Barong is a lion-like creature and character in the mythology of Bali, Indonesia. He is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen and mother of all spirit guarders in the mythological traditions of Bali. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.
In Balinese mythology, the good spirit is identified as Banas Pati Raja. Banas Pati Raja is the fourth "brother" or spirit child that accompanies a child throughout their life, which is a similar concept to guardian angels. Banas Pati Raja is the spirit which animates Barong. A protector spirit, he is often represented as a lion. The Barong is often portrayed accompanied by two monkeys. Barong is portrayed as a lion with red head, covered in white thick fur, and wearing gilded jewelry adorned with pieces of mirrors. The shape of lion Barong is somewhat similar to a Pekingese dog. The origins of the Barong are far a back in time and quite uncertain. Its origins could be from animist'cults, before Hinduism appeared, when villagers still believed in the supernatural protective power of animals.
The lion is the popular one, as it comes from the Gianyar region, where Ubud (the home of tourist's Balinese dance ritual viewing) is located. Within the calon arang, the dance drama in which the Barong appears, the barong responds to Rangda's use of magic to control and kill her to restore balance. In traditional Barong dance performances, he is portrayed in his struggles against Rangda, it is the popular part of Balinese culture. The mythical creature would dance along the street to the calon arang dance. A priest would throw holy water at it.
The lion barong is one of five traditional Barongs. In Bali each region of the island has its own protective spirit for its forests and lands. Each Barong for each region is modeled after a different animal. They are:
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