DENPASAR (indo.com): The history of Bali's painting was
started long before Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet came
to this island. If you are interesting in the origins of
Bali's painting then Klungkung is the right place to start
exploring. Your mind will fly to the golden age of the Gelgel
Kingdom in the 15th century, when the painter started to
become famous in the palaces.
And there are two places in Klungkung where you can enjoy
and learn "The real Bali's classic paintings". First, the
well-known of the Hall of Justice, Kerta Gosa. The canopy
of the building was established in 18th century and is fittingly
painted with scenes from Tantri and the Panji; stories of
horoscopes and divine retribution for sins on earth line
the ceiling in concentric circles with obvious attention
to detail and superhuman effort.
They were painted by Kamasan artists, and only Kamasan artists
are allowed to restore them today. The first generation
of Kamasan artist that had the first chance to paint in
front of the King was Sangging Mahendra.
Under the reign of King Dewa Agung Made, the king of Gelgel,
ordered him to make paintings based on wayang puppets and
thus Kamasan painting was born. From the beginning, Kamasan
painters followed a folk-art style. The king had ordered
the creation of formalized composition: beautiful, refined
and ornamental. The main purpose is not only for decoration
but as well as a historical record.
The painters were also farmers. In the morning, they worked
the fields. Ten in the afternoon when the sun was too hot
they took their painting tools and started to express their
themselves. Often they worked in a group to produce a painting.
All material that is used in this process is totally from
nature. The colors used were white from bones, black from
soot, red from Chinese cinnabar, yellow from ochre clay,
blue from indigo and brown from red oxide clay. And they
painted on only the finest cotton that they starched with
rice flour. They used bamboo brushes and pens to produce
their magnificent art works.
When the Dutch came, many foreigners came to this island
and bought Kamasan paintings to take back overseas. So it
is no surprise that many Bali's classic paintings decorate
many walls abroad.
The second place to enjoy Bali's Classic paintings is on
Gunarsa Museum in Banda Village, Klungkung, where you can
see some of Bali's painting that had been shipped abroad.
This is the private collection of Nyoman Gunarsa, a painter
from Klungkung, who spent his money and time to bring back
the paintings to their homeland.
"I want the next generation to enjoy their heritage works
and to learn about the riches of their ancestor's culture."
Gunarsa said. "This is my way to dedicate my service for