A passion for Balinese woodcarving

I Made Gerembuang, 1925-1935, Pita Maha style. This expressive image of a squatting old man represents the moment between life and death. (Collection Tropenmuseum Amsterdam)

Welcome to my new blog on woodcarvings from Bali, Indonesia. High quality wood carvings have been made in Bali for centuries. My modest collection focuses on the period between 1930 and 1980 when a new and local Art Deco style emerged through the cross-pollination between local and Western artists.

Western and Balinese artists united in the Pita Miha group, which organized exhibitions at home and abroad. Woodcarvers were encouraged to develop their own individual style and portray scenes from everyday life in Bali. These everyday subjects, such as an old man with a fighting cock or a young 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 free artists working for the emerging tourist market. Their statues are now sought after collectables for enthusiasts all over the world.

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