This black textile called sudamala is from Nusa Penida, a small island off the east coast of Bali. The sudamala is made for the Balinese life cycle ceremony called otonan which is an occasion to cleanse the body of any negative influence. In Bali, each child is born with four siblings sibling spirirts: umbilical cord, the water that surrounds the child in the placenta, the white vernix caseosa covering that protects the unborn child’s skin from the constant exposure to amniotic fluid in the womb, and the placenta itself. After birth all of these “siblings” lose their physical form except the placenta, which is hurriedly buried in the family compound and covered with a stone that is routinely bathed and offered food at the same time as the child is washed and fed. These sibling spirits remain with the child throughout life and it is to them that prayers are said and offerings are made with each otonan birthday of the physical child.
A Balinese will celebrate their oton every 210 days to continue to ensure protection from these sibling spirits. Sometimes when people experience continuous difficulty in life, Balinese will seek out a shaman or channeler to better understand what has gone out of balance.
Information about the makers will be supplied with each cloth.
Weft ikat, single panel, rolled and sewn edge, commercial cotton, natural dyes. Made in Nusa Penida, Bali, 2021.
191 x 90 cm / 75 x 35.5 in