Batukandik Temple Shrine (Suastika, 2001)

I Made Suastika tries to answer the question whether the 'Sanggar Tawang' is a 'padmasana' (the throne of a god in the inner court of a temple) or indeed a structure in the advanced stages of the megalithic tradition. English (summarised) translation by Godi Dijkman; additional comments by the author in square brackets. Original Indonesian text follows below.

suastika batukandik shrine 2001

Image left: Manusia Kangkang Relief at 'Sanggar Tawang', Pura Puseh lan Desa - formerly known as 'Pura Meranting' - Batukandik, Nusa Penida (Suastika, 2001)


There is some confusion regarding a few Indonesian or Balinese terms and their English or Indonesian equivalents. 'Pelipit' is one example. The Indonesian synonym seems to be 'melipat' (to fold), according to Salim's Kamus Bahasa Indonesia Kontemporer). The English equivalent could be 'hem, seam; step', but it is not entirely clear what exactly this refers to in relation to the Sanggar Tawang. The same problem occurs in Bagus' article (1997) on the same topic, and other instances elsewhere on the site. Both authors refer to the middle section of the statue, the waist, in which this part would represent the mountain of the spirits, the 'Meru' in Hinduism, or Gunung Agung perhaps. The reason why the term 'pelipit' would be used here, and not - for example - with regards to equally storied structures below the waist, is unclear, as both could be interpreted to represent a mountain.

The term 'ayam' (chicken, rooster, cockerel, fowl) is used to describe the two birds at either side of the relief's head. As no indication is given of its sex, the general term 'fowl' has been used in the English translation. This is peculiar, given the fact that the cockerel or rooster is a much more widely-used cultural symbol, not only in Bali and the rest of Indonesia, but the world over (e.g. Portugal). The reader is invited to inspect inserted photograph and judge for himself.

Another term is the relationship between, and overlapping interpretations of, the terms crown, throne and shrine. In English, there can be no misunderstanding. In Balinese, given the religious context and perhaps due to the layered structure of Balinese itself, there exist a number of terms all closely related to this, used in different contexts with reference to the elements, which make up the structure. The first is 'palinggih/pelinggih' (High usage), a Hindhu term for a 'throne, seat, chair' on which a deity lives or can manifest itself. A Balinese equivalent is 'singgasana' (Court & literature). The Indonesian equivalent could be 'tahta/takhta'. Terms such as 'tempat suci' or 'kuil' are indicated as well, but these have not been encountered in Balinese texts on the subject of Manusia Kangkang at Batukandik. Then, there is Balinese 'sanggar/sanggah', meaning a shrine for the gods, a generic term used to indicate a shrine, (part of a) sacred structure or monument. Another variety is 'pelinggih pesanggaran', translated as 'throne shrine'. Then, there is the term padmasana, described as 'the throne of a god in the innermost court of a temple', in which 'padma' is a lotus, and sana(n) the foundation of this type of shrine.

Specifically in relation to the term padmasana, applied by Anak Agung Gede Bagus' (1997), Suastika chooses to disagree, and decides the Sanggar Tawang is indeed a structure belonging to the megalithic tradition, but that all elements typical for a padmasana (the lotus foundation, the turtle/tortoise on which the earth rests, and symbols of Acintya - representing the concept of God in Hindusim - are missing. Furthermore, Suastika pays attention to local beliefs pertaining to this shrine, and mentions a number of religious ceremonies performed, all of them linked to agriculture. Therefore, Suastika prefers to use the term 'Sanggar Tawang' (Heavenly Shrine) instead.

Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang at Pura Puseh Meranting, Nusa Penida (I Made Suastika (2001)

Foreword: background

Balinese and its culture are well-known abroad and the island Nusa Penida and Lembongan are an integral part of the area. Apart from its beauty, there are things that need to be understood about Balinese culture's historical development to its present form.

Based on archaeological remains, Bali was first inhabited by man hundreds of thousands of years ago. Some of these archaeological objects are stone tools found in Sembiran and Trunyan, thought to date back to the Paleolithic (Soejono, 1962). Man's life, it appears, in Bali is further archaeologically explained by the discovery of blade tools and animal bone tools at Selonding Cave in the vicinity of Pecatu (Bukit), South Badung. These objects point at early human life in Bali and are most prominent around 5000 years ago with the discovery of square pickaxes, also known with Neolithic cultures (Suastika, 1997: 29; Ardana, 1997:43). This progress was reached during the era of agriculture and constitutes a major achievement in man's life patterns, as during this stage he managed to reach a technological stage of development, which saw the production of stone tools: polished and sometimes smooth or even shining. People changed from being wanderers to settlers living in small villages.

All family members, including children, were considered productive work force. Animals such as dogs, pigs and fowls were reared to produce food and for the benefit of certain ceremonial offerings. In their spare time, whilst awaiting the harvest season, they dedicated their time to small household activities such as the production of pottery, plaits, cloths etc. The use of outriggers was a factor, which contributed to intensified relations between the speakers of Austronesian languages, especially in South-East Asia during the first century BCE. This is most evident with the onset of the Bronze age (bronze and iron) in Bali, which is thought to have arrived in Bali from Dongson, Vietnam.

Relations between Bali and India can be regarded as an incentive, which led Bali into the age of (modern?) history. Based on various archaeological remains, written sources and art in the form of statues, Bali entered (modern?) history between the eighth and ninth century. However, despite the fact that Indian culture rooted in Hindu and Buddha religion influenced Bali, local cultural aspects still bear on Balinese culture. This is reflected in the Balinese social system. Simple decorative motives depicting man, thought to date back to pre-Hinduistic traditions were still dominant in their use during religious ceremonies of the Balinese back then, and continue to be used at the present time. Statues from the megalithic tradition encountered in a number of temples in Bali, are considered sacred and are used as a means of worship (Suastika, 1997:21).

suastika batukandik shrine2001 01

Image right: Manusia Kangkang Relief at 'Sanggar Tawang', Pura Puseh lan Desa - formerly known as 'Pura Meranting' - Batukandik, Nusa Penida (Suastika, 2001)


