Empire rule over Bali became complete when Gajah Mada, Prime Minister of the
Javanese king, defeated the Balinese king in Bedulu in 1343. The Majapahit
capital in Bali was established at Samprangan and later Gelgel. Gelgel
remained the paramount kingdom on Bali until the second half of the 17th
With the rise
of Islam in the Indonesian archipelago, the Majapahit empire finally fell,
and Bali became independent at the end of the 15th or beginning of the 16th
century, with much of the Javanese aristocracy finding refuge in Bali,
bringing an even stronger influx of Hindu arts, literature and religion.
According to later chronicles the dynasty of Majapahit origins, established
after 1343, continued to rule Bali for 5 more centuries until 1908, when the
Dutch eliminated it in the Dutch intervention in Bali (1908). In the 16th
century, the Balinese king Dalem Baturenggong even expanded in turn his rule
to East Java, Lombok and western Sumbawa
In the late
1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the island’s south were
exploited by the Dutch to increase their control. A war of the Rajas between
1884 and 1894 gave another pretext to the Dutch to intervene. In 1894, the
Dutch defeated the Balinese ruler of Lombok, adding both Lombok and
Karangasem to their possessions.
A few years
later, with the pretext of stopping the plundering of shipwrecks, the Dutch
mounted large naval and ground assaults at the Sanur region in 1906 in the
Dutch intervention in Bali (1906), leading to the elimination of the royal
house of Badung and about 1000 deaths. In the Dutch intervention in Bali
(1908), a similar massacre occurred in the face of a Dutch assault in
Klungkung, sealing the end of the Majapahit dynasty which had ruled the
island, and the total rule of the Dutch over Bali.
occupied Bali during World War II with the declared objective of forming a
“Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” that would liberate Asian countries
from Western domination.
the capitulation of Japan a province was founded on 19 August 1945 called
Soenda Ketjil (The Lesser Sunda Islands). Its capital was on Bali. On 10
October 1945 the Japanese ceded the province to the Republic of Indonesia
but, when the maintenance of law and order quickly deteriorated, the Republic
had to cede the province to the Dutch at the end of January 1946.
In 1946 the
Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly
proclaimed State of East Indonesia, a rival state to
the Republic of Indonesia. Bali was included in the United States of
Indonesia when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29
December 1949. In 1958, the present Bali Province was established by law Undang-Undang
Little or no
artefacts seem to have been preserved which can be ascribed with certainty to
any Balinese ruler.
heraldic symbols are quite common in Balinese art and are well known by
amateurs of Balinese culture, even
when they seem not to be labelled as such.
It seems quite
obvious that symbols of authority in Bali are strongly influenced by Hindu
examples and this can be explained by the fact that Bali was ruled for
centuries by kings from the Hindu Majapahit dynasty and the fact that
Hinduism is the religion of more than 93% of the population.
Vishnu, the Ruler
In Hinduism Vishnu
is the God of preservation and he belongs, together with Brahma the creator
and Shiva the destroyer, to the
As such and in
the socio-political context Vishnu is depicted with the symbols of the
universe, of religious authority, administrative- and armed authority, that
is to say the cakra (wheel), the śankha
(conch), the padma (lotus) and the gada (club).
Some striking examples of a Visnu statue are known
from Majapahit Java. In Bali there is a statue of Vishnu in Denpasar.
Hindu rulers very often are considered to be a
incarnation of Vishnu and therefore their heavenly mandate includes supreme
religious, administrative and armed power. Consequently he is the head of the
church, of the administration and of the army.
We also meet the Naga or snake in
Balinese symbolism. The Naga in general is a manifestation of the royal
dynasty. As such he is depicted on the royal kris (which is literally the
royal arms) but he can also be consisdered as the symbol of the armed force
in a wider sense. For that reason the Naga as a supporter of his person means that the king is ruling
by the grace of his dynasty.
An example of such a configuration can be found on
the royal sedan today in Musum Nusantara in Delft.
This shows a seat (on which the ruler is lacking of
course) supported by two crowned naga’s. As this sedan was donated by a Dutch officer to the Museum
shortly after 1864, it may have been the sedan of a ruler defeated in one of
the military expeditions between 1846 and 1849.
A candidate for this ruler is Dewa Agung Putra II (1814–1850; ruler (susuhunan)
of Bali and Lombok until 1849). He was the titulary
king of Bali in Klungkung, and the litter is decorated in Kamasan style, named after the village
near Gelgel where Klungkung court painting was produced. 
