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Bali and its Culture
Textiles of Bali

The Batik of Bali provides another venue of showing the artistic excellence of the Balinese people. Their beautiful designs, inspired by religious mythologies to everyday encounters, spread throughout the world. Originally stimulated by Javanese motifs, dominated by wayang and other mythological characters, contemporary batik artists have also experienced artistic development that parallels that of paintings. Modern batik artists express themselves through various subjects, from objects of nature such as birds or fish to daily activities such as cremation (ngaben) procession or tourist attractions as well as religious and mythological stories, accompanied by modern interpretation.

The Ikat and Double Ikat are two amazing techniques that the Balinese have perfected. A piece of Ikat cloth is woven in such a way that the ink is 'tied' (which is what 'ikat' literally translates to) in one of the two threads. A Double Ikat recursively repeats this technique; both threads contain ink. The ink will bleed to its neihboring area, and the result is a piece of cloth with distinctive, subtle patterns.

The village of Tenganan is well known for its superb double ikat work. A good piece of double ikat may take months to complete, and it usually belongs to the family heirloom. Certain patterns, such as the black and white, checkered, double ikat are considered to have protective powers against the evil spirits. Thus, they are used a lot to cover or to dress statues that guard the entrance to a temple or sacred masks like Barong.

A piece of ikat shirt or a batik wrap-around, each can be had for as little as a few dollars, are must have. Local garment shops will gladly supply you with these or any other kinds of Balinese garments that might interest you.


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