At Pura Meranting, Nusa Penida, seven statues have been discovered dating back to the megalithic tradition: four human statues, a water-buffalo's head, two fowls (cockrels) and a seat (pelinggih) with a 'human figure with legs wide apart' (manusia kangkang) holding a chair, locally referred to as 'Sanggar Tawang' ('Heavenly Shrine'; a temporary shrine for making offerings). Claire Holt in her article Bandit Island (1936) in 'Tijdschrift van het Java Instituut' (1933: 19), wrote about these megalithic remains at Pura Meranting, Batukandik. In 1996, the 'Bali Arkeologi Denpasar' carried out research in a number of temples on Nusa Penida. A.A. Gde Bagus wrote an article Bangunan Padma Berelief Manusia Kangkang Di Pura Meranting, Nusa Penida published in 'Seri Penerbitan Forum Arkeologi' (1997:60-71). In this respect, further study is needed on this throne shrine (pelinggih pesanggaran), by looking closely at its form and function in order to find answers to the question whether this structure is either a 'padmasana' (the throne of a god in the inner court of a temple) or indeed a structure in the advanced stages of the megalithic tradition.


In gathering data, bibliographic studies were done in order to produce two kinds of input: a wider perception of the object under research, and accurate observations in the field accompanied by documentation through description, measuring, drawing and photographing [the object]. This is important as it can help monitor the form of the object, the material the object is made of, its ornamental patterns and craftsmanship techniques. Where it concerns data management, quantitative and comparative data analysis was carried out. Qualitative analysis can bring forth descriptive data on the general characteristics and 'couleur locale' and information on the behaviour observed [by the local inhabitants?]. Comparative analysis may produce factors, which can be collected to create a historical construction. Apart from this, contextual analysis was also carried out in examining its functions.


Sanggar Tawang is a construction in the inner court (jeroan) of Pura Meranting, in the village of Batukandik, Nusa Penida, Klungkung Regency. The district of Nusa Penida is situated to the south of Bali, and is the largest of the island surrounding Bali. The site can be reached from Denpasar and Sanur Beach in approximately two hours sea crossing on a motorised boat to Toyapakeh harbour, and from Toyapakeh further on in approximately 1½ hours using various kinds of motorised forms of transport on 8°42' 7" Longitude, and 8°45' 7" Latitude, at an altitude of about 285 meters above sea level. Batukandik is situated on a slope to the south of Bukit Munda [Mundi] with contour lines of about 2,5 meter (per contour line; trans?), which consists of limestone with very thin layers of humus. There are no flowing rivers, except during the rainy season. To obtain drinking water for the inhabitants, subterranean 'cubang' [water catchment cisterns] were constructed in order to gather rainwater all year round, but especially for use during the dry season.

batukandik bullalohead

Image above: a buffalo's head, tucked away behind the Manusia Kangkang's head (Image by Godi Dijkman, 2009)


Sanggar Tawang is a sacred shrine (pelinggih), a means of worship. In Bali, 'Sanggar Tawang' is often referred to as 'Sanggar Agung'. Generally, they are temporary sacred construction, made of bamboo for the worship of the Sun God (Dewa Surya) (Goris 1960:104-105; Sutaba, 1995). But this 'pelinggih' is different. At Pura Puseh Meranting, it is a permanent construction made of limestone, and the local population have referred to it for generations as 'Sanggar Tawang'. This Sanggar Tawang was built in the inner court (jeroan) of the temple and is a unique construction: it takes the form of a shrine with the relief of a human statue with legs wide apart (manusia kangkang), supporting a throne. It is made of limestone and at certain parts bricks have been inserted. Architecturally, the construction consists of three layers: the lower part (base), the body in the form of 'manusia kangkang', and the top in the form of a throne.

The base of this construction is a square. In the front there is a staircase with seven rungs in the direction of the body of the structure. A number of bricks at the base of the structure have been inserted at the side of the main body. This is an indication of the fact that this structure underwent a number of repairs. On the main body of the construction, there is a human statue 'manusia kangkang' in an upright position. It looks rather dauntless and sturdy. Its hands are held upwards and support the front of the throne, whilst the rear wall of the structure props the rear part of the throne.

The head of the statue is round and bald, it has round and bulging eyes, large ears, rather flat and large nose, thin small lips, broad neck, large shoulders, large and firm arms, with a smooth bracelet, and broad chest. On top of its left and right shoulder there are two statues of fowls, beaks resting on the palm of the relief's hands. The breasts are round, and so are the nipples. Looking at the form of the chest, this statue clearly depicts a man. From the waist to the upper parts of the knees (standing with legs wide apart) a hem is made, which gets increasingly smaller towards the upper parts in the form of a storied, square-formed place of worship 'punden benrundak'. In front of the left and right legs there is also a hem, which gets increasingly smaller towards the upper parts. Between the two feet, there is a staircase (that would be) leading towards the lower part of the belly. From the left and right, there are sturdy legs with smooth bracelets. At he rear of the foot of the statue there is a hem too, which gets increasingly smaller towards the upper part. At the left and right rear parts of the waist there are bird wings, and the head of this bird is protruding on the rear side of the statue. At the back of the head of the statue there is a space to store statues. The statues stored here belong to the megalithic tradition: the head of a water-buffalo, two upright human statues, the statue of a woman carrying her child and the statue of a woman sitting of the belly of a man. On top of the shoulders there is a throne with three lateral ornamental walls (sandaran). The 'square' rear wall consists of two semicircles with a small triangle on top. In each of both semicircles there is 'a crescent moon'. The 'sandaran' on both sides take the form of a square. [?].

batukandik folwsonarms

Image above: fowls (roosters?) resting on the arms of the Manusia Kangkang (image by Godi Dijkman, 2009)


The belief in the power of the spirits of the ancestors, which further gained importance during the time the megalithic traditions, was considered to hold magical power and was capable of thwarting evil forces and giving prosperity to the people. This belief has become the [phylosophical?] basis which underpins the construction of megalithic objects, such as dolmen, menhir, stone thrones, etc., the function of which has been identified as a means of worship for the souls of the ancestors or their leaders (Soejono, 1986:159-171; Soejono, et al., 1984:205-238).

