When Bali is discovered for the first time, we are struck by the wild beauty of the island, its beaches, its rice fields, its volcanoes and its culture. We are also struck by everything the Balinese invent to make their living environment even more beautiful: sumptuous floral decorations, majestic penjors erected at the entrance to villages during the festive periods.
But let’s take a look at the famous “Tedung”, these graceful umbrellas that mark our imagination for life. Where do they come from? Do they have a special meaning? The answer is yes.
All tedung are entirely handmade and require time to manufacture. It is made of bamboo for the structure, cotton fabric and wood for the mast. Close to Dajuma, in Yeh Sumbul Village, there are some craftsmen, who make Tedung for hotel decoration as well as for temple. The round shape of the Tedung is a comprehensive and universal symbol, which is supposed to bring protection and peace. There are 2 types: Tedung Agung and Tedung Robrob. Tedung Agung is usually decorated with colored cloth around its edges while Tedung Robrob is decorated with small balls made of woolen threads around its edges. In general each color of the tedung has a meaning:
– black and white tiles (poleng) symbolizes harmony
– black is for the god Vishnu (who maintains harmony)
– red for the god Brahma (creator of the world)
– white for Shiva (destroying god)
– yellow for glory
But other color combinations exist, for example depending on the caste: the Brahmans use the white tedung, the Ksatriya use the black tedung, the Pasek the yellow and the Pande the red. The color used also depends on the 3 temples of the village: Bale Agung the red, Puseh: the black, Pura Dalem the white.
In any case, it is a wonderful souvenir to bring back from Bali because the tedung exists in several sizes that are easy to carry in a suitcase!