The culture of Bali is unique. People say that the Balinese
people have reached self-content. It is not an exaggeration
that when a Balinese is asked what heaven is like, he
would say, just like Bali, without the worries of mundane
life. They want to live in Bali, to be cremated in Bali
when they die, and to reincarnate in Bali.
It does not mean that the Balinese resist changes. Instead,
they adapt them to their own system. This goes back far
in history. Prior to the arrival of Hinduism in Bali and
in other parts of Indonesia, people practised animism.
When Hinduism arrives, the practice of Hinduism is adapted
to local practices. The brand of Hinduism practised in
Bali is much different from that in India. Other aspects
of life flow this way.
Traditional paintings, faithfully depicting religious
and mythological symbolisms, met with Western and modern
paintings, giving birth to contemporary paintings, free
in its creative topics yet strongly and distinctively
Balinese. Its dance, its music, and its wayang theaters
, while have been continually enriched by contemporary
and external artistry, are still laden with religious
connotations, performed mostly to appease and to please
the gods and the goddesses. Wood and stone carvings, gold
and silver crafts parallel the development of paintings,
gracefully evolving with external forces to enhance their
batik of Bali owes its origin to Java, and inspired
the development of ikat
and double ikat.