Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bali 1949

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Bali (made)

  • Date:

    1949 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cartier-Bresson, Henri, born 1908 - died 2004 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black and white photograph

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 918, box Q

Physical description

Black and white photograph depicting a group of men in loin-cloths, with one woman also joining in in the foreground, dancing and gesturing with knives, probably as part of the Kris dance, which is part of the Barong dance.

Place of Origin

Bali (made)


1949 (made)


Cartier-Bresson, Henri, born 1908 - died 2004 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Black and white photograph


Width: 39.5 cm, Height: 29.5 cm

Descriptive line

Black and white photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson depicting a group of men in loin-cloths, dancing and gesturing with knives during the Kris dance, part of the Barong dance. Bali, 1949.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Barong dance begins with two playful monkeys teasing Barong (a character in the mythology of Bali who takes the form of a lion- he is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and the enemy of Rangda, who represents evil). The dance begins in a peaceful environment.
The next scene is popularly known as "Keris Dance". The Rangda character appears and wreaks havoc. She casts black magic upon the male dancers, who represent Airlangga's soldiers, and she orders them to commit suicide. Caught in a trance, the men stab themselves in the chest with their own kris (sword). Meanwhile Barong and the priest cast protective magic on these men, making them immune to sharp objects.
The dance ends with the final battle between Barong and Rangda, concluding with the victory of Barong. Rangda runs away, the evil is defeated, and celestial order is restored.


Photographic paper



Subjects depicted

Customs; Performance; Barong; Ritual; Swords; Culture; Dancers; Dance




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.