Accepted Paper:

How masks made for tourist show work in Balinese society: rethinking Balinese cultural tourism  


Yukako Yoshida (National Nuseum of Ethnology)

Paper short abstract:

This study focuses on the masks made for tourist show called barong dance. I explore how the masks made for tourist show interact with people and become involved in local village life. I try to show a non-anthropocentric analysis on cultural tourism in Bali.

Paper long abstract:

Barong dance is typically performed for tourists. This study focuses on masks used in barong dance for tourist. Many Balinese villages own barong and rangda masks as objects of worship. However, in most of the cases, those used for tourists shows are not these sacred masks but replicas or similar ones.

At first glance, Balinese people seem skillful in differentiate "secular tourist performance" from their ritual or religious realm by using non-sacral masks. However, the actual situation is not so simple. For example, some of the masks made for tourist show gradually gain supernatural power and eventually become objects of worship. In other cases, people ask their sacral barong to give spiritual help and protection to their none-sacred masks. People make, use, and control the masks. However, at the same time, they can be in awe of, enchanted by, and even scared of those masks. By exploring how the masks made for tourism interact with people and become involved in local village life, I would like to rethink the anthropological discussion on Balinese cultural tourism. Previous studies often celebrate Balinese people's capacity for "inventing tradition". Rather than following such anthropocentric viewpoint, I would like to analyze the development of cultural tourism, especially in the field of performing arts, as a process of mutual interaction between people and masks.

Panel P074
Anthropology and intangible cultural heritage: new possibilities for traditional topics? (Commission on Intangible Cultural Heritage)