Tag Archives: Gianyar

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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Art

BALI – SETIA DARMA / HOUSE OF MASK & PUPPETS

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The second highlight of our trip through Indonesia we like to tell you more about is the Setia Darma, House of Mask & Puppets museum in Ubud, Bali.

2 years ago we already had the plan to visit this museum, but at that time we couldn’t find the place and due to some unlucky circumstances on the way we had to return to our hotel. So this year we wanted to give it another try!

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Setia Darma, The House of Masks and Puppets was initiated by Mr. Hadi Sunyoto, a businessman and cultural enthusiast, who has been collecting masks and puppets from different regions in Indonesia for the past seven years. Concerned with the lack of appreciation and awareness towards the disappearing traditional art form of masks and puppets in Indonesia, he decided to create a space to collect, preserve and spread the knowledge of the art form of masks and puppets. As a result, the House of Masks and Puppets was built in 2006.

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They’re mission is to inspire people to learn about the culture of the past for the benefits of the present and future life. And to conserve the art form of masks and puppets from different regions of Indonesia, as well as from other countries. The collection of the House of Masks and Puppets currently consists of approximately 6900 items, of which 1300 are masks from Indonesia, Africa, and Japan; whilst the other 5700 are puppets from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Although the House of Masks and Puppets has several objects from other countries, the collection mostly consists of items from various regions in Indonesia.

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The collections of the House of Masks and Puppets are housed in four different traditional Javanese antique houses or commonly known as Joglo. These unique Joglos are mostly originated from East and Middle Java.

 

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We can say, this is one of the most amazing museums we have ever visited. A breathtaking collection of masks, perfectly conserved and displayed. We were actually a bit surprised that we didn’t need to pay an entrance fee to enter this museum. (We we’re completely willing to put down 200.000 IDR. if needed to see this collection up close). There even was a worker of the museum who gave us a little tour through the museum and told us more about the different sort of masks and their origins. This is definitely the place to be if you’re interested in masks & puppets from Indonesia and Asia in general!

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Setia Darma, House of Masks & Puppets

Kubu Bingin Cultural Village
Jl. Tegal Bingin
Banjar Tengkulak Tengah
Kemenuh Village, Sukawati,
Gianyar, Bali

entrance fee: free (you can leave a donation to support the museum)

http://www.setiadarma.org/

– Lielo

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