Eduardo Martins

Tajen - Bali Cockfight
Location: Porto - Portugal
Nationality: Portuguese
Biography: ABOUT Eduardo Martins is a Portuguese editorial photographer based in the city of Porto, Portugal. Available for commercial and editorial assignments worldwide. He studied Photography at ETIC (Technical School of Image and Communication), and... MORE
Public Story
Tajen - Bali Cockfight
Copyright Eduardo Martins 2022
Updated Oct 2020
Location bali
Topics Documentary, Editorial, Photography, Photojournalism


Banned in Indonesia since 1981, the cockfights take place all over Bali, mainly in the rural areas at improvised arenas. The millenary practice of Tajen - Balinese for cockfight - is deeply connected to the practice of Hinduism. Allowed inside the temples as part of the sacrificial rituals, known as the "Tabuh Rah." This ritual translates into bloodshed, which Hinduism advocates as a way to dispel off evil spirits. If cockfighting in a religious context is the exception in the law, its performance beyond the sacred ground has been strictly prohibited by the Jakarta Central Government since 1981, which has not stopped the continuation of the ancient activity, embedded in Balinese popular culture. The sacrificial and religious dimensions of the practice soon were transmuted for the game dimension, rich in mysticism and beliefs, social tensions, and interpersonal violence, a symbol of manhood. So much at stake for dozens of men: money, honor, courage and faith.
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Tajen - Bali Cockfight by Eduardo Martins
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