Topek telek dancers

A photography essay showing how art and spirituality overlap in the life of the Balinese.

Topek Telek dancer putting on her crown at a temple ceremony.
A Jauk crown made of buffalo leather, wicker and wood. This type of crown represents kingliness, A Jauk being the king of giants.
Artisan working on a buffalo hide gelungan (dance crown).
A dance teacher adjusting a dancer’s gelungan before a performance.
Wrapping and pinning gold printed prada tutup dada (literally: close chest) lengths while dressing for a temple dance.
A dancer getting into character with a prada cloth wrap over a keris sword on her back.
Tutup dada prada wraps and badong neckpiece at an artisan’s workshop.
Tari Topeng performers waiting to play their part. The use of masks pays respect to the ancestors who are regarded as interpreters of the gods.
Jauk performer putting on his menacing long nail gloves.
Getting in line for a Mape’ed ritual procession of mostly women of all ages starting with the youngest at the front. The families of these women have invested in royalty inspired finery and the tallest Agung crowns for their daughters.
The Agung crown, named after Bali’s revered active volcano, is made up of many florets of gold plated silver foil flowers arranged individually in the hair.
Silver foil hair accessories are individually stamped, hand cut and folded into flower shapes.
Single gold foil floral hair pins are also worn as a simple accessory.
Like all Balinese attire artisanship, silver foil accessories making is a craft handed down from generation to generation.