'Tahta', according to 'Kamus Umum bahasa Indonesia by W.J.S. Poerwadarminta, means a seat or chair (for the king), a 'singgasana'. Various 'pelinggih' around Bali take the form of a chair (on top of it). This throne has undergone development: alterations and adaptations of its form according to its function. The oldest form of the throne is the stone throne. It consists of one or more upright stones constituting the rear supporting wall, one or more stones for the 'armrests' and one or more flat stones forming the basis without the 'armrests', which later on were given 'left and right armrests' [?]. (Sutaba, 1995). Besides this stone throne, many other forms are found, for example the 'jempana' made of wood, adorned with carvings repesenting divine symbols during temple festivities (piodalan); 'gayot' or 'joli' also used by the royal families to carry their princes(ses) on the shoulders during the 'akilbalik' (growing of age) ceremony; and the throne on top of the padmasana, most frequently seen in Balinese temples. Apart from this, there are other forms of 'carrying on the shoulders' (usungan), such as 'bade' and 'wadah' made of bamboo and wood adorned with the image of a Garuda, to carry the corpse of a deceased person to its grave during cremation ceremonies, which symbolically is considered the vessel of the spirit on its journey to the world hereafter (Goris & Dronkers, 1954: 127-130). On the thrones in Bali there is the image of Acintya as the symbol of the Almight God (Bagus, 1997:63). On the Sanggar Tawang, however, there are the symbols of two 'crescent moons', which bear no relationship to Acintya on the padmasana (Bagus, 1997:63).

The construction and form of the 'Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang at Pura Puseh Meranting are truly unique: a human statue 'manusia kangkang' supporting a throne (chair) with decisively sturdy and sacred (angker) features. The manusia kangkang motif, which emerged in prehistory during the developing stages of the megalithic traditions, is considered to represent magical strength (Hoop, 1949: 13-29). In prehistory, Indonesian art tended to be symbolic rather than aesthetic. Consequently, it sprouted an impression of forceful inner spiritual or great magical strength.

The 'manusia kangkang' (a human standing with legs wide apart) is often found on menhirs in Sumba, grave stone reliefs in Basuki, the 'Waruga' graves of Minahasa (North Sulawesi). In many other places the 'manusia kangkang' motif is often connected with the ability to ward off danger (Soejono, 1977:139). Besides the 'Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang at Pura Puseh Meranting in Nusa penida, in Bali, too, there are reliefs of 'manusia kangkang' such as the Gaya Bunutin Sarcophagus (Soejono, 1977), a relief on a stone at Pura Peguneman, in Blimbing, Tabanan Regency, which is thought to have magical force to thwart danger and to bring fertility for the plants in the rice paddies and agricultural lands (Gede, 1966:4).

The form of the statues of the megalithic traditions has always been connected to the shape or realisation of the deceased ancestors, whose souls are forever worshipped. The symbol of the ancestors, either in the form of a statue or a facial mask, is considered to bring prosperity to the people or their offspring. As is known, a certain part of the human body is thought to have great magical power, which may be able to help overcome all sorts of hindrances faced by man (Hoop, 1949:13-92).

In Bali, the prehistoric image of 'manusia kangkang' has to date been used by shamans (dukun) to ward off sickness, often referred to as the sickness caused by evil spirits (gering babai). Manusia kangkang is painted on a banana leaf or an 'Andong' leaf (Cordilyne fruticosa bakcker [Baker?]), and after mantras have been pronounced, this leaf is then attached in the four corners of a house courtyard. Besides this, the manusia kangkang motif is often drawn on a leaf using lime [for chewing with betel leaves: 'kapur sirih'] by skilled craftsmen (undagi) and attached above the entrance door. Usually, mantras are pronounced when drawing these images. The function of these images is to ward off all forms of magical force, the object of which seems to be to create havoc. Apart from this, the drawings are also thought to bring peace to the inhabitants of the house (Ginarsa, 1984: 31-35).

Besides the statue of the 'manusia kangkang' on the Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang at Pura Puseh Meranting, there are also four smaller statues from the Megalithic tradition tucked away in this monument in the space underneath the throne: a statuette depicting a coitus and a statuette of a woman carrying a small child. These two statues bare magical strength as they represent symbols of fertility. Apart from the human statues from the megalithic tradition, there are also small statues of a water buffalo's head with spread-out horns. The buffalo played an important role in prehistory: it was used as an attribute during ceremonies, and the buffalo was also used in agriculture. In Bali, the buffalo's horns have been used as a post holding up a ridgepole of a bale as found at Bale Agung in the village of Manikliu [Manik Liyu, east of Lake Beratan], Bale Agung in the village of Belok [also east of Lake Beratan?], and at Bale Agung Pura Penataran Bukian [Bukian at Pelaga, east of Lake Berata?]. In regions like Sumba, Sumbawa and Tanah Toraja, buffalo horns were used as status symbols: the more buffalo horns at display in front of the 'rumah adat', the higher the social status of its owner.

On the 'manusia kangkang' horizontal upper arms there are statues of folws, whose heads lay in the left and right hand of the statue. In prehistoric times, the fowl played an important role in death rituals, a symbol representing the release of the soul. To date in Bali, during cremations (ngaben), a fowl is released at the graveyard at the moment the container (wadah, bade), representing the 'usungan' of the corpse enters the gravesite. On the top of the rear wall of the Sanggar Tawang there is a head of a bird whose wings are seen on the left and right side of the structure. Below the bird's head, however, a human body is etched, so that the bird's head seems to become its (human) head. The etchings of the bird's head do not blend in well with the human body, and it would seem that the etchings were made afterwards. Apart from the rooster, this bird has also been connected with the ceremony of the release of the soul during death rituals. The image of a bird has often been drawn on kettledrums, especially on [or near] the striking area, as is the case with the kettledrums of Selayar, Sangeang (Sumbawa), and those of Pulau Roti (Soejono, 1984:249).

