

Interestingly, the subak system allowed the Balinese to achieve the highest yield of rice in the region. Bali managed to collect 3-4 crop rice per year.

Currently, Bali has more than a thousand subakov. Of course, in modern conditions, the subak is gradually transformed into "Irrigation Cooperative", where physical involvement is replaced by cash contributions. Nevertheless, relations inside communities are trying to support the principles of the ancestors. For example, public order is still largely maintained by the police, but "voluntary folk friend" Subak communities.

In 2012, the Subak system was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage List as materialization of principle "Three hit Karana".

Subak - Cultural Landscape of Bali Province

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