Traditional Paintings, Wood & Stone Carvings, Jewellery, and Textiles
The Hindu and Buddhist traditions of India first made their way to Java and then to Bali around a thousand years ago, providing an important cultural foundation for Balinese society. Javanese culture drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including that of the Chinese and Malay peoples. Bali infused these various cultures, giving rise to what is now known as Hindu-Javanese art and craftsmanship. Many Balinese artists of old possessed multiple talents, including painting, sculpture, and even dance. Art in Bali was and is deeply rooted in the local religion and was created solely for religious ceremonies. Bali’s profound spiritual traditions are inextricably linked to artistic expression as a means to express devotion and fulfill obligations towards the deities.
Paintings, carvings, jewelry, and stonework all over the island reflect the Balinese people’s distinct style. While Ubud may be the most well-known area for Balinese artwork today, the majority of artists have always lived and worked in the smaller villages that have become known for their particular specialty. These days, most vacationers opt for mass-produced works of art and handicrafts as mementos and gifts for friends and family back home. But there are also those who prefer to take their time and travel to remote locations, such as villages, to purchase authentic artworks directly from their creators.
Balinese art has become increasingly commercialized in recent decades, influenced by tourism despite being authentically based on the artwork used for spiritual practices and temple decorations. Many works by Balinese artists have been shown in prestigious American and European galleries, and the island’s artisans export their wares worldwide.