In the hills of Karangasem, sheltered within a secluded valley, is the walled village of Tenganan, home of a secretive community of Bali Aga people, so called because they have resisted outside influences for many centuries, preserving their pre-Hindu customs. The women of the Tenganan village weave a rare double ikat cloth, the kamben gringsing, which is supposed to have magical powers to protect the wearer, and is greatly sought  after for creamation ceremonies. The process of weaving this cloth, known only in this village, can take up to five years for the completion of one piece. Unique ceremonial customs are still practised in Tenganan, which still maintains an archaic gamelan selunding, with its iron sound bars, to produce the melancholy melodies to which the girls dance. Once a year, during a festival tournanent in which the men of the village fight each other with wads of thorned pandanus leaves, the object being to draw blood in a sacrifice to placate the evil spirits. Despite the discomfort of the protagonist, this gladiator like competation is obviously enjoyed by those involved as a chance to display their bravery and manhood.


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