Calling All Spirits: Wild and Mysterious Bali

Welcome to beautiful Bali, Island of the Gods. In Bali, the spirit world and the human world intersect at every corner — in every doorway, on every street, temple, workshop and home.

Morning is announced by the calls of roosters, but the day rightly begins with prayer. In the predominantly Muslim country of Indonesia, the island of Bali is mostly Hindu, with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and the animistic beliefs of indigenous populations woven in.

Everyday life in Bali unfolds to the rhythm of ritual and prayer. Offerings to the gods, known as Banten, are everywhere. The beautiful offering of Canang Sari, a basket of pandan leaves, bamboo sticks, vibrant plumeria and frangipani, are left on shrines or on the ground to please the gods. Incense, betelnut, tobacco, and rice are offered up readily.

But everything in Bali is geared toward balance, harmony and connection, which means good spirits, as well as bad, have their place. From the tallest, most holy mountain of Gunung Agung, to the rivers, graveyards and even the luxury resorts, space is made sacred by ceremonies, spiritual rites and prayer.

Handmade in Bali

It would take a lifetime to explore all the wonders of Bali. Here are just a few that reveal the richness and beauty of this stunning island paradise:

Masks

Guardians, protectors, spirits, deities — the sacred world inhabits the human realm in Balinese masks, hand-carved with exquisite detail and incredible artistry.

From left to right: ‘Naga Basuki’ by Made Mulyani, ‘Crowned Princess Sita’ by Komang Agus, ‘Morning Glory’ by Gung Gus

Jewelry

Depictions of animals, faces of the moon, feathered wings in openwork silver — Balinese artisans tap into the spiritual, as well as the playful, in the handmade jewelry they create.

From left to right: ‘Natural Moonlight’ necklace by Made Wardika, ‘Peacock on Parade’ ring by Wayan Neri, ‘Angelic’ earrings by Nyoman Rena

Batik

With its elegant patterns, rich symbolism and ancient techniques, Indonesian batik has earned its esteemed place on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

From left to right: ‘Late Morning’ robe by Saktut Raitawati, ‘Pyramid of Flowers’ chest by Gunadi, ‘Wine in the Garden’ shawl by Yuni Kristina
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