a passion for Balinese woodcarving

Art Deco Bali blog is created by Sipke van de Peppel, collector of Balinese woodcarvings and colonial printed matter related to the Dutch East Indies. Since 1993, when I traveled through Java for two months, I’ve been interested in the arts and crafts of Indonesia. Especially the refined wood carvings of Bali appeal to me because of the great craftsmanship and the fascinating mythological stories behind these works of art.


  • Woodcarving by I Made Gerembuang (collection Tropenmuseum)

In Bali, wooden statues have been made for temples and palaces for centuries. My own modest collection focuses on the period between 1930 and 1980 when a new style emerged from the interaction between local and Western artists, who came to Bali in 1930s. Among them were also some Dutch artists, such as the painters Rudolf Bonnet, Willem Hofker and Auke Sonnega, and the sculptor Louis van der Noordaa.

Pita Maha
In 1936, European and Balinese artists jointly founded the artists’ association Pita Maha – which literally means ‘Great Spirit, the guiding inspiration’ – to promote and protect Balinese arts and crafts. Woodcarvers were encouraged to portray scenes from everyday life in Bali. These everyday subjects, such as an old man with a gamecock or a beautiful lady grooming her hair, were popular with the tourists visiting the island.

The Balinese sculptors gradually evolved from community artists creating traditional sculptures for temples and palaces to individual artists working for the fast growing tourist market. Their stylized wood carvings, inspired by the international Art Deco style from the 1920s and 1930s, are now sought after collectables.

Colonial ephemera
Just as Balinese artists were influenced by Western art, there were also many Dutch artists who were inspired by the arts and cultures of the former Dutch East Indies. On this site you will also find “colonial” graphics and other examples of this mutual influence.

The posts on Art Deco Bali blog are my personal thoughts about Balinese wood carving and about the statues and publications in my collection. So they may contain errors or misinterpretations. Please let me know if you see one or if you want to add interesting information to a blogpost. Of course you can also contact me if you want to know more about one of your own statues or if you want to sell a Balinese wood carving. I’ll be happy to make you a good offer.

Contact me

If you have a question about my blog or if you’re looking for information about one of your own statues, please fill in the form below and send me a message. Or just send an email to info@artdecobali.blog