Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bali Art (Culture)

Everybody in Bali seems to be an artist. Coolies and, princes, priests and peasants, men and women alike, can dance, play musical instruments, paint, or carve in wood and stone. It was often surprising to discover that an otherwise poor and dilapidated village harbored an elaborate temple, a great orchestra, or a group’ of actors of repute.

One of the most famous orchestras in Bali is to be found in the, remote mountain village of Selat, and the finest dancers of legong were in Saba, an unimportant little village bidden. among the rice fields.
Villages such as Mas, Baiuan, Gelgel, are made up of families of painters, sculptors, and actors, and Sanur produces, besides priests and witcb-doctors, fine story-tellers and dancers.
In Sebatu, another isolated mountain village, even the children can carve little statues from odd bits of wood, some to be used as bottle-stoppers, perches for birds, handles, but most often simply absurd little human figures in comic attitudes, strange animals, birds of their own invention, frogs, snakes, larvae of insects, figures without reason or purpose, simply as an outlet for. their creative urge. In contrast to the devil-may-care primitive works of Sebatu are the super-refined, masterful carvings from Badung, Ubud, Pliatan, and especially those by the family of young Brahmanas from Mas who turn out intricate statues of hard wood or with equal ability paint a picture, design a temple gate, or act and dance.
Painting,sculpture, and playing on musical instruments are arts by tradition reserved to the men, but almost any woman can weave beautiful stuffs and it is curious that the most intriguing textiles, those in which the dyeing and weaving process is so complicated that years of labour are required to, complete a scarf, are made by the women of Tenganan, an ancient village of six hundred souls who are so conservative that they will not maintain connections with the rest of Bali and who punish with exile who ever dares to marry outside the village.
The main artistic activity of the women goes into the making of beautiful offerings for. the gods. These are intricate structures of cut-out palm leaf, or pyramids of fruit, flowers, cakes, and cat even roast chickens, arranged with splendid taste, masterpieces of composition in which the relative form of the elements: employed, their -texture and color are taken into consideration. I have seen monuments, seven feet in height, made ~ entirely, of roasted pig’s meat on skewers, decorated into shapes cut out, of the waxy fat of the pig and surmounted with banners and little umbrellas of the lacy stomach tissues, the whole relieved by the vivid vermilion of chili peppers. Although women of all ages have always taken part in the ritual offering dances, in olden times only little girls became dancers and actresses-, but today beautiful girls take part in theatrical performances, playing the parts of princesses formerly performed exclusively by female impersonators. (baliexplorer.com)

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