01 Jul Balinese Art
The words art and artist do not exist in the language of Bali. There, art is at the borders of the supernatural. Dance, music, masks, gifts, decorations, cremations are many ways to contact the spirits in the afterlife, rule over Bali. The Balinese art constantly changes forms as proven by tradition. Earthquakes, climate, materials, artists and sculptors’ hands are constantly at work. This attachment to tradition has made exceptional Balinese artisans. If once they created kriss sets with precious stones for the princes, now they carve the wooden panels and doors of the palace that are so popular in antique shops.
Batubulan (8 km from Denpasar) is a village famous for its craftsmen, sometimes very young, sculpting monsters and gods of stone, thanks to the skill of their scissors. Batubulan is also rich in temples and every morning at 9 am a theatrical performance of Barong (those who did not have the chance to attend an authentic Barong in a village, can catch up with that at Batubulan).
Celuk (3 km Batubulan) is a village dedicated to silverware. Gold and silver are treated according to ancient techniques (filigree tasted little overloaded by the West) to make craft wonders. Mas (5 km from Ubud) is the stronghold of wood carvers. Its inhabitants are nearly all Brahmins (upper caste) and tourists can visit the workshops for unique items.
In Ubud, tourists must visit the art galleries, into artists’ studios and linger at the Museum (the Puri Lukisan). This museum houses a rich collection of Balinese paintings and sculptures, but around Ubud, several villages are also renowned for their paintings and their crafts.