Your Ultimate Bali Guide

The Meaning of The Balinese Black and White Squared Cloth

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Photo credits: Flickr - sbamueller

When you wander around Bali island, you would inevitably bump into the unique black and white squared cloth which is always identical with the island. The appealing yet intriguing black and white squares cloth can be seen bandaging on trees’ trunk, statues or gates.

The black and white cloth is called Saput Poleng by the Balinese people. It is a no surprise that Saput Poleng-cloth can be found at almost every corner on the island, such as in the front of someone’s house, at temples, or even on the side of roads.

Jero Mangku Widya, a young spiritual leader from Denpasar explained the black and white colours on the cloth are actually part of Rwa Bhineda symbol. What’s Rwa Bhineda? It is the differences that set the balance of the universe. Similarly like the Tiongkok people who have Yin and Yang, the sign which signifies the ‘black’ and ‘white’ side of the world, according to what Jero Mangku Paksi told to

“Rwa Bhineda is basically a manifestation of the universe’s balance, there is always the right and wrong side, clean and dirty. Balance is the point after all” said Jero Mangku.

So, if you see the cloth is pinned onto something, it does have a meaning. For instance, the cloth is pinned onto a tree or statue, all is because the cloth is regarded as a home of the energy that authorises power to keep the area’s “black and white”.

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