Another sedan is preserved in the Tropenmuseum in
Amsterdam. It is a miniature of a royal sedan, also with two naga
Garuda, the Vehicle of
The Garuda is the vehicle of Vishnu and symbolizes
the state in which the three spheres of authority are united. For that reason
Garuda is very often depicted bearing Vishnu on his back. Many examples of
such a Vishnu-Garuda combination are known from Bali art. We may suppose that some of the older
Vishnu’s on Garudas’ back in fact are depicting Balinese kings but of course
that is a supposition that will be very difficult to prove.
the Vishnu-figure bears a wheel and a conch he is depicted as the supreme
religious authority. His features do not rule out the possibility that a king
of Bali is depicted.
Sculptures of oxes are found in the court of the royal
hall Kertha Gosa in Klungkung. They are the decoration of the
seats facing the seats of the royal representatives, decorated with royal naga
Sapi-seats in Kertha
Gosa royal hall.
We may safely suppose that the seats with the sapi are those of the representatives of the people in court even when we do not know anything about the procedures of royal audiences or the administration of Balinese justice. 
As the sapi was the most important asset of the Balinese peasant, it makes an excellent symbol of the people of Bali. The adoption of an animal to represent a people matches the many other animals symbolizing societies all over the world. Some greek city-states for example were symbolized by animals like the owl for Athens and the pegasus for Corinth. Many other peoples in the world are symbolized by their totem which usually has the form of an animal. Still others are symbolized by the mythical animal from which they trace their descent.
In a monarchy however, it is quite exeptional to find a symbol for the people as it is considered to be composed of subjects and as such does not have an identity other than the monarch’s. 
The flag of Bali consisted of nine stripes red,
white and blue, the red symbolizing Shiva, the white Brahma and the blue
About 1880 the rulers
of Bali and Lombok, when asked about the use of flags, answered that no flags
were ever used in their kingdoms. Following the example of the Dutch
Government however, they used the Dutch flag on their vehicles. 
nine-striped flag, consequently, was adopted after 1880, probably after the
loss of independence (1908)
Dutch Direct Rule
Residentie Bali en Lombok (Bali and Lombok Residence)
In the time of Dutch Direct Rule the symbols of the Dutch Government, as laid down in 1907 were also valid on Bali. The achievement of the Dutch government can be considered to be the successor of the Balinese Garuda.
The residents wore the royal arms of the Netherlands within a garland as a cap-badge.
This emblem was laid down by Decision of the Governor General of the Netherlands-Indies of 12 April 1908 No 12.
The Dutch symbols were abolished by the Japanese who placed the Eastern Islands under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Navy
The emblem of the Japanese Empire was the imperial Kiku-mon or golden chrysantemum.
East Indonesia Rule
On 24 of December 1946 the State of East Indonesia was established by a decree signed in Denpasar.
On 17 August 1950 the State of East Indonesia was dissolved and Bali became a part of the Republic of Indonesia.
Daerah Provinsi Bali
of present Bali province is on a
five-cornered dark-blue shield surrounded by a white line
Emblem: Azure, Pahlawan Margaran Temple
and its split gate Or, between a garland of cotton and rice proper, in chief
a five-pointed star Or, in base a chain per fess Gules, a fan Or and a Red
Lotus (Nelumbium nelumbo Druce) proper.
Motto: BALI DWIPA JAYA in blue lettering on a ribbon Argent.
Dark blue symbolizes tolerance
Gold symbolizes nobility and greatness
Red symbolizes heroism
White symbolizes purity
šSee illustration in the head of this essay.
Thunderbolt, 14th Cent.. Jembrana,
Bali. (National Museum, Jakarta.)
The most ancient arms of a Balinese ruler is a
thunderbolt from Jembrana, West Bali. The thunderbolt from Jembrana is a pastiche
of the trisula (trident) of
Vishnu on the one hand, and a vajra
of tantric origin on the other hand. It fits into the hindu-buddhist
heraldic system of the early
Indonesian empires of Mataram, Srivijaya and Majapahit.
The thunderbolt is dated in the 14th century, the time
of the conquest of Bali by Majapahit and the growth of the Majapahit to a
regional power. Consequently it could have been the attribute of one of the
last independent rulers of Bali or of
one of the first Majapahit military governors.
The vajra is also the attribute of Tunggal (Balinese: “Unity”) (also: Acintya,
(Sanskrit: “the unthinkable”, “the inconceivable”, “he who cannot be
imagined”) the supreme god of Hinduism and venerated most of all on the
island of Bali.
