An exhibition called Bali – Dancing for the Gods is on at the Horniman Museum in London, UK, from the 16 April 2010 – 8 January 2012. It features impressive works such as colourful Rangda and Barong masks, costumes, puppets, wooden sculptures and textiles portraying stories of Hindu Gods. These artefacts reveal temple and secular dances’ central role within Balinese culture. Wayang Wong costume. Wayang Wong performances are based on the story of Sita’s abduction by the demon king Rahwana and her subsequent rescue by Prince Rama and his allies. The masks are sacred and kept in the Temple.
This exhibition explores the culture of Bali and in particular the way moral values and a respect for the environment are passed from one generation to the next through the stories and dance of Balinese Hinduism.
In 1961, the Horniman Museum received a gift of historic film and photographs belonging to Beryl de Zoete, who was co-author, with Walter Spies, of the classic work Dance & Drama in Bali. Their visual exploration of the performing arts of Bali provides a unique insight into the life and religion of the Balinese people in the 1930s.
In the exhibition, film and photographs from the archive provide the backdrop for a journey through the cultural heart of Bali, showing both change and continuity in the life of this jewel in the Indonesian ocean.
Highlight objects include a full gamelan orchestra, lavishly decorated with gilded carvings of flora and fauna, and a spectacular life-sized funeral bull. Dance costumes, masks, puppets, sculptures and textiles show the religious context of performance in Bali.
news sources: Telegraph, Horniman Official Website
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