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Barong is a panther-like deity in Indonesian mythology.


Barong 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. The battle between Barong and Rangda is featured in the Barong dance to represent the eternal battle between good and evil.


Barong is portrayed as a lion with a 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 Barong is often portrayed accompanied by two monkeys.


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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. Banas Pati Raja is the spirit which animates Barong. A protector spirit, he is often represented as a lion.

Calon Arang

Rangda is Barong's opposite. While Barong represents good, Rangda represents evil. Rangda is known as a demon queen, the incarnation of Calon Arang, the legendary witch that wreaked havoc in ancient Java during the reign of Airlangga in the 10th century. It is said that Calon Arang was a widow who had mastered the art of black magic, who often damaged farmer's crops and caused disease to come. She had a girl, named Ratna Manggali, who, though beautiful, could not get a husband because people were afraid of her mother. Because of the difficulties faced by her daughter, Calon Arang was angry and she intended to take revenge by kidnapping a young girl. She brought the girl to a temple to be sacrificed to the goddess Durga. The next day, a great flood engulfed the village and many people died. Disease also appeared.

King Airlangga, who had heard of this matter, then asked his advisor, Empu Bharada, to deal with this problem. Empu Bharada then sent his disciple, Empu Bahula, to be married to Ratna. Both were married with a huge feast that lasted seven days and seven nights, and the situation returned to normal. Calon Arang had a book that contained magic incantations. One day, this book was found by Empu Bahula, who turned it over to Empu Bharada. As soon as Calon Arang knew that the book had been stolen, she became angry and decided to fight Empu Bharada. Without the help of Durga, Calon Arang was defeated. Since she was defeated, the village was safe from the threat of Calon Arang's black magic.


Rangda was actually linked to historical queen Mahendradatta, a Javanese princess sister of Dharmawangsa of East Javanese Isyana Dynasty. She was the queen consort of Balinese king Udayana and Airlangga's own mother. Mahendradatta is known for her devotion to the worship of Durga in Bali. The story goes that Mahendradatta, the mother of Airlangga, was condemned by Airlangga's father because she practiced black magic. After she became a widow, hurt and humiliated, she sought revenge upon her ex-husband's court and the whole of his kingdom. She summoned all the evil spirits in the jungle, the leyaks and the demons that caused plague and death in the kingdom. Airlangga had to face his own mother to save the kingdom. A fight occurred, but she and her black magic troops were so powerful that Airlangga had to ask for the help of the spirit king, Barong in order to defeat her. Barong came with Airlangga's soldiers, and a fight ensued. Rangda cast a spell that made Airlangga's soldiers all want to kill themselves, pointing their poisoned keris into their own stomachs and chests. In response, Barong cast a spell which caused the soldiers' bodies to be resistant to the sharp keris. At the end, Barong won, and Rangda ran away.

Myths and Legends

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:

Barong Ket

Lion barong as banaspati raja means king of the jungle, the most common Barong, it is the symbol of a good spirit, headdress uses sekar taji made of carved leather, sliced with prada and added with some small mirror decoration.

Barong Bangkal

Bangkal is an old pig in Bali and is considered a mythical animal that has strength. It is made of velvet fabric. Paraded on Galungan and Kuningan holidays.

Barong Macan

Barong shaped like a tiger that lives in the forest, its fur resembles a tiger fur made of velvet fabric. Tigers are famous mythical animals in stories in Bali, especially tantri.

Barong Asu

Very sacred barong asu is in Pacung, Tabanan. paraded especially on Galungan and Kuningan holidays.

Barong Gajah

The shape resembles an elephant from India. Barong is paraded around the village on Galungan and Kuningan holidays.

Barong Landung

Barong landung has a different form with barongs in Bali. This barong is not danced by 2 dancers as in general, this barong manifests like two male and female dolls, which are called 'Jero Luh' and 'Jero Gede', the form is similar to Betawi Ondel-ondel.