Stone carvings were mainly used to decorate temple and palaces and the carvers had much more leeway their use of subject matter than the artists and illustrators. There is little difference between the iconography decorating temples and that of private buildings. Gateways represent the dividing line between the inner and outer world sand as such is the recipients of some of the most fantastic carvings. As well as, portraying deities and demons, the carvers included many scenes from public life and there are many temple surfaces enriched with the antics of the Dutch Colonists, including scenes of bicycles, drunken parties, car breakdowns and even aero planes. Bali's modern-day centre of stone carving is the village of Batubulan situated halfway between the towns of Denpasar and Ubud, Gianyar. Although you can see excellent examples of Balinese stone carving all over the island, the temples in the North tend to be much more creative (with the exception of Pura Puseh in Batubulan). If you plan to tour northern Bali, it is worth taking the time to visit Pura Meduwe Karang in Kubutambahan, Pura Dalem in Jagaraja and Pura Beji near Singaraja. See Bali Road Map (centerfold) for locations. In order to see the work of Balis most famous stone-carver and accomplished artist, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, visit Pura Sagen Agung in Ubud.
Wood carving, like stone carving, has traditionally featured largely in temple and pa ace architecture with little free standing 'sculpture' work produced commercially. Immaculately carved demons and mythical beings decorate pillars, door panels, linters and window shutters with the aim of protecting t buildings from evil intruders. Scenes of legendary figures placed within floral décor set a more pleasant and educational tone.
When producing tools and objects for everyday use, sculptors had a much freer hand in choosing subject matter. With the arrival of European influences, wood carving started to develop along more innovative and commercial lines. Although there have been noteworthy carvers, for example; I Nyoman Cokot, Ida Bagus Nyana and Ketut Nongos, artistic integrity has suffered as a result of the commercial boom in the tourist industry. These days' whole villages specialize in producing certain styles of work. The village of Mas, near Ubud, is probably the best known for its carvings of female figures, Buddha's, characters from Hindu epics and the traditional Topeng and Wayang Wong masks.
influenced by the Western use of perspective and everyday-life subject matter, the Ubud style is one of the most 'Expressionists' of all the Balinese schools. Despite this, Ubud art still retains many traditional features including attention to detail and very stylized characters. Among the better known Ubud artists are; Anak Agung Gede Sobrat, Ida Bagus Made, I Gusti Ketut Kobot, Dewa Putu Bedil and Made Sukada.
Strongly Wayang based, this style involves hundreds of intricately painted representations of Balinese life filling every available nook and cranny of the canvas. Batuan artists like I Wayan Bendi, Ni Wayan Warti and I Made Budi, make much more of a statement about life in Bali, with subject matter that includes everything from traditional village activities to camera-toting tourists, even surfers Earlier Batuan artists, Ida Bagus MadeTogog and Ida Bagus MadeWija, dealt much more with the darker supernatural side of life, with people depicted as extremely vulnerable to the spirits and powers of nature.
Keliki art is very similar to the Old Batuan Style with the one exception being size; Keliki paintings measures 20cm by 15cm.They contain scenes of mythical and Ramayana characters engaged in battle, good versus evil, on sinister backgrounds. Keliki artists also follow the tradition of the old Wayang artists in that they seldom sign their work.
From this village, on the outskirts of Ubud, a new style sprang up during the 60's that concentrated on just a few natural components like; birds, insects, butterflies and plants. These paintings tend to be more realistic and less expressive than the Ubud style.
One of the most striking things about Bali is the rich variety of cloths and materials that are to be seen in thousands of shops throughout the island. However, only a small proportion of these are indigenous to Bali. The myriad of batik clothes and sarongs available everywhere are mainly imported from Java. Large proportions of the woven cloths (lkat) found in and around the Kuta/Legian, area, are imported from the islands of Sumba and Flores. Bali does however, have a very rich textile industry of its own.
The beautiful Songket fabrics worn by performers of traditional dance are a good example. In Songket, gold and silver threads are woven into the cloth to create complex motifs of birds, butterflies and flowers. Sometimes they use so much gold and silver that the underlying cloth is barely visible. Endek or wet ikat is another common method used in Bali. In weft ikat weaving, the weft threads are dyed to create the design and then woven with plain warp threads.
These cloths are recognizable by their abstract designs and bright colors. The least common form of weaving to be seen in Bali is the Geringsing, or double-ikat and it is perhaps the most sought after. This is when both the warp and weft threads are dyed to their final designs before being woven together. With the exception of certain areas in India and Japan, this weaving technique can only be found in the small Bali Aga village of Tenganan, East Bali.