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Directory Home> Bali Products> Bali Art and Crafts Products
 
ART AND CRAFT
 
Panels depicting scenes from human life or hell had to be set on walls in the inferior and impure (nista) part of the temple, and reciprocally figurines of the gods were kept in shrines located in the purest part of the temple (utama). Before a sculptor could start work on a craving, he had to choose a propitious day and time. Furthermore, he could only use a material endowed with religious meaning; this excludes the use of some types of wood. Sometimes a priest has to initiate the start of the carving process to endow the material with proper religious content.

Today, one can still find carvings and sculptures incorporating religious content and purposes. Balinese temples, whether new or those centuries old, are adorned with mythical creatures, spiritual guardians, and narrative scenes from the Ramayana. Balinese culture and sculpture are not two different ends of the poles but a continuum. Hindu art is an imitation of life and history.

The pre-dominance of religious carving did not preclude the existence of sculpture and carving that was non-religious. Relief and panels, particularly in their lower part, as well as some masks, invariably show an astonishing creativity and liberty in style and content. To this should be added the richness and, sometimes, the humor of decorative elements of walls, doors or roofs and utensils such as krisses or betel sets, often depicting part of the real animal and natural life or grotesque human figures. This _popular and even sometimes vulgar side of Balinese classical art was a pool of forms and ideas that played a major role in the evolution of Balinese carving toward its present state.
 
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