This book presents a distinctive and revealing new approach to this Bali Hindu figure. For decades, Rangda has been presented to the world as a terrifying and monstrous old woman who rules the dark forces and is the enemy of all things good. Relying on a series of interviews with men and women living in Bali, this fascinating study moves the exotic villainess’ identity to the side and illuminates some of the other faces of the Queen of the Witches, both as they appear in art and in the minds and hearts of the people native to her island home.
“This book presents a sensitive exploration of a diverse selection of indigenous viewers’ often ambivalent responses to a standardized image, in this case the Balinese ‘witch’ figure. Fossey challenges the assumption that there is, in any culture, an ‘iconography’ to be found which has a repertoire of single, clear links between ‘images’ and ‘meanings’. Her account of field research in Bali is marvelously vivid and above all aware in its handling of the problem of variation.”—HiIdred Geertz, author of The Life of a Balinese Temple and Images of Power.