Balinese chronicles, Danghyang Nirartha (Padanda Sakti Bahu Rauh) came
to Bali from Java at the end of the 1 5th century and made his home in
this village. This priest, from whom almost all of Bali's Brahmanas
claim descent, gave Balinese Hinduism the form it now presents,
including its highly complex offerings and spectacular cremation
rituals. He became court priest of the Gelgel ruler.
Bali are associated with his name, for he made long trips on foot
through the island. Most of the villagers of Mas (which means "gold")
are Brahmanas who honor their ancestor in the Pura Taman Pule built
upon the site of Nirartha is residence.
olden days, the fine arts of woodcarving and painting were reserved
almost exclusively for royal and religious purposes.
they are also
produced for enjoyment and commerce. Men of every caste are artisans,
and in Mas live some of the most talented. The best known is lda Bagus
Nyana, who in 1974 received a high national reward in recognition of
his art. For many years he has not sold his beautiful and original
carvings, which may be seen at his home. His son, lda Bagus Tilem, is
one of several accomplished sculptors working at Mas.
in masks for the Topeng and other dances. Do not be surprised when you
visit an art shop to find a corps of woodcarvers making statues-the
Balinese do everything in groups, and many of the young carvers work
under the direction of a master. A carver selects his seasoned block of
timber-often, an ebony from Sulawesi-then shapes the rough form with an
axe. With a mallet and dozens of small chisels, the carving is worked
into its finished form and finally smoothened. The polish is nothing
more than shoe shine. Again, the sculptors begin young. The most
expensive carving is often done by boys of twelve years.
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