Having the thunderbolt as its attribute Tunggal can
be compared with the Hellenistic gods Zeus and Jupiter and with the Assyrian
Conceived as a personification of thunder itself, it
could have been derived from a
Acintya at the Bali Museum.
Standing on a viśvajra or double
symbol of the arms of heaven and is, in that case,
comparable with the hellenistic and tantric thunderbolt, being the symbol of
Singa / Lion
In general a lion is the symbol of a guardian or a high ranking military officer. The unwinged version, clewrly meant to be the symbol of a guardian can be found on the Borobudur on Java.
Winged versions can be found on Bali and are probably the
symbol of members of the Satria caste. They
were attached to the houses of that nobility and an important specimen is
found in the royal hall Kertha Gosa in Klungkung. This hall was
build in the 18th century and was used by the royal council. The winged lion
may refer to the Satria origin of the royal house and the guardian function
of the Satria in matters of state. After the abolition of the kingdom Kertha
Gosa was made a courthouse by the Dutch, thus continuing one of its former
Lion from a nobleman’s house.
Sukasada village, Singaraja 19th c.
Kertha Gosa Winged Lion
Bali warriors armed with
keris, spear and shield. About 1880.
No documentation about flags, banners and armament
available. Acintya may have been the symbol of the army.
Balinese krisses, when heirlooms, can be compared
with western personal- or familiy-arms. Decorated with a naga they are
After 1908 Bali
was controlled by the K.N.I.L.
Helmet-hat badge of the
So-called Zonneplaat (sun badge) consisting
of an eight-pointed radiating orange sun, charged with the royal arms of the
Netherlands, surrounded by a garland of oak and olive branches.
In the time of
Japanese Occupation Bali was controlled by the Japanese Navy which had an anchor,
charged with a cherry blossom (sakura) as its emblem.
Stamp as printed on Kartoe
Pos issued by the Japanese Postal Services
In 1946 divisions of the Royal Dutch Indies Army (KNIL) and the Royal Dutch army were stationed on Bali. These were the:
Territoriaal & Troepencommando Bali en Lombok (Territorial and Army Command Bali and Lombok)
This TTC had two fighting cocks on a grey background as its emblem. The fighting cocks were chosen because cock-fighting was (and is) an important popular amusement on Bali.
The arms were adopted by decree Clg. nr. 7492/GS/35 of. 1946.11.11
Subordinated to TTC Bali and Lombok was the Bali-Lombok
Brigade, from which originated X, XI and XII KNIL Infantry Battalions. From
these XII KNIL Inf.Bat., founded 15 May 1946 was stationed on Bali.
Arms of Bali-Lombok Brigade
Arms of XII Inf.Bat.
The Bali-Lombok Brigade was founded in Thailand and composed of former prisoners of war. Initially a white elephant, the symbol of the Thai army, was chosen as its emblem but this was disapproved by the Thai king. Instead an red elephant attackingto the sinister, the Gaja Merah, was adopted.
By decree Clg 7492/GS/35 of 11 November 1946 the arms of XII Inf.Bat were adopted. These showed the Gaja Merah to the dexter and standing on the roman cypher XII.
Today Bali is controlled by Komando Daerah Militer
© Hubert de Vries
 Ibbitson Jessup, Helen: Court Arts of Indonesia. New York 1990. Fig 163, No. 29.
 Documentation needed.
 A bull’s head is the symbol
of the sovereignty of the people in the arms of the Republic of Indonesia.
 Information about the relation between the balinese kings and
their peoples would help.
 Register op de Notulen der
vergaderingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen,
vol. XIX (1881), p. 68. “7 Juni 81, II f-h]f. Het renvooi van den Gouv.
Secretaris, dd. 28 Mei jl., No. 10538, ten geleide van de missive van den
Resident van Banjoewangi, dd. 17 Mei jl. No. 94.
 For unknown reasons most
birds in modern Indonesian heraldry are wrongly called Garuda even when
a phoenix or a pigeon is meant. The East Indonesia bird most resembles a
Sulawesi Serpent Eagle (Spilornis rufipectus - Accipitridae) and thus
could refer to the fact that Garuda usually has a serpent in its claws.
 Besluit N° 28/PrB/47 dd. 2
Augustus 1947. In: Bijvoegsel Staatscourant van Oost-Indonesiė 1947 N° 8, A.
III „……… een gouden garoeda-embleem
omkranst met gekruiste padi-aren, het geheel op een dofzwart schild.” In this
act the flags, uniforms and badges of rank of the government officials were