Barong

Despite its ferocious appearance, Barong Ket is a welcome sight in Bali, Indonesia. Barong Ket is the village protector in Bali, the force that fights off the witch, Rangda, and restores the balance between chaos and order. This large, shaggy creature is also a common sight. Dancers in Barong costume often appear in ritual dramas and performances and interact with villagers and tourists alike.

Physical features: large, shaggy body; elaborate head with some features resembling an animal, such as a lion or boar
Location: Bali, an island in Indonesia
Significance: The village protector who restores a balance between good and evil.
Barong costumes: Barong Ket (lion), Barong Bangkal (wild boar), Barong Machan (tiger), Barong Lembu (cow), and Barong Asu (dog)

Image credits: main image, AMNH/Sean Murtha; Laurel Kendall: courtesy of AMNH.