Wednesday, July 22, 2009

hand embroidery, Balinese style

If wood carving were the artistic domain of men, women are traditionally associated with the fine art form in embroidery. In pre-colonial times however, Balinese women were known to go topless. Fine cut and pierced or lace embroidery may not exactly be a Balinese art after all in a historical perspective. The fact remains that when Dutch mores of modesty were implemented early in the 20th century, the requirement to be fully clothed in public was met with resentment by women and going bare was used as a form of protest.


In modern times, Bali has already fully adopted full clothing, especially in the context of Indonesia being a predominantly Muslim country. Like the rest of the nation, Balinese costume wear is derivative of the kebaya blouses native to the Javanese.


But despite being late in the game, Balinese women, judging from the quality of lace work displayed in several artisan shops spread all over the island, already have become master embroiders in their own right.


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