Ceremonial rituals

Ceremonies performed at Pura Puseh Meranting are called 'Nyegehin', i.e. a ceremonial ritual where rice grains are offered to the gods, beseeching them for an abundant harvest. Afterwards, the Mecaru ceremony follows, i.e. the ceremony to ward off danger [?] by sprinkling holy water (tirta) in the area up to the boundary of the next village. If there is no rainfall during the fifth month (sasih kelima), i.e. October - November, a ceremony is performed to ask for rain. Then, after the harvest, the 'piodalan' ceremony follows, also referred to as 'maturang'. During this ceremony of 'ngaturang' harvested products like rice or other plants (palawija) are offered as a token of gratitude for the abundant harvest. All these ceremonies are held near the 'Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang'.


Many archaeological remains, both structures and artefacts, are strongly related to human activities serving to fulfill spiritual and material needs. For the fulfillment of the spiritual needs, a tradition emerged which was connected to a religious belief system, especially based on the belief in the ancestors who live in the realm of the spirits, and on the relationship between man and magical forces, the force of nature. The ceremonies pertaining to man's life cycle such as agriculture played a significant role in prehistoric times. Life in this prehistoric tradition was strongly related to this religious system, maintained during the Age of Skilled Craftsmanship (perundagian) and the megalithic tradition.

The Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang at Pura Meranting belongs to a prehistoric tradition in its advanced stage. This can been observed from the form of the structure: a 'pelinggih' with the relief of a 'manusia kangkang' with round bulging eyes, large ears, large and flat, all megalithic features. The throne or chair supported by the 'manusia kangkang' is clearly made of stone, which developed during the megalithic era. At the relief's waist, hems (pelipit) are observed, which make up a storied structure, a symbol of a mountain, the place of the souls with the world of ideas (alam pikiran) as its background, which developed from ancestor worship. As is known, ancestor worship is a very prominent phenomenon during the development of the megalithic tradition (Sutaba, 1980:108).

Examining the way the ceremonies described above are performed, all of them are related to agriculture, like offering rice grains/seeds (nyegehin), the ceremony to ward off danger called 'mecaru', the ceremony to beseech rainfall if during the months of October - November there has been none, followed by the 'piodalan' also called 'ngaturin', performed as a token of gratitude after an abundant harvest. This Sanggar Tawang does not show any elements of a padmasana. As we all know, the padmasana is a construction furnished with elements of Acintya on the rear 'sandaran' of the seat/chair and the 'padma' (lotus), and 'bedawang' (turtle of turtoise on whith the eart rests) (Proyek Penyuluhan Agama dan Penerbitan Buku Agama, 1986/1987:83-84).

Bibliography (Suastika)

  • Ardana, I Gusti Gede - Kebudayaan Austronesia Sebagai Dasar Kebudayaan Indonesia, Suatu Analisis Arkeologi, in: 'Dinamika Kebudayaan Bali', Eds. Dr. I Wayan Ardika, Dr. I Made Sutaba, Upada Sastra, 1997, p.43-56
  • Bagus, A.A. Gde - Bangunan Padma Berelief Manusia Kangkang Di Pura Meranting, Nusa Penida; in: 'Forum Arkeologi', 1997, p.60-71
  • Gede, I Dewa Kompiang - Relief Prasejarah Desa Belimbing, Pupuan, Tabanan, in: 'Forum Arkeologi', no.1/1998, Balai Arkeologi Denpasar, 1996, p.1-4
  • Ginarsa, Ketut - Gambar Lambang, CV Kayumas, Denpasar 1984
  • Goris, R. & P.L. Dronkers - Bali. Cult and Customs, diterbitkan oleh Pemerintah Republik Indonesia, Jakarta, 1954
  • Goris, R - The Temple System, in: 'Bali. Studies in Life, Thought, and Ritual', (Eds. Wertheim), Vol. V.W. van Hoeve, The Hague at Bandung, 1960, p.101-111
  • Heekeren, H.R. van - The Bronze Iron Age of Indonesia, VKI, XXI, Den Haag, 1958
  • Hoop, A.N.J.Th. van der - Ragam-ragam Perhiasan Indonesia, Uitgegeven door het Koninklijk Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen; 1949
  • Soejono, R.P. - Preliminary Notes on New Finds of Lower Palaeolithic Implements From Indonesia, in 'Asia Perspectives', Vol.2, 1962, p.217-232
  • Soejono, R.P. - Sistim-Sistim Penguburan Akhir Masa Prasejarah di Bali, Disertasi, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta 1977
  • Soejono, R.P. - Jaman Prasejarah di Indonesia, in: 'Sejarah Nasional Indonesia', I, Edisi 4 Eds. Marwati Djoened Poesponogoro, Nugroho Notosusanto, Dep. P&K, Bali Pustaka, 1984
  • Soejono, R.P. - Kepribadian Budaya Bangsa, in: 'Kepribadian Budaya Bangsa (Lokal Genius), disunting oleh Ayatrohaedi, Pustaka Jaya, 1986, p.18-25
  • Suastika, I Made - Hubungan Bali dengan Asia Tenggara Pada Masa Bercocok Tanam (Suatu Telaah Artefaktual), in: 'Dinamika Kebudayaan Bali', Eds. Dr. I Wayan Ardika, Dr. I Made Sutaba, Upada Sastra, 1997, p.29-42
  • Suastika, I Made - Arca Megalitik di Desa Tejakula, Buleleng, in: 'Forum Arkeologi', Balai Arkeologi Denpasar, 1997, p.18-28
  • Sutaba, I Made - Dua Buah Arca Primitif dari Desa Depeha, Kutambahan. Sebuah Pengumuman, in: 'Pertemuan Ilmiah Arkeologi II', Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, 1980, p.103-117
  • Sutaba, I Made - Prehistoric Stone Seat in Contemporary Life in Bali; The 14th Congress of IPPA, Yogyakarta, 25 August - 2 September, Inpress 1990
  • Sutaba, I Made - Tahta Batu Prasejarah di Bali, Telaah Tentang Bentuk dan Fungsi, Yogyakarta, Universitas Gajah Mada, 1995


  • Echols, John M et al. - An English- Indonesian Dictionary, Jakarta 1993
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  • Shadeg, Norbert - Balinese-English Dictionary, Tuttle Publishing, Singapore, 2007


