Bali is blessed with unique art and culture that includes dance,music,custom and daily life.Culture in Bali is highly influenced by Hindu culture because 90%of the population is Hindu. It is also known as the ‘island of God’,’Island of thousand temples’ and ‘Paradise Island’.
This article will cover all the aspects that has contributed to make Bali as heaven on earth.
Starting with basic element that is culture-
Culture In Bali
It is a different combination of tradition, spirituality, religion and art. Religion is an integrable part of art and it seems that almost every local person is passionate artist who do not waste time and whenever he/she gets time .They spend time applying skills and images which have been passed down from generation to generation and understood from a very young age.
They represent their skill learnt from their ancestors through beautiful and meaningful paintings, excellent carvings, weaving, and also they decorate public areas with rice articles or some art piece made by local people using rice straight from the fields. This shows how these people are attached with their traditions.
Bali is known as the land of thousand temples as more than 5,000 temples are created here . Which is the biggest attraction for all the devotees visiting here.As they’ll visit such beautiful religious places.
A large number of activities is performed in these temples that includes classical dance, cockfighting and music show.Opening door in each temple face sea , sunrise or sunset ,they are constructed in such way in order to invite all the positive energies .This is the reason why people feel relaxed when they visit such places.
Tanah Lot Temple
It is one of the most famous known for its unusual position atop a rock formation at the edge of the sea. Although the temple is visited at the end of the day when all the pandits gather together and perform the Maha Aarti.
Influence of Art In Bali
As you have seen Balinese are very artistic,this has contributed a lot in its foundation :
Art not only mean drawing or painting it can be dance , drama, music and weaving also. This is well shown by balinese.
Everyone had his craft that he performed where class or caste has no reason to exist. Artists make their craft to serve their community and temple not for their benefits ,they are doing this selflessly.
Dance and drama are inseparable part of temples if any ceremony or event occurs then these activities are the first to be performed just after or in the beginning of the ceremony.
Now we’ll see different aspects of art one by one:
Bali theaters mostly shows the stories from Ramayana which is very common .Also sometimes on some other holy book.
Drama in Bali has mostly inspires from a local chronicle called Babad. Drama is estimated to first emerge in 1820. The generic term for traditional theater, as it is enriched with the style of painting, is wayang, which literally means shadow.
- Wayang Kulit
It is the most well known and most often performed theater . This is a dance with shadow puppets shows featuring intricately cut figures, originally made from buffalo parchment, called kulit, meaning leather or skin.
Wayang is spread over most of Indonesia as a theater show since a long time ago. Based on an old manuscripts of Bali, Wayang has been performed somewhere around the ninth century. This puppet is mostly performed to entertain, but some Wayang are only performed in ritual ceremonies. Balinese Wayang are partitioned into two types; Wayang Wong and Wayang Kulit.
•Wayang Golek, here a wooden doll puppets are operated from below by rods.
•Wayang Arja, in this show a puppet opera set to music telling romantic stories.
There are many differing styles of dance and all can be greatly powerful with many of the performers entering true trancelike states. Balinese dancing has originated with religious dance, although it has become increasingly theatrical, with characters that were once devils or demons now more for the enjoyment of the crowd.
Among the many different styles of Balinese dance, the following are the most important:
• The Ramayana Monkey Dance, it is the most famous and most powerful dance form. A circle made of 150 men, wearing only a checked cloth and chanting rhythmically "cak cak cak cak cak" while throwing their arms up in the air, dancing around the circle or rocking on the ground, over and over again ,in to and fro motion. It tells the tale of a monkey king and their warriors.
• Barong and Kris,it is a dance form that has been mainly opted for tourists and there is a fight between good and evil with the King of the Spirits (barong) overcoming the evil queen after the wicked queen has cast on a spell on the Barong and his supporters are making them stab themselves with their own daggers.
• Legong is a graceful dance form performed by young Balinese girls.
• Topeng,it is a form of a masked drama with tales of mythical kings and their gods. A narrator, who wears a half mask, tells the story with their gamelan with fight, dance, and a bit of humor.
• Baris is a traditional war dance form in which a solo dancer will depict the feelings of a young warrior prior to battle.
Bali is renowned well of its profusion of musical performances and the variety of its instrumental instruments.
• Gamelan: It is played by a group of players with xylophone-like instruments, drums, and gongs that can range up to 50 in number. Each gamelan orchestra has their own specific tuning and is considered as a single entity.
The music of western Bali, for example, uses gamelan made from bamboo, also called as jegog, which grows to its huge sizes and can be taken up to four men to carry one instrument. There are some 25 types of varying sizes of gamelan in bronze, metal, or bamboo.
• Gong Keybar :Another most popular music form.
Clear rules depicts the shapes, colors, and even the positioning of the characters placed on the left, evil on the right, just as they are in a performance .
• Batuan, it is a strong Wayang-based and involves about hundreds of painted images of Balinese life.
• Pengosekan style deals with plants, nature,and insects and has emerged in recently as the 1960s with influences that could certainly be ascribed to "flower power."
• Keliki is very much similar to an old Batuan style showing mythical characters engaged in the struggle of good against the evil.
5.Textile and weaving
The traditional textiles of Bali and Indonesia offers a great variety that includes woven, twined, batiked, tie-dyed, embroidered, and embellished works of art .And if you visit Bali then you must see them it cannot be left out.
•Throughout Indonesia, traditional textiles are ritual objects, stored wealth, trade goods, bridewealth, and tokens of prestige.
•The effect creates a jagged borders in one color and bold patterns in a wide range of different color palettes. Most ikat now is made in Gianyar Regency and around Klungkung.If you want to see the weaving process you can visit this place and can buy things that you like at a very cheap rate .As you are buying directly ,the quality is also very high.
•The quality of the antique pieces has never matched by the contemporary weavers, although a revival is underway. Antique and high-quality new pieces fetch thousands of dollars.
•Geringsing textiles are woven only in Tenganan, by a painstaking double-ikat technique, in this both the warp and weft threads are patterned prior to weaving.
6.Other activities contributing to the culture of Bali are:
•Pita Maha & the Modern Style
Bali is largely influenced from such holy books and has adapted them very well.Spies had originally been enticed to Bali from Java at the behest of the royal family.
With the Bonnet and one of the local princes, Surapati,Cokorda Gede Agung, he established the Pita Maha, an artists' cooperative that allowed artists to develop their own expressive style into and to even sign the canvas.
•Balinese beliefs & its history Balinese Hinduism, a combination of Indian Shivaistic, Buddhist traditions and local customs dominates the daily lives of Balinese.
7.Ceremony in Bali:
These are the traditional ceremonies of Bali which must be visited by you.You’ll get to know more about their culture and believes.
• “Ngaben” is on of the most important ceremony in Bali. Because human body consist of 10 basic elements.
One 5 elements we call as Panca Maha Bhuta or five macro cosmos element: Pertiwi (soil), Apah (water), Teja (fire), Bayu (air) and Akasa (ether or space). And the other 5 memories elements known as Panca Tan Matra which is the five element that makes us from our sense .
8.Food also decides the traditions followed by people.
The delicious cuisine in Indonesia is as sharp as it is diverse. Nothing edible in the whole world has escapes the cooking pot and each region puts a twist on traditional cooking processes.
Unlike other typical Western-style dining in courses,choosing from savory main dishes, Indonesians eat buffet style, condiments and sauces to add to rice. Cooks offer a medley of contrasts, with individual dishes falling into the spicy or mild, crunchy or soft, hot or cold, and sweet or sour categories.