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BALINESE WOOD CARVING

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Ade recently did a couple designs highly inspired on old wood carvings from Bali.

WOODCARVING IN BALI

The craft of woodcarving has never existed in Bali only for decoration purposes.
In the olden days, the fine arts of woodcarving and painting were reserved almost exclusively for royal and religious purposes.
Woodcarving has a very long history in Bali.

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TECHNIQUES

Woodcarving is a skill requiring more precision and sureness than that of carving stone. The carver starts with a clean block of wood which he cuts down to roughly the same size as the piece to be carved. Using very simple tools, the carver lightly taps the highly sharpened instruments. Unlike the technique used in the West, he does not use hand pressure except for really close work. Fine-grained hardwoods such as teak (jati), and strong fruit trees such as jackfruit (nangka), the compact sawo (a beautiful dark red wood), shiny ebony (ebon), tamarind, hibiscus, frangipani, and kayu jepun are the most popular carving woods.

The texture of the grain determines the nature of the piece to be carved. Dark ebony, particularly pieces with striped grain, are best suited for vertical shapes or faces. Rarer are pieces made of unpolished ebony (sanded and brushed only) where you can make out the grain in the wood. The blackest ebony might be used to depict a subject of great dignity. Satinwood, a light striped, beige-colored wood native to Bali, may inspire pieces of a softer theme. The grain often follows a skin pattern or veins in the arms of the statue.

The tradition is, if the statue is not to be gilded or painted it is made smooth with pumice and given a high polish by rubbing it with bamboo. These finished carvings were once treated and stained with oils to achieve a subtle gloss, but now Balinese artisans find that neutral or black shoe polish gives the same result and takes less time.

At the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) near Bedulu, Gianyar – elaborate Buddhist style carvings cover the entrance near the cave. This carving dates to 9th Century. Woodcarvings is largely links to religious tradition and  to Pura (small private temples) in Balinese home.

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Woodcarving for commercial purpose probably started around 1935. The Dutch traders firstly introduce Balinese woodcarving to Europe. Until now, a lot of Dutch Museum still have a huge collection of Balinese woodcarving. The Dutch take-over of Southern Bali in 1906-1908 not only destroyed the traditional courts of the island but it also shattered the old system of art production. There were new types of art showing up, and the artists made works that were commodities instead of items of religious use of content. This has an important impact on the production of carvings which could now be made and sold at tourist spots all around Indonesia.

For the best collections of Balinese wood carving, the visitor should go to the FA Siadja Wood Carving gallery in the village of Mas in Ubud. It holds a wide selection of carving from 1930s to current style worked in many different kind of wood.

– Lielo

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NIGEL DE JONG’S TATTOO BY ADE ITAMEDA

Ade Itameda‘s tattoo he made on Nigel de Jong’s (Football player of the Dutch National Team & Manchester City) arm is currently to be seen in the commercial of C1000 on television!

BTW; the birds in this commercial are designed by the talented Jordy te Braak!

Right arm done by: Ade Itameda

Left arm done by: Andy of Tattoo Left Hand

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