Saturday, February 7, 2015

Traditional dance and artisan workshops on last day in Bali

We spent much of our last morning watching a traditional Balinese Barong and Kris dance. Music was provided by a band playing a variety of percussion instruments. A holy man in white garb blessed the stage and some of the performers, and then the action began. One of the first characters to enter the stage was a very convincing monkey. His gangling walk, tree climbing and general antics and hilarious facial expressions soon endeared him to the audience.

Much of the play was mimed, with few words and some singing here and there. The story depicts the eternal fight between good and evil, as represented by the mythical characters Barong and Rangda. It is a convoluted tale, but thoroughly entertaining, with its elaborate and brilliantly colored costumes, and precision dancing. Needless to say good triumphed over evil.

At our next stop, a silver workshop, we watched as all kinds of intricate, filigree silver jewelry was made. Silver is not native to Bali but comes from other islands in Indonesia. The finished pieces were taken to another room for careful polishing and from there to an upstairs showroom. We hope the workers receive a fair share of the final sales price of the pieces, which was considerable.

We ended our morning at an outdoor wood carving workshop, one of many in this particular village. As we arrived two men were busy carving while their wives sat off to one side gently sanding. They were working with native crocodile or hibiscus wood. The hibiscus comes from large trees found in the jungle. Interestingly, the trees with the yellow hibiscus flowers produce a greying wood while the red hibiscus produces wood with yellow tones. Woods such as ebony, sandalwood and mahogany come from other Indonesian islands. We walked around a vast sales area and admired the beautifully intricate and ornate final products, which included large and small figures, masks and even furniture.

Now it was goodbye to Bali as we boarded our ship and joined 200 other passengers for the next leg of our adventure.



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