Bali Nekara at Penataran Sasih Temple
27 March 2011

Bulan Pejeng in fact is a large bronze drum (nekara) of prehistoric from Bronze Age that were developed around 2000 years ago. This cultural heritage is one of the sacred article, kept in Penataran Sasih Temple in Pejeng Village, Gianyar and is located on the main street of Tampaksiring-Kintamani so no difficulty to visit it. According to popular folk tale in society, “Bulan Pejeng” is the “moon” which fell down in Pejeng Village long time ago, making the village was always bright on day and night so the thieves could not do their jobs. Therefore, the “moon” was urinated so did not shine anymore until these days. The name of Penataran Sasih Temple means “the place of the moon” Temple (moon=sasih) and might relate to the story of the “moon” fell from the sky previously.

bali nekara prehistoricAnother story told of this Pejeng nekara as the ear-plug of Kebo lwa, a powerful legendary figure who was able to carve Goa Gajah, steep bank temple of Gunung Kawi , etc. The Pejeng nekara has been introduced internationally by GE. Rumphius, an expert in Biology through his book Amboinsche Rariteitkamer, published in 1705. Although he never been to Bali , but he had succeeded in using the information from Hendrik Leydekereker's. In fact, this nekara is a giant nekara with large size in every detail as in height of 186.5 m and a diameter of 1.60 m for its hit zone. Around the archeological experts, this nekara is also called as nekara with head, because it has four pairs of mask decoration with bulged-out eyes, long-coned nose, and the ears wearing earrings made from coins. The decoration of the mask is not only functioned as esthetic-decorative, but more for magical symbolism for the ancestors' symbol of magic power which bring prosperity and protect the family or the society from any danger. Another decoration which has the magical symbolism is the decoration of octagonal star on the hit zone, border design, feather, and so on.

“Bulan Pejeng” is a masterpiece work of technology and metallurgy that reached its peak on Bronze Age. This cultural heritage is a significant mixture between modem and complicated metal technology and art creativity which is full with magical symbolism values as can be seen from its shape and patterns. All of it is the proof of a local Balinese wisdom in its spectacular work about 2000 years ago, far before India reached Bali . The dynamism of Balinese wisdom at that time was also proved by the finding of five stone moulds in Manuaba Village , Gianyar for making smaller nekara from Pejeng nekara. This fact has proved that Balinese people had succeeded in developing local metal industry. Clay mould for making arrow head also has been found in West Java . In addition, Balinese people had produced a stone nekara which is kept in a temple in Carangsari Village (Badung), is now another success of Balinese wisdom. The other bronze nekara in Pacung, Ularan (Buleleng), Ban (Karangasem), Manikliyu (Bangli), Peguyangan (Badung) is proof that local metal industry in Bali reached its top.

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