  • Suastika, I Made - Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang di Pura Puseh Meranting, Nusa Penida; in: Forum Arkeologi, no.1, July 2001, p.46-57

Step pyramids

'Bernet Kempers calls the terraced monuments which still exists in the mountain area as well as in Nusa Penida "ageless survivals from a prehistoric past (1991:15-16)". The step pyramids at Sanur represent an architectural style documented for 'old Balinese' villages. Practically nothing is known about their specific meaning. (p.123) Active state temples are frequently called Pura Penataran (as is the case in Peed, Nusa Penda, today). 'Dalem' always refers to something past, no longer active, most often in connection with a ruling dynasty, which has disappeared.' (p.93)


  • Hauser-Schäublin, Brigitta - Traces of Gods and Men – Temples and Rituals as Landmarks of Social Events and Processes in South Bali Village, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1997


Teks asli Bahasa Indonesia

Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang di Pura Puseh Meranting, Nusa Penida (I Made Suastika, 2001)

I. Pendahuluan - 1.1 Latar Belakang

(p.46) Bali, yang dikenal sebagai pulau budaya yang sudah dikenal sampai ke manca negara meliputi pulau-pulau kecil di wilayahnya seperti Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan. Di balik pesona dan kenikmatan budaya itu sesungguhnya ada yang perlu diketahui mengenai perkembangan budaya Bali, hingga menjadi kebudayaan seperti sekarang ini.

Bedasarkan temuan arkeologi, Pulau Bali mungkin telah dihuni oleh manusia sejak ratusan ribu tahun yang lalu. Benda arkeologis yang dimaksud adalah temuan sejumlah alat-alat batu di desa Sembiran dan Trunyan yang diduga berasal dari masa paleolitik (Soejono, 1962). Kehidupan manusia tampaknya berlangsung terus di Bali yang ditandai oleh adanya temuan alat serpih bilah dan muduk point di Gua Selonding di daerah Pecatu, Badung Selatan. Bukti-bukti kehidupan manusia semakin jelas tampak di Bali sekitar 5000 tahun yang lalu, yaitu dengan adanya temuan beliung persegi yang juga dikenal dengan budaya neolitik (Suastika, 1997: 29; Ardana, 1997:43). Kemajuan ini dicapai pada masa bercokok tanam, merupakan suatu usaha yang besar artinya dalam pola kehidupan mereka, karena pada masa tersebut telah berhasil mencapai suatu tingkat kemajuan tekonologi pembuatan alat-alat batu yang digosok hingga halus, dan kadang-kadang sampai mengkilap. Mereka sudah meninggalkan pola hidup mengembara, lalu hidup menetap dalam perkampungan-perkamungan kecil.

Seluruh anggota keluarga, termasuk anak-anak dianggap sebagai tenaga yang produktif. Binatang peliharan seperti anjing, babi, dan ayam dikembangbiakkan untuk keperluan makanan, dan untuk keperluan upacara-upacara tertentu. Waktu senggang dalam menunggu masa panen, dimanfaatkan untuk kegiatan-kegiatan rumah tangga sebegai pekerjaan sambilan, misalnya membuat barang-barang seperti gerabah, anyaman, membuat kain, dan sebagainya. Penggunaan perahu bercadik merupakan salah satu faktor yang telah meningkatkan intensitas hubungan (p.47) di antara penutur bahasa Austronesia, khususnya di kawasan Asia Tenggara menjelang awal abad Masehi. Hal ini terlihat dengan munculnya kebudayaan logam (perunggu dan besi) di Bali yang diduga berasal dari daerah Dongson, Vietnam.

Hubungan Bali dengan India dapat dikatakan sebagai stimulan yang telah mengantarkan daerah Bali memasuki Zaman Sejarah. Berdasarkan berbagai temuan arkeologis, berupa sumber tertulis dan seni arca Bali dapat dikatakan memasuki Zaman Sejarah pada akhir abad 8 atau awal abad 9 masehi. Kendatipun budaya India yang besumber pada Agama Hindu dan Buddha telah mempengaruhi Bali, namun unsur-unsur budaya lokal masih tetap tampak dalam kebudayaan Bali. Hal ini tercermin dalam sistem social masyarakat Bali. Motif hias manusia sederhana yang diduga berasal dari tradisi pra-Hindu masih sangat dominan dalam upacara keagamaan masyarakat Bali masa lalu dan berlanjut sampai sekarang. Arca tradisi megalitik yang ditemukan di sejumlah pura di Bali yang dianggap keramat dan digunakan sebagai media pemujaan (Suastika, 1997:21).

1.2 Permasalahan

Di Pura Meranting, Nusa Penida, telah ditemukan 7 buah arca dari masa tradisi megalitik, yang terdiri dari empat buah arca manusia, sebuah arca kepala kerbau, dua buah arca ayam dan sebuah pelinggih manusia kangkang memegang kursi yang disebut Sanggar Tawang oleh penduduk setempat. Claire Holt dalam artikelnya "Bandit Island a Short Exploration Trip to Noesa Penida" yang dimuat dalam Tijdschrift van het Java Instituut (1933, halaman: 19), melaporkan tentang adanya peninggalan megalitik di Pura Meranting, Batu Kandik. Pada tahun 1996 Bali Arkeologi Denpasar mengadakan penelitian di beberapa pura di Nusa Penida. A.A. Gde Bagus menulis artikel yang berjudul "Bangunan Padma Berelief Manusia Kangkang Di Pura Meranting, Nusa Penida" terbit dalam Seri Penerbitan Forum Arkeologi (1997, halaman: 60-71). Dalam hal ini perlu dilakukan telaah lebih mendalam terhadap bangunan pelinggih pesanggaran tersebut, melaui pengamatan bentuk dan fungsi agar dapat terjawab permasalahan yang muncul apakah bangunan ini padmasana ataukah bangunan tradisi megalitik yang berlanjut.

