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Directory Home> Bali Art and Culture> Bali Architecture
 
BALINESE ARCHITECTURE - TRADITIONAL HOUSE
 
Gates are tall, meru (mountain)-shaped walls, shrines small puppet-size buildings, and people live mostly in the open, withdrawing into the intimacy of their small rooms only for the length of the night.

The Balinese base their traditional architecture on the Hindu theory of balance among Man, God and Nature. Man, seen as "Bhwana Alit" (microcosm or Small World), is expected to insert himself into his natural environment in a way which conforms to the order of the "Bhwana Agung " (macrocosm or Larger World).

According to the "Asta Kosala Kosali" manuscripts, all architectural structures should thus reproduce the tripartite order of both the world and the human body. Every building and compound should have a head, a body and a lower body (genitalia, bowels and legs), corresponding to the gods, humans and demons.

The large, open Balinese temple have thus an inner sanctum, where the main puppetsized shrines are located, a middle yard for dances and "humanlevel" ceremonies and a lower yard where the kitchen is located, and where relatively impure rituals such as cock fighting take place. Similarly in the individual family compounds, the family temple is the head of the building while its body consists of the living quarters and the kitchen and lavatory are its bowels and genitalia respectively.
 
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