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Men, in gleaming red and black raiment, with their long, wavy hair uncovered and
bejewelled krisses sparkling in their belt. Among them were women adorned as for a
festival, with flowers in their hair, and there were hundreds of children. All were
wearing the white coat of those who dedicate themselves to death. Last of all appeared
the prince, on a golden throne borne by four men. Slowly and silently the procession
moved toward the [Dutch] soldiers… With raised lances and drawn krisses, the Balinese
plunged into the rapid fire of the Dutch soldiers’ automatic weapons. The artillery fired
its shrapnel into the thick heap of humanity…Horrified the troops stopped firing. Then
they saw a man dressed as a priest plunging his kris with icy certainty into the breasts of
men and women crowding around him. He was shot down and another took his place.
Wounded men stabbed themselves or stabbed others who could not do it for
themselves. More masses of people came closer, singing and died… (cited in Mabbett,
1988: 85)
Krause concludes his discussion of the puputan, by saying that “the Balinese working in
their rice fields [i.e. the peasant caste not involved in the revolt] said ‘It is the will of the Gods.’”
In this way, David Shavit argues, Krause presented the massacre as “an unreal event with no
meaning for the majority of the Balinese.” (Shavit, 2003: 21) Krause was essentially trivializing
the event and, in so, belittling the sacrifice of the Balinese people and the power of the ruling
Balinese authority. Krause’s retelling of the paputan was, Shavit argues, “a blatant apology for
colonialism.” (ibid.) Yet, the photos in the book, he points out, are more powerful than the text,
attracting future generations of tourists.
Indeed, the most striking thing about Krause’s work is the photography. A look at the
original German book, Bali, by Krause and Karl With, on which the English translation discussed
above is based, shows that text merely complements the striking black and white photography,
and not the other way around. Krause’s photography chronicles the beauty of early 20th
century Balinese landscape. Krause also chronicles his appreciation for the Balinese beauty
and grace with a substantial number of nude pictures, an homage of sorts to the Balinese
physique. The majority of these photos depict Balinese women, often naked in public baths.
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