This beautifully carved wooden figurine of a topless lady is made by the woodcarver Ida Bagus Tjetig from Mas. The sculpture depicts a kneeling, bathing woman, drying her hair in the sun. She looks up at the sky and rubs her hands over the wet hair on her shoulders. The stylized pose with emphasis on her long arched back and protruding breasts gives the statue an erotic charge.
The carving is of excellent quality. The woodcarver has made optimal use of the properties of the dark sonokeling wood. Notice how the grain lines follow the curves of the body. Smaller details like the hands and feet are cut very precisely and naturally. But most striking is the blissful look on her face.
Bathing girls have been a popular theme in Balinese woodcarving since the 1930s. They are often depicted half-naked because it used to be customary for Balinese women not to cover their breasts. The statues were very popular with tourists and fit well with Bali’s image as a virgin paradise.
This wood carving was made in the second half of the 20th century, probably in the 1960s or 1970s. The elegant design is reminiscent of Western Art Deco sculptures from the 1920s and 1930s.
Wood carving of a bathing woman, signed: Ida Bagus Tjetig, Mas, Bali. Height: 24 cm, wood: sonokeling, period: 1960-1980.