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ANTA02H3 Study Guide - Cockfight, Palm-Leaf Manuscript, Vise


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Maggie Cummings

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Clifford Geertz
Deep play: notes on the Balinese cockfight
When you first meet a Balinese he seesm virtually not to relate to you at all
He seems away
He decides that you are real and then he beomces a warm, gay , sensitive,
sympathetic
In Bali, to be teased is to be accepted
Bali is a well studded place. Its mythology, art, ritual, social organization, patterns
of child rearing, forms of law are examined
Cockfights have not been analyzed
In Balinese culture babies are not allowed to crawl. Incest is present and drowning is
the result of incest
Main puberty rite consist of filing the Childs teeth so they will not look like animal
fangs
The day of silence: when everyone sits silent and immobile all day long in order to
avoid contact with the sudden influx of demons chased momentarily out of hell is
preceded the previous day by large scale cockfights
Daily wages of a manual labourer a brick maker, farm worker was about 3 ringgits
a day. Fights are held every 2.5 days which means there is a serious gambling
problem
Balinese go to cockfights to find out what man, usually composed, aloof, almost
obsessively self absorbed, a kind of moral autocross, feels like when, attacked,
tormented challenged, insulted and driven in result to the extremes of fury, he has
totally triumphed or been brought totally low.
COCKFIGHTS
Cockfights are illegal in Bali under the republic
Worries about the poor gambling all of this money away
Worries about what foreigners will think
The country views cockfights as primitive, backward
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Fights are usually held in a secluded corner of a village in semi secrecy
The Balinese people were trying to raise money for schools but were unable to due to
cockfights and gambling
Cops raided area, people sprawled out in all directions and cocks ran around with
spurs on them
Cocks are viewed as detachable, self operation penises, ambulant genitals with a life
of their own
Sabang: the word for cock is used metaphorically to mean hero, warrior, champion,
etc.
A large majority of Balinese men spend a large amount of time with their favourites.
They groom them, feed them trying them out against one another
Fighting cocks are kept in wicker cages, moved frequently about for optimum balance
of sun and shade. They have a specific diet mostly maize.
Red pepper is stuffed down their anuses to give them spirit
They’re bathed in the same ceremonial preparation of tepid water, medicinal herbs,
and flowers. Their spurs are trimmed
A man who has a passion for cocks, an enthusiast can spend his whole life with the
cocks
The owner of the winning cock takes the carcass of the loser often torn limb from
limb by its enraged owner, home to eat
A man who lost a fight sometimes experiences social suicide
THE FIGHT
Cockfights (tetadjin : sabungan) are held in a ring about 50 feet square. They begin
in late afternoon and run three or four hours until sunset. About nine or ten
separate matches comprise a program. There is no main match, no connection
between individual matches, and no variation in their format.
Selected cocks have their spurs (Tadji) affixed razor sharp, pointed steel swords,
four or five inches long. This is a delicate job which only a handful of skilled people
know how to do.
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