Information before you go
Just like stone statues, Bali wood carvings are found everywhere on the island. You can see wooden statues placed as decorations in temple complexes however these handicrafts can also be found in decorated doors, in beams of buildings, in accessories such as bowls, spoons and in furniture.
One of the many popular souvenirs from Bali...
Just like any other form of art on the island wood carvings were only found as decorations in temples, pavilions, shrines and palaces. Statues of demons, gods and heroes would be made out of wood or they were carved in wooden panels for religious purposes only.
In the Balinese living quarters none of these decorations were found until foreign travelers around the 1920's took interest in this beautiful art form.
This triggered the Balinese wood carvers to create new forms of carvings which were highly appreciated by foreigners.
Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet, two European artist who had already influenced the changes in Balinese paintings and dances supported the idea of creating wood carvings as a source of extra income.
In the past wood carvings were only used as temple decorations such as in the pavilion
or as wall decorations...
This led to the start of the 'Modern Style' where carvers would create statues of daily life, some realistic while others very funny. Wood carvers would copy each other leading to a quick development of this new style. Ironically though this led to a decline of the quality of wood carvings.
Again Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet stepped in and together with the royal family they created the artists' association 'Pita Maha'. All types of artists would go to this association to present their work in order to receive feedback and to keep standards high.
This way more artists were stimulated to create their own style resulting in different types of woodcarvings.
Even tough it seems like mass production, these statues are hand made....
Today you can find many different styles in Bali. One of the most popular is the 'Elongated Style' which uses fine hardwood which is smoothly sanded. The statue has soft contours and it keeps its natural wooden colour. The most famous wood carvers who've created work in this type of style are from the village of Mas.
Other styles are the 'Driftwood Style' where parts of the wood are carved into animals, demons and plants while the rest of the wood remains untouched.
Many of the artists find their inspiration from abroad and mostly incorporate Chinese and Indian influences into their works.
Besides statues wood carvings are also found
in doors and window frames
If you want to see more different styles of wood carvings and learn about the famous Balinese artists who have created them then you can visit a well known museum in Ubud where everything is beautifully displayed. Besides wood carving this musuems also display many other forms of Indonesian art.
For those who love to shop for high quality wood carvings you can find these in art shops and galleries while at the market there is a huge selection of souvenirs to take home. Great places to do some shopping for the latter option are for instance at the markets in Ubud and Sukwati along the road to Ceking.
Just like any other form of art on the island in the past Bali masks were solely made for religious purposes. Today you can buy all sorts and forms to take home with you.Read more
Even those who hate shopping can't resist admiring the beautiful souvenirs that are sold every where on the island. Souvenirs in Bali don't necessarily look tacky at all.Read more
Ubud Market is one of the popular places to stroll along hundreds of stalls all selling the most beautiful Balinese products. Prepare for some serious bargaining.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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