1.3 Metode

Dalam pengumpulan data dilakukan studi kepustakaan melalui sumber-sumber pustaka, yang dapat memberi input ganda, yaitu di satu pihak untuk memperdalam dan memperluas wawasan mengenai masalah obyek yang diteliti. Untuk mendapatkan pengamatan secara cermat di lapangan disertai dengan pendokumentasian melalui deskripsi, pengukuran, penggambaran dan pemotretan. Hal ini sangat penting, karena dapat membantu pengamatan mengenai bentuk, (p.48) bahan, pola hias, dan teknik pengerjaannya. Dalam pengelolahan data dilakukan analisis data yang meliputi analisis kualitatif dan analisis komperatif. Analisis kualitatif dapat menghasilkan data deskriptif mengenai ciri-ciri umum dan corak lokal dan informasi mengenai perilaku yang dapat diamati. Sedangkan analisis komperatif akan menghasilkan faktor-faktor yang pada gilirannya dapat disusun menjadi suatu konstruksi historis. Di samping itu dipakai juga analisis kontekstual dalam pendekatan fungsinya.

II. Pelinggih Sanggar Tawang - 2.1 Lokasi

Sanggar Tawang ini dibangun di halaman utama (jeroan) Pura Meranting, Desa Batu Kandik, Kecamatan Nusa Penida, Kabupaten Klungkung. Kecamatan Nusa Penida ini berada di pulau yang terletak di sebelah selatan Pulau Bali yang merupakan pulau yang terbesar dari pulau-pulau yang ada di wilayah Bali. Untuk mencapai situs tersebut dapat ditempuh dari Denpasar menuju Pantai Sanur dengan waktu kira-kira 2 jam pelayaran dengan perahu bermotor sampai di pelabuhan Toya Pakeh, dan dari Toya Pakeh dapat ditempuh dengan waktu sekitar 1½ jam dengan memekai segala jenis kendaraan pada 8° 42' 7" BT. dan 8° 45' 7" LS. dengan ketinggian sekitar 285 meter dari permukaan air laut (peta 1). Secara geomorfologis Desa Batu Kandik berada di lereng sebelah selatan Bukit Munda dengan garis kontur berkisar 2,5 meter per garis kontur (trans), yang terbentuk dari batuan kapur dengan lapisan humus yang sangat tipis. Sungai-sungai, tidak ada yang berair, kecuali pada musim hujan. Untuk mendapatkan air minum bagi masyarakat dibuat cubang di bawah tanah untuk penyimpanan air hujan sepanjang tahun terutama pada musim kemarau.

2.2. Bentuk Banguan

Sanggar Tawang adalah sebuah bangunan pelinggih sebagai sarana pemujaan. Di Bali Sanggar Tawang sering disebut Sanggar Agung. Pada umunya Sanggar Tawang atau Sanggar Agung adalah bangunan suci yang bersifat sementara dan terbuat dari bambu untuk memuja Dewa Surya (Goris 1960:104-105; Sutaba, 1995). Namun berbeda halnya dengan bangunan pelinggih di Pura Puseh Meranting ini dibangun secara permanen dari bahan batu kapur yang oleh masyarakat setempat disebut Sanggar Tawang secara tutun-menurun. Sanggar Tawang ini dibangun di halaman utama (jeroan) Pura. Bangunan Sanggar Tawang di Pura Meranting, Batu Kandik ini merupakan bangunan yang sangat unik, yaitu berupa pelinggih berbentuk manusia kangkang menyanggah tahta (gambar 1). Bangunan ini terbuat dari batuan batu kapur dan di bagian tertentu diselipkan bahan dari batu bata. Dilihat dari segi arsitektur bangunan ini terdiri (p.49) atas tiga bagian, yaitu bagian kaki, bagian badan berbetauk manusia kangkang, dan bagian puncak berbentuk tahta.

Bagian kaki bangunan berbentuk segi-empat. Di bagian depan terdapat tangga naik, dengan tujuh anak tangga menuju bagian badan bangunan. Di bagian kaki bangunan inilah terdapat beberapa batu bata yang terselip di samping bahan utamanya berupa batu kapur. Hal ini menunjukkan, bahwa bangunan ini telah mendapatkan perbaikan yang berkali-kali. Di bagian badan bangunan ini terdapat sebuah arca manusia kangkang dalam sikap berdiri, yang terlihat sangat gagah dan tegap, dengan tangan diangkat ke atas sambil memegang bagian depan tahta yang dijunjunginya. Dinding tembok belakang bangunan ini langsung sebagai penyanggah bagian belakang tahta.

Kepala arca berbentuk bulat telur dengan kepala gundul, mata bulat melotot, telinga besar, hidung besar agak pesek, bibir kecil tipis, leher besar, bahu besar lengan besar dan kokoh, memakai gelang polos, dan dada lebar. Di atas bahu kiri dan kanan terdapat arca ayam yang mulutnya berada di telepak tangan. Buah dada di toreh berbentuk lingkaran, dan demikian juga puting susunya di torek berbentuk lingkaran kecil. Memperhatikan bentuk buah dadahnya, arca ini jelas menggambarkan seorang laki-laki. Dari bagian pinggang sampai di atas lutut (dalam sikap kaki tertekuk mengangkang) dibuat pelepit yang makin ke atas makin mengecil menyerupai punden berundak. Di depan kaki kiri dan kanan dibuat pelipit* yang bentuknya makin mengecil ke atas. Di antara kedua kaki dibuat tangga seolah-olah menuju bagian bawah perut. Dilihat dari samping kiri dan kanan, terlihat kaki arca yang kokoh dengan hiasan gelang polos (Gambar 1). Di belakang kaki arca dibuat pelipit yang makin mengecil ke atas. Di bagian belakang kiri dan kanan pinggang arca terdapat sayap burung yang kepalanya ke luar di belakang bangunan. Di belakang kepala arca terdapat ruang tempat menyimpan arca. Arca-arca yang disimpan adalah arca tradisi megalitik, berupa arca kepala kerbau, due buah arca manusia berdiri, subuah arca wanita membawa anak dan sebuah arca wanita duduk di atas perut laki-laki. Di bagian pundak berbentuk tahta atau tempat duduk dengan tiga sandaran yaitu sandaran belakang berbentuk segi-empat [?] dengan puncak membentuk dua buah setengah lingkaran yang di tengah-tengahnya terdapat bentuk segitiga. Di kedua bentuk setengah lingkaran tersebut masing-masing terdapat bentuk bulan sabit. Sandaran samping (kanan, kiri) berbentuk segiempat.

