Hooykaas-van Leeuwen Boomkamp, J.H. [Jacoba Hendrika]: "Ritual Purification of a Balinese Temple", Amsterdam/NED 1961: North Holland Publishing Company,
(Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd. Letterkunde

reviewed by C.G. [Clifford Geertz]


Book Review, in: Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 82, no. 1 (Jan. - Mar. 1962), p. 139.


Ritual Purification of a Balinese Temple. By J. H. HOOYKAAS - VAN LEEUWEN BOOMKAMP.Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd. Letterkunde, Nieuwe Heeks, Deel LXVIII, No. 4. Much of Balinese religion centers around ritual purification by means of holy water sprinkled on altars, offerings and worshipers alike. In the temples, an important role in such ceremonies of purification is played by the lis, an intricately woven, plaited, palm-leaf "sprinkler" which, having been chanted over and doused with water by a priest, is waved in the direction of the various "thornes" of the deities who are being invited to visit the temple. Professor Hooykaas - van Leeuwen Boomkamp's short essay consists of a thorough analysis of the construction of the lis as a complex of forty-four separate and distinct elements, a presentation and translation of the chants (mantra) which are used to consecrate it, and a description of a number of ancillary objects of purification which are associated with it in the general “cleansing " of the temple. The book is excellently illustrated, a particularly noteworthy feature being careful and authoritative drawings of all the Iis elements by a Balinese Brahman who happens also to be a professional artist. For non-specialists, or even for specialists in related fields who do not already know a great deal about Bali, Professor Hooykaas - van Leeuwen Boomkamp's failure to set her very narrowly focused study in any broader content at all may cause this essay to appear somewhat opaque. But in the content of the scholarly study of Balinese religion as such, it is an admirably thorough  resolutely circumstantial and, so far as I am competent to judge, entirely accurate contributon. (C.G.)

online source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/596024.


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