In Bali, Mahabharata Epic Presented in Various Arts

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Statue of Pandavas
Statue of Pandavas at Gianyar Town Park
  • MAHABHARATA epic has enriched the inspiration of many artists in Bali to express their works of art.
  • The statues of the Pandavas, for instance, can be seen widely displayed at public spaces on the island

The epic story of the Mahabharata, written by Maharishi Vyasa about 2300 years ago, is still alive and well. Various important events colored the journey of the Pandavas in maintaining and running the government of Hastinapura, including the war between the Pandavas themselves and the Kauravas.

Broadly speaking, this story describes human efforts to maintain the running of the government in accordance with the applicable royal rules based on the teachings of dharma or truth.

Throughout 18 parvas or chapters, this epic provides a lot of useful advice and philosophy so that mankind always struggles and lives on the path of truth. Otherwise, destruction or suffering will surely await. From the essence of this story also compiled Bhagavad-Gita which is considered as the fifth Veda by Hindus.

The Balinese Hindu community, for example, inherits the masterpieces of their ancestors in this Bratawarsa (India) land and continues to preserve them until these days. Apart from reading and imitating positive things, they also re-express it through various works of art. There are ballet that takes fragments of this story or highlights a character or event. These stories are often performed at the annual art event named the Bali Arts Festival.

In addition, the Mahabharata epic is also presented in the art of puppet shadow performances, sculptures, paintings, reliefs, psalmodies, ornaments of holy places in sheets of cloth and other forms.

Of course, with the presentation of the various art forms mentioned above, people are expected to always remember and carry out good things in everyday life.

At home, they can see wayang or puppet paintings. In Bali, the famous puppet paintings are the Kamasan style (Klungkung) and the Nagasepaha glass painting (Buleleng).

These paintings are made in the studios of each painter and are widely sold in the art market in tourist destinations across Bali. For examples, visitors can see the example of Kamasan paintings at Kerthagosa, Klungkung.

Meanwhile, statues of the Pandavas can be seen on Pandawa Beach, South Badung. Under the cliffs along the road leading to the beach are displayed statues of Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna and Nakula and Sahadewa. However, if you are traveling in the Gianyar or East Bali area, you can stop by at the Gianyar Town Park. To the north of the field or at the entrance, the statues of the five Pandavas are neatly displayed.

For the purposes of various types of sculptures, you can find them in the Batubulan area. One or more of these statues can decorate or brighten up your room or garden at home.

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