November 30, 2014

1347 INDONESIA (Lesser Sunda) - Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy (UNESCO WHS)

Subak is the name of water management (irrigation) system for paddy fields on Bali island, which was developed more than 1,000 years ago. For Balinese, irrigation isn't simply providing water for the plant's roots, but water is used to construct a complex, pulsed artificial ecosystem. Paddy fields in Bali were built around water temples and the allocation of water is made by a priest. Included in the landscape is the 18th-century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun, the largest and most impressive architectural edifice of its type on the island. The subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. This philosophy was born of the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years and has shaped the landscape of Bali.

Rice is seen as the gift of god, and the subak system provides a unique response to the challenge of supporting a dense population on a rugged volcanic island. The property consists of five sites that exemplify the interconnected natural, religious, and cultural components of this system. In total Bali has about 1,200 water collectives and between 50 and 400 farmers manage the water supply from one source of water. Subak components are the forests that protect the water supply, terraced paddy landscape, rice fields connected by a system of canals, tunnels and weirs, villages, and temples of varying size and importance that mark either the source of water or its passage through the temple on its way downhill to irrigate subak land.

About the stamps

The stamps are part of the series Indonesia's Threatened Bird Species, issued on July 15, 2012 and consisting of 4 stamps designed by Djoko Soejanto & Paula Alves, all with the same value (2500 IDR):
1/4 Siau Scops-owl (Otus Siaoensis) - it's on the postcard
2/4 Flores-Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus floris) - it's on the postcard
3/4 Elegant Sunbird (Aethopyga duyvenbodel) - it's on other postcard
4/4 Invisible Rail (Habroptila wallacii) - it's on other postcard

Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy - UNESCO official website
Subak (irrigation) - Wikipedia

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #198, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Birds, a perennial theme. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Sender: Haryadi Yansyah (direct swap)
Sent from Palembang (Sumatra / Indonesia), on 28.01.2014


  1. Beautiful designs indeed. The postcard is superb.

  2. Great stamp series. Too many species are threatened worldwide.

  3. Such beautiful birds, pity they are under threat.