Kamasan Village is a traditional painting community in Klungkung, East Bali. It is renowned as the place where one of Bali’s famous painting styles originated. Throughout the village you can visit many different painting galleries and family-run workshops. Here, artistic skills have been passed down through generations. Although works will vary subtly , the Kamasan style is prevalent throughout, featuring visual narratives in the form of wayang (shadow puppet) figures inspired by episodes from favourite Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
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The Kamasan Village of Balinese Painters
While Kamasan Village refers to a small community of painters, it holds a place of great significance in the history and culture of the kingdom of Klungkung, dating back to times when the painters were commissioned by the royal courts. Much of the oldest Kamasan style paintings can be seen adorning the ceilings and walls of the Kerta Gosa ‘hall of justice’ in the centre of Semarapura town. The artform has persisted until today, with much of the detailed lines and shadings in natural dyes of red and ochre applied onto cloth, bark, and more recently, canvas.
A unique aspect of Kamasan paintings in public installations is that they are painted collaboratively, hence are anonymous. The production of these works also follow strict rules, such as when to start a project, what to feature and how to depict certain episodes, since they all carry religious significace. You can also witness the creation of more contemporary art pieces at various studios throughout the village and even take up a brush and learn some strokes yourself. A fine quality, 1-meter scroll of Kamasan art sells from around IDR 2.5 million apiece.
- Location: Kamasan Village, Klungkung, East Bali