Kamen Geringsing Tenganan, Balinese Traditional Costume

Tenganan is one of the traditional villages that still maintain the traditions of the ancestors until today. Entering this village is like taking back to a past time, which actually happened in our time now. You will feel like you are in past life, where everything looks different. From you enter their stone gate, the walking path that you have to step on each of them, is not asphalt, is not ceramic or tile, but it’s the land itself, where at the middle part lined strongly river stone which already been there since so many years ago.

Traditional Costume of Tenganan Bali
Bali Hiking Adventure | Image Source : Wisata Bali Aga

You will be amazed, where you will walk through the walking path to the higher level and inside part of the front area with a group of buffalo that is treat same like the villagers member, where they can go anywhere they want, not locked up inside of a cage. They just seat, relax or walk anywhere they want freely, without being disturbed by the villagers or the visitors. And the villagers also never feel any destruction by their present, and the buffalo also never make any demage to any building, private belonging of the village, eating or talking food from the food stall at the side of the street. There are part of the community at the Tenganan Pegringsingan Village.

Talking about fashion (traditional costume) at this village, during the normal or daily life activity, you will see they are dress like other area in Bali (Balinese traditional costume), nothing different. But when it came to a certain period as per their traditional calendar, where they have to perform a ceremony, they will dress differently, not like Balinese generally use for a ceremony, where mostly the Balinese women using long hand shirt that called “kebaya” and also for the men using the normal top, and for the sarong also they will use what style that is in fashion, where mostly the traditional sarong like “songket” or “endek” always use by them and some of them will use sarongs that come from other island like “batik” from Java or some “silk” that is also come from Java and originally made in Bali.

Geringsing as Tenganan traditional costume consist of 15 defferents motifs, even more that never been recorded or remembered

In Tenganan Pegringsingan, you will see and enjoy something different than the regular view  that you enjoy from a ceremony in Bali, not just by how they dress but also how the organize their offering which also a different thing from this village to other village in Bali. For example we start from the elder one, the one who already married, there are not using any special shirt on top, but just wrap their top with something like sash around their top and finished it just like so, and they comfortable with what are they using, and the material stay still and strong on their body, while doing activity, without being worry that the material will lose and gone from their body, have a look on the picture the elder lady of Tenganan Pagringsingan keeping a tray of offering on their head without holding them with a Tenganan Pagringsingan traditional costume.

As many people know that from Tenganan Pagringsingan they have a special hand weaving technique that know as double ikat of Kamen Geringsing. They are using a traditional equipment to make the double ikat Geringsing that called “cagcag”. The technique is similar to the making of fabric called Patola from Gujarat India. The ingredient to create the colors also taken from natural material and the time consumption from each color are different. Some of the ingredients are: the mixture of candle nut oil (Aleurites moluccana) and wood ashes water to create yellow color, to create the blue color they use indigo leaf mixed with a whiting that they called pamor or kapur sirih. For the red color they use mixed two ingredient take from two different kind of Balinese native trees which is the root bark of kayu sunti (Morinds citrifolia) and the wood bark of kepundung fruit tree.

Bali Hiking Adventure | Tenganan Village
Bali Hiking Adventure | Tenganan Village

The process of the making before start to do the weaving which is different to the normal ikat that other area do, there are four different steps to be done, especially the coloring process, where the yarn as the basic material is using the special traditional Balinese yarn, must to face the dyeing with the ingredient that create for the yellow color. The second one to tie the yarn as per the motif they want to create. And for the motif they have special has their own name and meaning with pattern that the maker has to follow. The third process is the dyeing process with the blue color, and then the fort one is to open some part the tied yarn which is the motif of the fabric that desired to be colored in red. And the last one to open the remains tied yarn and starts the process of the weaving.

They have about 15 different motifs, even more that never been recorded or remembered, with their different function and regulation of how the usage it should be. For a normal people that never involve so much with the making process or just looking by the color and major motif, they all might look the same, but actually each of them has their own function, where like in Java some batik motif are only allowed to use by the man also some motif special only for the women, and there are some can be used for some both. The motif name are : lubeng, wayang putri (female puppet), cemplong, pepare, cecempakan, pat likur isi (twenty four), enjekan siap (chicken foot print), batun tuwung  (egg plant seeds), sitan pegat, dinding ai, dinding sigading, wayang kebo (buttalo puppet), hidup panak (the children life), teteledan, and sanan empeng (broken yoke).

Kamen Geringsing Tenganan
Bali Hiking Adventure | Source : Blair Moore

In Tenganan Pegringsingan for the first time the children receive their first Geringsing around of age four or six years, during the ritual called Ngetus Jambot or hair cutting. Beside to be used as a normal costumes, The Geringsing also used as sacrificial offering and festive clothing for deities. There is also special Geringsing that has to be worn by the girl and women as a breast cover and combined with double ikat of the wider size or two pieces joined/sewn together or combined together with checked yellow-red kamben desa or black white saput gotia as a variety of costume.

On the first month of the Tenganan Pegeringsing for the first month of the Tenganan Pegringsingan traditional calendar in one of their magnificent rejang dance the girls associations all wear the famous wayang kebo motif of Kamen Geringsing. During the fifth month, the girl and the women perform abuang luh dance by using one longer part of the usual floral-pattern breast cloth using geringsing cecempakan or cemplong, drawn over the upper garment sothat the hangs as a loose and that called lamak in front of the body, for the boys during the mekare-kare (the battle) which mostly also done and on the fifth month they will use Geringsing around their hips as the second layer or outer part (saput) which the inside part using a normal sarong of batik, endek or other regular fabric, and for the girl mostly use geringsing wayang Kebo also casually around the shoulder.

Tenganna Pegringsingan village is living museum and laboratory where a month or two, a year or two never enough to discover about the village. Is not only about the fashion that are so many details of them that has to be capture and recorded besides also many other things to be documented. The information that we are able to provide now is just a small piece of the whole picture that actually exist in the reality life the villagers in Tenganan Pegringsingan. If you spend more time and observer furthermore, there are maybe more to discover especially about the fashion for example the step by step of the cycle of life, during the wedding ceremony and many other to the world.

From a small piece of information we learn how we have such a great treasure in the village, from a small hidden village you can start to write and record many things that you discover. Next time you come to Bali, make sure you come to Tenganan Pegringsingan village and observe how they do their fashion. While in another country has different kind of season to adjust the clothing, you will see in the village, the type of their fashion style has never been changed from the first time the village was ever existed. Would you like to try to dress like one of them? Have a try and see if you like it.

Reference :

  1. Wisata Bali Aga
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Bali Travel Guide

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