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Masks of Bali : Between Heaven and Hell

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Product Details


  • Talisman Publishing Pte Ltd
  • Two volumes, 612 pages full color
  • 280 X 300 mm (Portrait)
  • Format: Hardback with Slipcase
  • Pub Date: January 2023
  • ISBN: 978-981-18-5251-0

This magisterial two volume set of books with a foreword by Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia, is the standard work on an ancient Balinese artform that has fascinated the outside world since the early 20th century. Richly illustrated with more than one-thousand images, it represents the fruit of more than four years of dedicated work by a team of experts including photographer Doddy Obenk and designer Ni Luh Ketut Sukarniasih who have diligently researched archives and collections around the world. The main texts consist of an essay by I Made Bandem, a renowned Balinese dancer and scholar, on still living dancing traditions. This is supplemented by a detailed history, written by Bruce W. Carpenter, tracing back the origins of this remarkable performance art to the pre-Hindu era. Other texts concern sacred never before photographed masks and biographies of famous mask makers and dancers. The gallery, a separate volume is 360 pages in length. It is an illustrated compendium of Balinese masks from the 16th to 20th century sourced from great museum, institutional, private and temple collections with extensive captions and supplementary information. This book is not only for scholars or those specialised in Balinese studies but also a general audience including those interested in international performing arts, sculpture, Asian art and history.


Prof. Dr. I Made Bandem

Born into an illustrious family of mask dancers in Singapadu, Bali, Bandem’s dancing talents were recognized early. After graduating from college in Indonesia, he would go on to get a master’s degree at UCLA and PhD in musicology at Wesleyan before returning to Indonesia where he was appointed the rector of the National Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta and director of the Indonesian College of the Arts in Denpasar. Highly respected as an author, scholar and educator, Bandem is considered a world authority on Balinese dance and drama. In 2022 he was presented with a UNESCO award as a representative of Indonesia’s intangible cultural heritage.

Bruce W. Carpenter

Author and co-author of more than twenty volumes often groundbreaking publications on the arts and culture of Indonesia, Anglo-American art historian, Bruce W. Carpenter, is an acknowledged expert in his field, who has also curated several museum exhibitions and has played a key role in multiple projects. The Masks of Bali is a continuation of his determination to produce large and important books on long neglected artforms in this archipelagic nation. A long-time expatriate he lives in Sanur. Together with Bandem and others, he is working tirelessly to preserve and promote Indonesian and Balinese art.

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