Sunday, April 8, 2007


    Although stone carvings were mainly used to decorate temples and palaces, the carvers had much more leeway in 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 worlds and as such are 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 Colonialists including scenes of bicycles, drunken parties, car break-downs and even aeroplanes. Bali's modern-day center of stonecarving is the village of Batubulan, situated half-way between Denpasar and 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 unrestrained (with the exception of Pura Puseh in Batubulan). If you are planning on visiting Northern Bali it is well worth taking the time to visit Pura Meduwe Karang in Kubutambahan, Pura Dalem in Jagaraga and Pura Beji near Singaraja. In order to see the work of Bali's most famous stonecarver and accomplished artist, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, visit Pura Sagen Agung in Ubud.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Batik is a unique form of art, a combination of artistic expression and technical skill which can be only found in Indonesia. Using beeswax, paraffin and multi colour dyeing, batik is done on pieces of clothing. Among the other claims of fame, Yogyakarta is also famous as "Batik City". Based on the technique used, batik falls into three categories: hand waxed, hand stamp and the combination of the two. Hand waxing is done with a tool called "Canting" which is made of brass or copper. For the hand stamp batik, a copper stamp with various motives is used, while combination batik is the result of combining the "Canting" and the stamp technique. The quality of batik is fetermined by the intricacy of the motif, the technique used and the kind of the basic cloths. Originally, both the colour and the motive were very much influenced by the surrounding nature and belief system such as plants, especially flowers like the jasmine, animals like the mythological Garuda bird and divinely inspired creation motifs. The dominant colours stand for two basic elements, This symbolic background produces special batik design in Yogyakarta and Surakarta areas with black and blue as the dominant colours in traditional batik.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Yogyakarta Silverworks

Silver handicraft started to flourish at the reign of Sultan Agung when there were much demand for silver and gold items at the sultan's Palace.
Two kinds of silvercraft are produced : white and black silver. Black silver is called tarnished or oxzydized silver.
Originally burned silver was a distinctive feature of Kotagede. Kotagede is located about six kilometres from the city centre. The small town is famous as silver town, beside the royal cemetery of Panembahan Senopati site.

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