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About this photograph

Creator
Margery H. Freeman
Date created
1986
Location
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
License
This photograph copyright ©2007. Terms of use

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Bull figure in which corpse is stored burns at Brahman cremation

Size: 1024×686

The hollow bull statue that encases the corpse and funerary offerings is burned as the final event of this 1986 funeral for a member of the Brahman caste.

Flames rise above the black bull figure and the decorated funerary platform. This is the moment when Balinese believe that the soul of the deceased is released from the body so that it is free to be reborn.

Traditionally only Brahman caste individuals should be burned inside bull shaped figures, but in recent years the rules applying to ancestral caste divisions increasingly have been ignored as new wealth is gained by some former common people.