2.3. Makna Bangunan

Kepercayaan kepada kekuasaan arwah leluhur, pada waktu tradisi megalitik berkembang dianggap mempunyai kekuatan gaib dan dapat menolak kekuatan jahat, serta memberikan kesejahteraan kepada masyarakat. Kepercayaan ini telah menjadi landasan utama yang mendorong pembangunan bermacam-macam bentuk megalitik seperti dolmen, menhir, tahta batu, dan lain-lainnya (p.50), yang berfungsi sebagai media pemujaan arwah leluhur atau pemimpin (Soejono, 1986:159-171; Soejono, et al., 1984:205-238)

Tahta dalam Kamus Umum bahasa Indonesia susunan W.J.S. Poerwadarminta, berarti tempat duduk atau kursi (tempat duduk raja), singgasana. Beberapa bentuk pelinggih di daerah Bali memakai bentuk kursi di atasnya. Tahta tersebut telah mengalami perkembangan bentuk yang disertai pula oleh perkembangan, perubahan, dan penyesuaian dalam fungsinya. Bentuk tahta yang paling tua adalah tahta batu, yang terdiri atas sebuah batu atau lebih batu berdiri sebagai sandaran belakang dan sebuah atau lebih batu sebagai sandaran tangan dan sebuah batu atau lebih batu rebah sebagai alas tanpa sandaran tangan, kemudian berkembang dengan diisi sandaran tangan kiri dan kanan (Sutaba, 1995). Di samping tahta batu tersebut di atas juga terdapat berbagai macam bentuk tahta, di antaranya jempana, dibuat dari kayu, dihiasi dengan ukir-ukiran, digunakan untuk memikul lambang dewa-dewa pada waktu piodalan di sebuah pura, tahta yang disebut gayot atau joli digunakan juga oleh keluarga raja-raja untuk mengusung putra-putrinya pada waktu upacara akilbalik, dan tahta pada puncak bangunan padmasana yang tersebar di pura-pura di Bali. Di samping itu ada pula usungan lainnya, ialah bade dan wadah yang dibuat dari bambu dan kayu diberi hiasan burung garuda, untuk membawa mayat ke kuburan dalam rangka upacara pembakaran mayat, yang secara simbol dianggap wahana roh menuju dunia baka (Goris and Dronkers, 1954: 127-130). Bila diperhatikan tahta di padmasana di Bali berisi acintya sebagai simbol Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (Bagus, 1997:63). Namun pada tahta sanggar tawang, Puseh Meranting berisi simbol dua buah bulan sabit yang tidak ada kaitannya dengan simbol acintya pada padmasana (Bagus, 1997:63).

Memperhatikan segi bangun bentuk pelinggih sanggar tawang di Pura Puseh Meranting ini ternyata unik, yaitu sebuah arca manusia kangkang menjunjung tahta (kursi) yang menunjukkan bentuk yang sangat gagah dan angker. Motif manusia kangkang yang muncul pada masa prasejarah, yaitu pada masa berkembangnya tradisi megalitik, yang dianggap mempunyai kekuatan magis (Hoop, 1949: 13-29). Pada masa prasejarah kesenian Indonesia cencerung bersifat lambang atau simbol daripada keindahan bentuk, sehingga memancarkan kesan kekuatan batin dan kerohanian yang kuat atau kekuatan magis yang besar.

Pahatan manusia dalam sikap kangkang sering ditemukan pada menhir (penji) di Sumba, pahatan kubur batu di Basuki, kubur waruga di Minahasa, dan di beberapa tempat lainnya Motif manusia kangkang tersebut sering dikaitkan dengan kekuatan penolak bahaya (Soejono, 1977:139). Selain di pelinggih sanggar tawang di Pura Puseh Meranting Nusa penida ini, di Bali juga ditemukan pahatan manusia kangkang seperti pada (p.51) sarkofagus gaya Bunutin (Soejono, 1977), pahatan di atas batu di Pura Peguneman, Desa Blimbing, Tabanan yang dianggap mempunyai kekuatan magis untuk penolak bahaya dan mendatangkan kesuburan tanaman di sawah dan di ladang (Gede, 1966:4).

Bentuk arca tradisi megalitik selalu dikaitkan dengan perwujudan nenek moyang yang telah meninggal dunia yang arwahnya selalu dipuja. Lambang nenek moyang, baik dalam bentuk arca maupun kedok muka dianggap dapat memberikan kesejahteraan bagi masyarakat atau keturunannya. Seperti diketahui, bagian tubuh dari tubuh manusia dianggap mempunyai kekuatan magis yang besar yang dapat menolak segala rintangan yang dihadapinya (Hoop, 1949:13-92).

Di Bali gambar manusia kangkang bercorak prasejarah sampai saat ini sering dipergunakan oleh para dukun untuk menolak penyakit yang sering disebut gering babai. Manusia kangkang itu digambarkan di atas daun pisang atau daun andong (latin: cordilyne fruticosa bakcker), dan setelah diberi mantra-mantra daun tersebut kemudian dipancangkan di empat sudut pekarangan rumah. Di samping itu motif manusia kangkang sering digambarkan oleh para undagi, dipasang di atas daun pintu masuk rumah yang dilukiskan dengan kapur sirih. Untuk melukis gambar tersebut biasannya diantarkan dengan mantra-mantra. Fungsi gambar tersebut adalah untuk menolak segala ilmu gaib yang tujuannya merusak. Selain itu juga dianggap akan memberikan ketenganan kepada penghuni rumah yang tinggal di dalamnya (Ginarsa, 1984: 31-35).

