The Family Compound
While the village is open and communal, the Balinese home is hidden and private. High thatch-covered mud walls run along the roads, broken at intervals by high pillared porticos with thick, carved wooden doors, each the entrance to a family compound, invariably guarded by a barking dog or two.
The thick mud walls of the enclosure define and protect the family. They would feel insecure without them. A central ramp runs up the flight of steps so motorcycles can be ridden into the walled enclosure. These cells of unbroken, interlocking, single domestic courtyard homes are open only in the back, where the rubbish thrown and pigs root.
Behind the main gate is a thin wall (aling-aling) which affords privacy and prevents evil spirits from entering; it's difficult for the beasts to turn corners. Just as the layout of the village reflects the grand order, so too does the layout of the family compound.
The Balinese believe each part of the house corresponds to a part of the human anatomy: the head is the family shrine, the sexual organs are the gates, the arms are the bedrooms and the social parlor, the navel is the courtyard, the legs and feet are the kitchen and granary, and the anus is the backyard garbage pit.
In each corner of the yard are temples dedicated to guardian spirits. Because sons generally take their brides home, several generations - up to 10 separate families - share the compound, each maintaining separate hearths and properties. Open-sided raised pavilions for sleeping, playing, and working all face inward, forming a circle around the inner courtyard.
Near the center of the yard is the family open-air "living room". Separate enclosures and huts are assigned to cooking and washing. Just outside the compound, off in the corner, is the pigsty, where the next festival's main course is fattened up.
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