Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Divine energies of the Balinese earth: the temple networks and territorial cults of Mount Batukau

Doherty, Jonathan Vincent (2022) Divine energies of the Balinese earth: the temple networks and territorial cults of Mount Batukau. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Download (122MB)
Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004516


This thesis studies the highland villages and temple networks of Mount Batukau in central Bali. The region depends upon local village priests to consecrate holy water (tirta) from their own ancestral sources for ceremonial purposes. Joint custodianship of the summit temple and a prohibition on Brahmanical priests from completing highland ceremonies unifies these groups into a regional culture. This research proposes that these shared practices constitute a ritually autonomous system that is localised to each village area. The first part of the thesis explores the region’s temple networks, stories of origin, and periodic ceremonies that revitalise the earth. It argues that inherited ritual authority is premised on localised origins as evidenced in different village contexts. It also examines the cultic nature and territoriality of temple deities, drawing parallels with Southeast Asian founders’ cults that venerate the divinised energies of the earth. Additionally, the megalithic temple network named jajar-kemiri circumnavigating Mount Batukau is surveyed to reveal “paths of life” (jalur kehidupan) running from mountain summit through the centre of each highland village unto the sea. The second part of the thesis documents a six-months long ceremony named Pengurip Gumi held at Pura Batukau. This once-in-a-generation event involves the descent of the networks’ deities in a procession by foot to sea that brings the earth (gumi) back to life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Jonathan Vincent Doherty
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: Graeber, David and Scott, Michael W.

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics