Balinese Traditional Arts
All of Indonesia but particularly Bali is known for its amazing traditional arts. Different areas of the island, however, have different treasures, so it’s important that you know where to look to find that perfect gift or souvenir of your trip to the Island of the Gods.
Here are some of the best Balinese traditional arts and where to find them:
Paintings – Ubud:
Leafy Ubud in the Gianyar Regency of Bali is known for its artwork and particularly for its paintings. You will find galleries dotted all over the area and one of the best things to do is walk down the main street of Jalan Raya Ubud and see what takes your fancy. One of the best galleries and museums is Neka Art Museum which has a huge range of artwork by Balinese and other Indonesian artists, much of which depicts life on the island. You will also find other arts and crafts here such as jewelry.
Woodcarvings – Mas:
The village of Mas sits around six kilometers to the south of Ubud and is an area known for its ornate woodcarvings. You can get all different kinds of designs but some of the most famous pieces are intricately carved traditional masks. You will find these all over Mas but one of the best-known locations, if you are looking for masks, is I.B Sutarja Mask Carver Gallery. Another good choice is Nyana & Tilem Gallery, the former home of one of Bali’s most prolific carvers Ida Bagus Nyana.
Silver Smiths – Celuk:
The village of Celuk in Sukawati is located around 30 minutes away from Ubud. The area is famous for its gold and silversmiths and you will find rows of shops all over the village. As you walk along the main road of Jalan Raya Celuk, you will see glass cabinets everywhere which have finely crafted pieces of silver inside in a range of designs. Bargaining is considered common place here so you don’t have to accept the first price offered. You can also order custom-made pieces although be aware that this will cost you more.
Stone Carving – Batubulan:
Batubulan village is two kilometres away from Denpasar and has made a name for itself since the 1970s as a result of its stone carving. Many of the carvings are in the shape of Balinese gods or goddesses although you will find a wide range of other designs. Other favourite depictions come in the form of stories and characters from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata. Traditional Balinese stone is usually a bluish-black colour as the island is volcanic. You can also order custom-made pieces although these will be more expensive.
If you want to experience the best of the Balinese traditional arts then a trip to any one of these areas of the island is not to be missed. If you are not looking for anything in particular then there are also a wealth of tours that will take you to visit several neighbouring villages in one day and you can often also go behind the scenes and learn how the pieces are made.