home > bali art > crafts > metallurgy >


Blacksmiths -
  Metallurgy

The earliest and most remarkable specimen of metallurgy present on Bali is the famous pre-Hindu bronze kettle gong, the largest of its type in the world, in the tower-like shrine in the back of Pura Penataran Sasih in Pejeng.

This mysterious hourglass-shaped artifact, nearly two meters high and adorned with eight stylized heads, survives from Indonesia's Bronze Age, which began around 300 BC. It is not clear if the Balinese possessed the sophistication to forge the gong themselves, or if it was imported from Indochina.

The Balinese, as recently as the 1950s, excelled in working precious and semiprecious metals into many more instruments and accessories than they do today.

At one time the coppersmiths and copper casters of Banjar Budaga (near Klungkung) forged or cast brass bells, incense holders, and lamps which were used as ritual objects by all classes of priests.

They also fashioned handsome gold and silver plates, vases, knives, and scissors for cutting 'sirih'. Now, only the ornate rings, bracelets, earplugs, ear pendants, and flowers for dancers' hair made from hammered and chiseled gold are still crafted. Nowadays metalworking is a common occupation, for the most part a craft of souvenir and jewelry makers.

Copyright © 2002, Bali-Island.com Indonesia