Offering Basket

About this object

History of use

This decorated offering bowl is made of dried leaves from palm trees known as lontar in Indonesia. Beadwork in Bali has traditionally been used to decorate sacred items, and has now become popularized through beaded designs on clothing, bags and sandals. Offering bowls or baskets are used by the Hindu community in Bali. The offerings are called banten. There are different types of offerings. Simple daily offerings, known as Canang sari – fruit, flowers, rice, betel and incense – are placed in trays made of woven coconut or banana leaves, and left around a home, a family shrine or along the road. They are perishable goods and ephemeral works of art, and are a sacred way for Balinese Hindu worshippers to express gratitude and represent their devotion to the gods. More elaborate offerings are made for religious festivals, rituals at temples, and other ceremonies.

Cultural context

religious; ceremonial

Specific techniques

The stitches inside connect the lontar strips into a bowl shape, and attach the beads on the outside.

Physical description

Rounded, circular flaring, fibre woven container that has a bowl shape. Exterior has intricate white beadwork on cloth backing in geometric horizontal, concentric bands. Lower beadwork is 8 cm. deep. with 'extending' beads above, and a pattern of x's, double vertical lines with a metallic band underneath, w's, w's, x's, alternating gold- and silver-coloured sequins outlined by white beads, x's, and alternating vertical lines and metallic coils at the centre. Upper beadwork is 2 cm. with a pattern of double vertical lines with a metallic band underneath, x's, and 'dangling' beads below.