Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal
Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal
Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal
Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal
Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal
Sacred And The Profane

Goddess Rangda - Exceptional Balinese Carving on Marble Pedistal

Regular price $250.00 $0.00 Unit price per
This price is for standard USPS rates to the US. For Priority or Express rates to US, or for international rates, please inquire here and we will get back to you with exact charges asap.

Item details

Vintage from before 2000

Greetings, Goddess - folk. Here is an exceptional hardwood carving of Rangda, the demon queen of the leyaks in Bali. Mounted on a heavy marble plinth.

Follows is a distillation from 'Goddesses and Demons: Some Thoughts', by Johanna Stuckey.... suggest all to read it in it's entirety.

There is no ignoring Rangda. Her appearance is shocking, terrifying. Her huge eyes protrude, her large breasts are pendulous, and her long red tongue hangs down her body almost to her knees. She has a mouth full of big teeth and curving fangs, her fingernails are extended to pointed claws, and her unkempt mop of gray hair hangs down her back. According to her reputation, she likes to eat children, cause disease and pestilence, and is the leader of a horde of witches. Today she is identified as an evil and vicious demon queen, but perhaps originally she was a goddess.

In Bali, Rangda is featured in the widely known Barong Dance and is explicitly associated with the Hindu goddess Durga, who is presented as the personification of evil. In another explanation, she was once an eleventh-century queen, exiled after using witchcraft against her husband's second wife. Becoming Rangda, she exacted revenge by causing a plague that killed half the inhabitants of the realm. Whatever her origin, Rangda is an independent and autonomous female who makes one think about the demonization of earlier deities by later cultures. Rangda is associated with the sea, which most Balinese fear . Perhaps the demon Rangda resulted from a Balinese Hindu reworking of an aboriginal sea goddess, as did a few other popular Balinese figures . She is clearly more divine than mortal, for, although the Barong always defeats her, she never dies. In addition, in some parts of the island she has a beneficial side, like Kali and Durga, with whom she is often connected. It is not hard to see her as a crone goddess who has been turned into a witch.

There are female demons in many different cultures who have much in common, and their commonalities reflect male-dominated societies' disapproval of females of the uppity sort, as well as implicit approval for their opposite, the feminine, biddable wives and daughters. The demons are all physically hideous. All are anti-mothers in one way or another, and all are childless or give birth in abnormal ways. All are dangerous and threaten humans with both diseases and death. All live in exile or, at least, are distanced from the cultures that produced them. All eventually, even the dead Medusa, partake to some extent of deity. All are independent of men and, to a large extent, autonomous. Finally, all are brought under control by males.

And every individual possess characteristics that undermine or challenge male-dominated societies. War-like societies such as those of Mesopotamia could find a use for Inanna/Ishtar's warrior characteristics. So she became a war goddess, while her sexual self became a goddess of love. Thus divided, she was less of a threat to a developing patriarchy. Demonizing the dangerous elements of a minor goddess performed a similar function, and it also provided a scapegoat for when things went wrong, as they always would. Perhaps at one time Rangda was a sea goddess, who became evil because of where she came from. It seems likely that Lamashtu and Lilith were once minor deities who both caused infant death and disease and protected against them. And Medusa — what do we make of her? Certainly male-dominated society co-opted her "malevolence" to serve its burgeoning state. Her snaky head became a powerful warding-off, or apotropaic, device on shields and on temples and other buildings to be protected. Such analysis is not new, but it applies just as neatly to Balinese culture as it does to other cultures that fed into ours.

Balinese carvers do great work in most instances, but this is a tour de force, indeed. The exquisite detailing, expression, and flawless finishing. A work for the ages and certainly heirloom quality. Measures about 9 inches, overall.