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Hindu statues from Bali and their meaning

18.6.2021 PhDr. Jiří Kočandrle Tips on products and their care

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Are you tempted by exotic distances and want to bring at least a little East Asian charm to your home? Tasteful accessories and statues of deities made of metal, stone or wood are a very popular option for spicing up your domestic interior. In today's article, we will look at what the statues in our e-shop represent and what their significance is to Indonesian communities.

Indonesia creates a colourful religious cocktail

Indonesia does not have the same freedom of religious choice as European countries. Every citizen must officially subscribe to one of five recognised religious movements - Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism or Buddhism. Islam is by far the most widespread religion (over 87% of people in Indonesia follow it), but it is not the state religion, which is very important to know, as many people associate Indonesia with the Muslim faith. This is not entirely true, even though Indonesia as a whole is the largest Islamic country in the world. However, Islam here differs from the Arab stream in its distinctive form and is not usually so strict.

Christians are another large group (just under 10 percent), followed by Hindus (less than 2 percent) and Buddhists (0.7 percent). The exception is Bali, where almost 87 per cent of the population adhere to the Hindu faith. It is in Bali that most of the members of the Hindu minority in Indonesia live. Although the latter two religions are a distinct minority, they are the ones that the average European most often associates with mysterious Indonesia. Animism, which is the belief in the existence of deities inherent in all phenomena and things of this world, is also permitted. The belief that everything on earth is alive and has a soul is deeply rooted in Indonesian culture. Rituals and worship of the dead are also very important.

Indonesia's plurality of religions makes for a fascinating cocktail, with different religions influencing and complementing each other to create seemingly bizarre and unexpected religious forms. This is why, for example, when one thinks of Bali, one thinks of a colourful, beautiful, exotic and mysterious mix of religious practices and symbols. On this island, we encounter a mixture of Hinduism and local traditional beliefs, which has its own term - Balinese Hinduism, to which 87 % of the population of this island province of Indonesia adhere.

Idols and deities

Among the most popular statues in our offer are depictions of Buddha and Ganesha. Buddha is the main symbol of Buddhism and is most often represented sitting cross-legged in a meditative position. You can choose to see him with his hands in the "Namaste" salutation (Atmanjali mudra) or in his lap (Swadhisthana chakra mudra). The Buddha statue is seen as a symbol of wisdom, equanimity, enlightenment, happiness, prosperity and positive energy.

The Hindu stream then represents the deity Ganesha, who symbolizes wisdom and success. He is one of the most popular representatives of this religion (but he is also popular in Buddhism). It is a deity with an elephant's head and four arms. His elephant head represents intelligence, loyalty and strength. The four arms symbolize mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. Hindus believe that Ganesha moves around the world on the back of a mouse, which is about the size of a horse, so that the deity can be easily carried.

Also very popular are statues of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma - the triune head or trimurti. This is the designation of the three main Hindu deities: Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the sustainer, and Shiva - the destroyer. Together they form a single entity - the supreme deity Ishvara, who ensures the proper functioning of the entire universe.

Other deities on our menu include Dewi Sri - the protector of rice and fertility. This deity is celebrated with offerings and gifts that are placed in shrines where a religious ritual is then performed. Dewi symbolizes prosperity, wealth and life.

The statues come in a variety of designs - whether made of wood, cast in metal, bronze or alloy, or hand-carved from stone. Hand-carved lava stone statuettes are also suitable for the outdoors - lava stone is relatively soft and porous (hardness ranges between sandstone and river stone) and resists frost quite well - so you can keep the statuette in your garden all year round (we recommend treating it with a stone protection product before winter, e.g. Strong 2000).

Please note that each piece is an original and the photos on the website are only illustrative. If you are interested, we will be happy to take photos of the specific statuettes we have in stock at the time so that you can choose exactly the one that will look best in your interior or exterior.

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