Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stone Carving Art in Batubulan - Gianyar

In Bali History, creating art was not seen as a real profession. Art was mainly created for temple decorations and religious festivals to honour the Hindu Gods. And actually, producing arts nowadays is still necessary to serve these Gods, but because of the growing tourism, works of art created in Bali are receiving more and more appreciation.

The know-how and skill of creating Balinese art is gained from inside the families and is passed on through many generations. This way, specialized villages were formed with an expertise on a specific form of art. One of these villages is named Batubulan, which means “Moon Stone” and is located in the district of Gianyar. Batubulan is famous for it’s stone carvings.

Batubulan is a small village with a length of nearly two kilometers and separates itself from the suburbs of Denpasar with many stone carving shops alongside the main road. Driving through the main roads of Batubulan you can witness hundreds of impressive statues made from different kinds of stone. One of these types of stone is called “Paras” which is a mixture of clay and volcanic ashes. These Paras statues have to be renewed every few decennia because the material is quite soft and porous so the statues will not last a lifetime.

You can find a wide range of different statues in Batubulan; from demons that are used to protect temples to life-sized animals like horses, elephants and so on.

I Ketut Wardana

One of these great artists in Batubulan is I Ketut Wardana from the Mayor Art Studio. I Ketut Wardana specializes in statues made of cement and those last a bit longer compared to the Paras-kind statues as mentioned before. In his process to create a statue, I Ketut Wardana creates a wired frame and then he will start to cover it in cement. Then fine details are added at the end of the process with the greatest level of precision.

When you plan a trip in the district of Gianyar or Denpasar or if you’re on your way to Ubud, make sure you pay a (short) visit to Batubulan. When you are heading for Ubud starting from the south like Kuta, Batubulan is basicly on the way there. Because of the small size of the village you only need a few extra minutes to take a look. The Bali Bird Park or “Taman Burung” is also located nearby so it can be a good idea to combine these sights on a day-trip.

Besides creating beautiful statues, this village is also famous for the traditional Balinese dance performances. There is a Kecak theatre just outside of the village and in the mornings you can witness a Barong dance.

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