Setia Darma House of Masks in Bali

Museum of Traditional Masks and Puppets near Ubud

The Setia Darma Masks & Puppets House is a unique museum with a mission to preserve some of Indonesia’s most colourful heritage items. It serves as a great cultural and educational part of tours to central Bali, ideal for families and culture lovers, with its broad collection of items from around the globe. The house currently houses over a 1,000 masks and over 4,000 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, Latin America and Europe.

This unique ‘courtyard of houses’ to be precise, is located in the cool and quiet village of Tegal Bingin in Sukawati, 17km south from the main Ubud hub and roughly an hour’s drive from Denpasar. Artist-curator Agustinus Prayitno decided to establish the house in Sukawati, the district famous for its community of Balinese woodcarvers, mask makers and sculptors. The courtyard comprises five traditional wooden Balinese pavilions and Javanese ‘joglo’ and ‘limasan’ houses that each house vast collections in different categories. The houses are spread over 1.4 hectares of an undulating paddy landscape and surrounded by well-manicured tropical gardens.

Read More

Setia Darma’s first joglo features traditional shadow puppets, some quirky and contemporary such as Prayitno’s own ‘self portraiture’ and that of Barack Obama. The latter was crafted during the US presidential elections and will surely become an historical curio. Other specimens line the walls based on origin, and after a while you’ll find that each bear unique characteristics, yet draw inspiration from similar sources, such as the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Specimens from around the world include Sicilian stick puppets dating back to the 16th century and marionettes reminiscent of Pinocchio, together with highly detailed Bunraku idols from Japan from the 18th century.

The second house features Indonesia’s most iconic heritage in puppetry, the leather shadow puppets. Made from cured cowhide, these puppets, known as ‘wayang kulit’, are the ones you typically see at temple anniversaries or during ceremonies celebrating Balinese rites of passage, performed by a ‘dalang’ or puppet master at night behind a flickering oil lamp and screen. The characters similarly draw from great Hindu epics, and convey words of wisdom and lessons of good conduct to audiences. The collection in the third house comprises a rich variety of traditional and usually sacred masks, while the fourth has more contemporary specimens collected from local village craftsmen.

The fifth wooden house is all about Balinese puppets and masks, from ancient and sacred to the contemporary. The former includes the intricately carved masks and full-body costumes of the barong and rangda, two mythical characters from the Calonarang legend that depict the forces of good and evil respectively. As you go from house to house, you will be inspired by Bali and Indonesia’s rich culture and history of storytelling, alongside their parallels from different cultures from all over the globe. Each mask and puppet is accompanied by detailed descriptions. What’s best is that admission is free. The insights are priceless, especially for kids who could use a break from comic book superheroes and TV.

Setia Darma House of Mask & Puppets

  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 08:00–16:00
  • Location: Jalan Tegal Bingin, Banjar Tengkulak Tengah, Kemenuh, Sukawati
  • Tel: +62 (0)361 898 749 3
Hide Map Show Map
Rate This Place: ( votes)

Tours You May Like

Related Pages

Blanco Renaissance Museum

Blanco Museum

A palatial residence and gallery, once of the late maestro Don Antonio Blanco, on a hill overlooking the Campuhan Valley Read More...

Ubud Royal Palace

Ubud Royal Palace

The focal landmark of Ubud, the Ubud Royal Palace is one of the region’s most prominent highlights, located at the Read More...

Goa Gajah Bali

Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave

Gajah Gajah is an archaeological complex with historical significance, great for a brief stopover on tours to the Ubud Read More...

Bali Spirit Festival

Come to Bali this March for a week-long annual gathering of like-minded yoga and wellbeing practitioners, together with Read More...

Bali Safari & Marine Park

Bali Safari & Marine Park

Bali Safari & Marine Park offers a fun day out, and serves as one of the island’s largest and most visited animal Read More...

Where to Stay in Nusa Dua

Bali’s most exclusive beach resort area, Nusa Dua, is home to many of the island’s five-star international luxury chain Read More...

Best hotels around this place

Hotels.com

Talk to us!

Help us keep this site up-to-date by sending us your comments:


Loading...