three pairs of lovers with space

SOME TIME AMONG THE BALINESE BY JULIUS JACOBS, 1881

 

Julius Karel Jacobs (1842-95) was a Dutch medical doctor greatly interested in ethnography who in 1881 accompanied the Resident of Banyuwangi (in Java) on his expedition through Bali and Lombok. By that time, the Dutch controlled the north of Bali, while the south and the neighbouring island of Lombok were still composed of independent kingdoms.

Jacob’s book, Eenigen tijd onder de Baliërs; eene reisbeschrijving met aantekeningen betreffende hygiëne, land- en volkenkunde van de eilanden Bali en Lombok (Some time among the Balinese; a travel description with annotations concerning hygiene, land and ethnology from the islands of Bali and Lombok), was published in Batavia (the capital of the Netherlands East Indies) in 1883, but appears from its preface to have been finished on 5 May 1882. The translation into English is this website's.

 

Chapter II

Describing their visit to Bila in the Dutch-controlled kingdom of Buleleng in the north-west of Bali:

We took up residence here with the desa [subdistrict]-chief, and found an excellent lodging. The first the day of our journey was pleasantly spent, our cook gave excellent evidence of his knives, and in the late evening were invited by our host to see the skill of a pair of gandroengs.

The raja of Buleleng and his secretary, ca. 1875

A description of these gandroengs also seems to me not superfluous, since it can shed light on the sense of morality which is quite common in Bali, even in higher circles. Gandroengs are boys from ten to twelve years old, who dance like dancing girls accompanied by the gamelan (or there, with the most complete of the dances, called semar-pegoelingan). The dress consists of a splendid sarong, which has been raised under the arms and through a broad, rich belly band interlaced with gold thread, bright with flowers and lush opulent tinsel to provide head-attire, wrapped around the hips the salendang, (Balinese ontjèr) whose ends hang freely, the sometimes splendid bracelets and the fan, truly giving the idea that it is a girl who hovers there so gracefully on the musical notes, coqueting with the arms, while one hand holds one of the ends of the ontjèr and the other holds the fan. One already knows that they are boys, and it is disgusting when one sees men from all positions and ranks of Balinese society proffering their kèpèngs (Chinese coins) to have a chance to dance with these children, sometimes in the oddest postures, and one is even more disgusted when one knows that these children, sometimes after exercising for hours in a perpendicular position, are forced, utterly exhausted though they may be, to carry out horizontal maneuvers with the highest bidders, after being fondled by one man and kissed by another. And the Balinese sees nothing in this, he makes absolutely no secret of it and even dresses it with a veil of religion, though many of them run around with rhagades and ulcera ad anum [ulcers towards the anus] and languish and die an early death. [pp. 13-14]

 

Chapter VIII

Dr. Julius Jacobs

Paederasty (menjélit) is being practiced to a great extent in the whole of Bali, and not covered with a veil of secrecy. I spoke about this earlier. [p. 134]

During my journey to the vaccine inspection in Buleleng, I was the guest of the desa [subdistrict] chief in Kubutambahan for a day. The room, which had been appointed as a bedroom for me and looked very homely, was almost entirely occupied by two balé-balé’s, both of which were decorated with brightly colored curtains, rich with the most possible figures, a product of the Balinese industry. On closer examination, it turned out that they contained hundreds of different representations of how the sex drive can be satisfied, as well as numerous different positions for coitus. The most space was devoted to onanism, masturbation, paederasty, Lesbian love, and nymphomaniacal outbursts. [p. 136]

 

Chapter IX

On the reigning Balinese raja of Lombok, who differed from the rajas in Bali in his severity, having a death penalty for adultery and theft, while gambling, games of chance, opium and …

Paederasty is severely punished; gandroeng’s (see earlier) may not perform in his realm. [p. 151]