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Mythology in art.

In this year's Clip & Save Art Print series, students have met 10 of the most extraordinary mythological creatures ever imagined. Some were of the air (the griffin, and the raven); some slithered over the earth (the rainbow serpent of Aboriginal Australia); and some swam the seven seas (the Norse Midgard Serpent).

Some of these creatures use their powers to destroy (the dragon of Christian mythology, and the gorgon Medusa of ancient Greece), while others use their powers for creation, good fortune and happiness (Ganesha, Rangi and Papa, and Quetzalcoatl).

To conclude the series, good will, once again, overcomes evil as students travel to the Indonesian island of Bali to meet a mythological creature known as "Barong."

"Barong is the symbol of health and good fortune, in opposition to the witch, Rangda (also known as Calonarang). During a dancedrama in which deeply entranced performers turn

swords on themselves but emerge unharmed, Barong confronts Rangda in magical combat. Barong is brought to life by two dancers encased in an ornately decorated harness. From the figure's mask hangs a beard of human hair decorated with frangipani flowers, in which the magic power of Barong is thought to reside." (www.

The Barong dance is a classic example of one of the most common themes in mythology: the battle of good vs. evil. The Barong creature represents an animal spirit, and differs from region to region across the island of Bali. The most common is the Barong lion, from the Gianyar region. Other forms are the boar, the tiger, and the dragon/serpent. Still another form represents a giant called Barong Landung. Some barong creatures are hybrid forms, such as a lion-tiger combination, while the kek is an mythological creature not associated with a particular animal.

"Animism," or the attribution of a living soul to plants, inanimate objects and natural phenomena, predates Hinduism in Bali; the Barong as a protector of a village or region is a natural outgrowth of this belief.

"The origin of the Barongs is obscure, but the generally accepted theory is that they are derived from animal spirits, chosen by societies who seek their protection. The people of these societies may believe that their ancestors were certain animals, or may believe that an animal was aided by their ancestors, and in order to repay the debt, the animal has agreed to protect succeeding generations." (

The Barong mask shown in this month's Art Print is ornately decorated and replete with a beard made from human hair and three frangipani flowers. The stylized face of the Barong is most probably meant to be a lion, with the golden ornamentation framing the face--perhaps its mane.

"The masks of Barong and Rangda are considered sacred items, and before they are brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be presented." (

The Barong dance is a sacred ceremonial dance that follows a basic series of stages. In the first stage, the Barong enters with a pair of frolicking monkeys; the scene is playful and light.

In the next stage, Rangda enters, along with a troupe of male dancers. She casts an evil spell upon them, thereby inducing them to fall on their keris, or daggers. Barong and a priest cast their own spell of protection, and most of the men are saved.

In the final stage, Barong and Rangda confront one another, after which Rangda is chased off and Barong restores peace and harmony in the universe.

To see a video clip of the Barong dance, visit: www.

Barong, Bali, Indonesia


Share the Clip & Save Art Print with students and explain that this is a mask from Bali, an island off Indonesia. (Point out Bali on a world map and its distance in relationship to the United States).

Next, explain that this mask represents a sacred, or holy, creature called "Barong," and is used in a ceremonial dance that dramatizes good vs. evil. Share the video of the Barong dance found at: topic/155 7300/Barong

Spend a few minutes discussing the Art Print. Point out that the mask probably represents a lion. Ask students to describe the details (ornate decoration around the face, jewels, real hair, fresh flowers), prominent eyes and fangs, etc.

Next, give students pre-cut mask templates and a selection of materials, such as yarn, feathers, old pieces of costume jewelry, torn paper, pasta, fabric flowers, etc, and let them experiment with the materials to design an original mask.

After students have settled on a design, give them paste or glue to fasten their materials onto the paper template. Once all students have completed their masks, have a parade around the classroom as a celebration of their hard work.


Display all the Clip & Save Art Prints on the board, and briefly share this month's Art Print. Review with students the names of each, and ask them what they can remember about each creature.

Do a survey of the class to determine which creatures are "goodies," and which are "baddies." Arrange each category into two groups. Discuss some of the visual characteristics that contribute to a creature being deemed good or bad (the primary colors in the rainbow serpent for good; the fangs, claws and ugly face of the dragon for bad).

Next, give students time to draw an original creature, either a "Goodie" or "Baddie." Encourage them to incorporate some of the visual elements found in the Clip & Save Art Print series of mythological creatures. After students have completed their work, create a Hall of Fame and a Hall of Shame area on a bulletin board where students can post their original Goodie or Baddie creature.


Share the Art Print with students. Explain the significance of the Barong to Balinese culture. Share the video of the Barong dance mentioned in the Primary instructions, to the left. Ask students to name animals that might be represented in this work of art (lion, bear, boar, snake/dragon). Make a list of these as students offer ideas and leave this list on display during the activity.

Next, place students into pairs or small cooperative groups. Explain that they will be designing an oversized mask of a creature inspired by the Barong mask. If you have access to computers in your classroom, give students time to do an image search of additional Barong masks as part of their preparation.

Pass out a piece of poster board to each group. Help students decide on the basic facial shape of their creature and, if necessary, with making the initial outline. Have students carefully cut out the face, and the holes for eyes, nose and mouth.

Give students an assortment of collage materials from which to decorate their creature's face. When masks are complete, allow each group time to present their work. Finally, display all finished works alongside this month's Art Print.


Share the Clip & Save Art Print with students. Explain to them the significance of the Barong to Balinese culture. Share the video of the Barong dance mentioned in the Primary instructions, above. As in the primary activity, post all of the Art Prints around the classroom. Give students time to revisit the images and record features that each have in common.

Next, place students into pairs or small teams and challenge each of them to create a wearable mask that synthesizes elements from all of the mythological creatures in this years Clip & Save Art Print series. After work is completed, give each team time to present their work and to share how the creatures from the series inspired their original concept.
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Title Annotation:CLIP & SAVE ART NOTES
Author:Carroll, Colleen
Publication:Arts & Activities
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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