Pan and Men Brayut story (detail) Click to enlarge image
This painting, nearly 4 meters long, is known in Bali as an ider-ider, designed to be hung under the eaves of a pavilion in a palace temple. It is wrapped around the outside of the pavilion and the story is normally presented in a series of scenes from left to right. Scenes may be presented in the reverse order when the painting is used for rituals associated with death or when hung in a pura dalem, death temple. AM Balinese Collection E74195. Image: Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

Pan and Men Brayut is a popular folktale depicting scenes of domestic life. Men Brayut has eighteen children and her husband Pan Brayut has to do all the domestic work. In the painting, made up of several separate scenes, we see him cooking, washing children and carrying water. His wife suckles a child at each breast while other children argue around her. The family is very poor and the children fight with each other, making their parents’ life a misery. However, when the children grow up and are able to work, the family becomes rich. They are able to form a family troupe to perform the Barong drama, with their own orchestra depicted in the final scene of the painting. Barong drama is a performance in which the good, protective character Barong fends off evil forces.