Di samping arca manusia kangkang pada pelinggih sanggar tawang di Pura Puseh Meranting sersebut di atas, juga disimpan empat buah arca tradisi megalitik, yang diletakkan pada ruang di bawah tahta, diantarannya ada sebuah arca yang menunjukkan sikap bersenggama, dan arca seorang wanita membawa anak kecil. Kedua jenis arca tersebut di atas mempunyai kekuatan magis sebagai simbol kesuburan. Selain arca tradisi megalitik berbentuk manusia juga disimpan arca kepala kerbau dengan tanduk yang kekar. Kerbau memegang peran penting pada masa prasejarah, di samping sebagai kelengkapan upacara, kerbau juga memegang peranan dalam membantu di bidang pertanian. Di Bali bentuk tanduk kerbau sampai saat ini dipakai perhiasan tugeh seperti yang ditemukan di Bale Agung Desa Manikliu, Bale Agung Desa Belok, dan di Bale Agung Pura Penataran Bukian. Di beberapa dearah seperti di Sumba, Sumbawa, Tanah Toraja, tanduk kerbau dipakai sbagai simbol status social. Makin banyak tanduk kerbau dipajang di depan rumah adat semakin tinggi status sosial pemilik rumah tersebut.

Di atas kedua bahu arca manusia kangkang terdapat arca ayam yang masing-masing kepalanya terletak pada tangan kiri dan kanan arca. Pada masa prasejarah, ayam mempunyai peranan penting terutama berkaitan dengan upacara kematian, yaitu sebagai simbol (p.52) pelapasan roh. Sampai saat sekarang di Bali dalam upacara pembakaran mayat yang disebut ngaben, ayam dilepas di kuburan pada saat wadah atau bade sebagai usungan mayat baru tiba di kuburan. Pada dinding belakang bagian atas badan bangunan Sanggar Tawang tersebut terdapat kepala burung yang sayapnya terlihat pada bagian kiri dan kanan bangunan. Namun di bawah kepala burung digoreskan badan manusia, sehingga kepala burung tersebut langsung menjadi kepalanya. Bila diperhatikan goresan badan manusia ini kurang menyatu dengan kepala burung tersebut, tampaknya goresan tersebut dibuat belakangan. Di samping ayam, burung juga dikaitkan dengan upacara pelepasan roh pada saat upacara kematian. Burung sering digambarkan pada nekara terutama ditempatkan pada bidang pukulnya, seperti terlihat pada bidang pukul nekara di Selayar, di Sangeang (Sumbawa), dan nekara di Pulau Roti (Soejono, 1984:249).

2.4. Upacara

Upacara yang dilakukan di Pura Puseh Meranting ini adalah upacara yang disebut Nyegehin, yaitu upacara menhaturkan benih padi, untuk memohon agar supaya benih padi yang ditanam mendapatkan hasil yang berlimpah. Kemudian dilakukan upacara yang disebut mecaru yaitu upacara penolak ba[ha]ya dengan memercikkan tirta di wilayah desa sampai ke batas desa. Apabila sampai sasih kelima atau sekitar bulan Oktober - November belum jatuh hujan, maka dilakukan upacara mohon hujan. Kemudian setelah habis panen dilakukan upacara piodalan yang disebut upacara maturang. Dalam upacara ngaturang tersebut dilakukan persembahan hasil panen seperti padi, palawija, sebagai ucapan terimakasih, karena telah mendapatkan hasil yang berlimpah. Seluruh rangkaian upacara tersebut dipusatkan pada pelinggih sanggar tawang.

III. Kesimpulan

Banyak peninggalan arkeologi, baik yang berupa bangunan, maupun artefak lainnya yang berkaitan erat dengan aktivitas manusia untuk memenuhi kebutuhan-kebutuhan rohani dan kebutuhan jasmani. Dalam memenuhi kebutuhan rohani, timbul suatu tradisi yang berkaitan dengan suatu sistem religi atau sistem kepercayaan, terutama berpangkal pada kepercayaan terhadap arwah nenek moyang yang harus hidup di dunia arwah, dan adanya hubungan antara manusia dengan kekuatan-kekuatan alam serta kekuatan-kekuatan gaib. Rangkaian upacara yang berkaitan dengan siklus hidup manusia, kegiatan di bidang pertanian, merupakan hal yang penting pada tradisi prasejarah. Kehidupan tradisi prasejarah yang berkaitan dengan suatu sistem religi seperti kepercayaan tersebut di atas, yang berkelanjutan masih dapat ditemukan terutama pada tradisi masa perundagian dan tradisi megalitik.

Memperhatikan bangunan pelinggih (p.53) sanggar tawang di Pura Meranting ini, merupakan tradisi prasejarah yang berlanjut. Hal ini dapat dilihat dari bentuk bangunan berupa pelinggih motif arca manusia kangkang yang memperlihatkan mata bulat besar dan melolot, telinga besar, hidung besar dan pesek, yang memperlihatkan ciri-ciri arca tradisi megalitik. Tahta atau kursi yang disangga oleh manusia kangkang jelas memperlihatkan tahta batu yang berkembang pada masa megalitik. Dari bagian pinggang manusia kangkang terdapat pelipit yang meryerupai bangunan berundak yang merupakan simbol dari gunung, sebagai tempat roh yang mempunyai latarbelakang alam pikiran yang berpangkal pada pemujaan arwah nenek moyang. Seperti diketahui, pemujaan terhadap nenek moyang adalah unsur yang sangat menonjol pada masa bekembangnya tradisi megalitik (Sutaba, 1980:108).

Memperhatikan pelaksanaan upacara seperti tersebut di atas, semuanya berkaitan dengan masalah pertanian, seperti upacara menghaturkan benih yang disebut nyegehin, upacara penolak bahaya yang disebut mecaru, upacara mohon hujan yang dilakukan apabila sampai bulan Oktober - November hujan belum turun dan terakhir upacara piodalan yang disebut upacara ngaturin, dilakukan sebagai ucapara terimakasih karena telah mendapat hasil yang berlimpah. Dalam bangunan sanggar rawang ini sama sekali tidak terdapat unsur padmasana. Seperti kita ketahui bangunan padmasana merupakan bangunan yang dilengkapi dengan unsur-unsur acintya pada sandaran belakang kursi. unsur padma, unsur bedawang (Proyek Penyuluhan Agama dan Penerbitan Buku Agama, 1986/1987:83-84).

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