Litterature and art of Bali
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Gedung Kirtya Museum
Puri Lukisan Museum
Gedong Arca Museum
Manusa Yadnya Museum
Subak Museum

Since 1906 the whole island of Bali had been under control of Dutch colony after the fierce battle to the last blood drop of Puputan Klungkung. Quiet different from most of kingdoms in Indonesia which were colonized through trade agreement but Bali was colonized through long war from the fall of buleleng kingdom in 1846 to 1908, a war of almost 52 years. After around 30 years Bali under Dutch colonization with the center of administration in Singaraja city the condition of the island became more quiet and the life a bit normal, although various kings of Bali had not full freedom to implement their policy and will, at other hand art was developing as if there was no road block, at front of it, either the traditional rituals and religious activities. The flourishing life of art attracted more attention of European artists, while ethnographic uniqueness attracted archaeologists, historian, anthropologists. Their works and reports even attracted journalists, travel writers and then cultural and social interesants.

One of European artists here was Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres, born in Bruxelles ( Brussels ) 9 February 1880. He arrived in Bali with Dutch ship in 1932 at the port of Pabean off the cost of Singaraja city. He continued his travel to south Bali to the small town of Denpasar, a place 85 kms from Singaraja. He hired a house at the border of the city at the village called Kelandis. This house located at the right side of the road close to current pura Dalem Prajurit which is still standing among todays bustling area. As an artist he was so magnified by the nature and culture of Bali, especially dancing artists. He even more interested by Balinese women, that he watched during dance performance. A young beautiful Ni Pollok was a legong dancer at the village. Pollok inspired too strongly to Le Mayeur to create Balinese dancer on canvas with the permission of the dance group leader Pollok and Ni Ketut Nyeneng were potrayed as models of his work. He created many paintings with the model of Ni Pollok and her dancer friends. After 8 months working to create paintings in Bali, as also was his plan, that he would stay only 8 months, he departed for Singapore with his various paintings. He made an exhibition in Singapore and was recorded as big success which might encouraged him back again to Bali after 4 months to create more paintings or at once something going on with his model, Ni Pollok?

Returning from Singapore he stayed at the eastern border of Denpasar town, in a village called Kesiman, which is now at the middle of Denpasar city. The place is one of the king relative palace, now can still be seen on the side of the road. He again looked for Ni Pollok for his model, yet she was not a legong dancer anymore, since she has reached her 17 years who was probably more inspiring found by Le Mayeur. He planned to stay for 2 or 3 years more and looked for places more inspiring, quiet, and natural place. At last he bought land ont he beach of Sanur, the place now stands Le Mayeur museum, just north of Grand Bali Beach hotel. It was here Le Mayeur with his Balinese model working comfortably. It seemed that both have grown the feeling of romanticism, a feeling that so strange that bind two different nation into a deep personal emotion beyond business relation. After 3 years he made Ni Pollok as model here in Sanur both came to agreement for marriage. In 1935 the marriage was came true which was organized in Balinese traditional wedding ceremony.

The marriage of Le Mayeur with Ni Pollok had change the life plan of the painter, who was planned only temporary, then changed into life stay in Bali. He could continue to paint every canvas, and on every painting he created always there is Ni Pollok. That was Ni Pollok, although working as model she was said happy, and her marriage was also happy. Although she was often standing hours under the sun and a bit decisive attitude of her husband in the work, and often bare breast posture she had to do, which was arising slender among men on the village, but she continued.

In 1937 he and wife departed again to Singapore for an exhibition opened with Balinese dance. Among the dancers one was Ni Pollok herself which said to got great applause from the audiences. The money he got, he used to renovate the house. In 1941 when Europe was under war he again made an exhibition in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. His money from these two exhibitions was donated for war fund to England, Belgium, and France. He visited many countries such as India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and others. All the countries he visited always put on canvas the interesting views he saw, and the money he got always used to enlarge and decorate his house. Various paintings created here in Sanur until full in his house, and it was said hat without Ni Pollok he could not have been so productive.

1942 Japanese invaded Asia including Bali which made the whole economic and transportation system paralized, beside the Japanese controlled with suspicion the activities of foreigners, limited their activities and contact. Strong measures also forced on trade activities causing total colap of good distribution except for local products such as rice for the provision of the army. The biggest problem was the Japanese in some places used local people to carry on their policy on harvest control who was said over acting toward their nation to get prize from the Japanese. Those generation who directly experienced the occupation of Japan for 3 years said that it was a total misery and hunger, parting of families due to the forced voluntarily workers ( romu-sha ) and abrupt changes of supervising method from laissez faire to a total and persistent stick deterrence.

As a result the people life was said the most difficult, almost unavailability of food, clothing, health, and other premier daily need. The situation gave direct effect to all field of life not excepted painting artists. Le Mayeur in the absence of painting materials did every effort by using own made paint using carosin lamp residue, wood fire carbon, and any materials for canvas, as it was impossible to find fabric. His creations from this period is not stand against the weather and aging.

In 1956 the minister of Education of Republic of Indonesia Bahder Djohan visited his house/studio and was impressed by his works. The minister decided to give him assistant in preserving his works, in case he would leave this world. With the promise of the minister he even created more and more paintings, decorating his house so as when his property transferred to government would be a beautiful museum of memorial. In 1957 the act no. 38 of donation was signed on behalf by Ni Pollok mentioning that as future memorial, by now wishing to donate a half of his property to the government of Republic of Indonesia. The donation includes movable and unmovable properties. during Ni Pollok still alive she has the right to manage and make money from this property.

Adrian Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres died of cancer in 31 May 1958 in Brussels after his effort to get medical treatment since March that year. His departure to the last resort was escorted by his beloved wife Ni Pollok, the Embassy of Indonesia in Belgium, friends, relatives and distinguished guests. Two months after the death of her husband Ni Pollok back to the beach of Sanur to the house, where she found her love, live on it for 23 years. It could be imagined that how she could overcome her feeling of lost and memory that always clings her day and night needs long long time of dissipation.


Built in Singaraja city, the capital city of Nusa Tenggara at the time. One of Dutch scholar L.J.J. Caron invited kings of Bali and religious figures for discussing about rich heritages of ancient literary spreaded out in Bali. This art works were supposed to go astray or damage in the course of time without giving chance to the people to know or study their values. The meeting was done in Kintamani on June 1928. The forum decided to establish a foundation called " Kirtya Liefrink - Van der Tuuk" to manage the preservation. F.A. Liefrink was the Assistant Resident of Dutch Administration on Bali and Lombok who put an intensive attention to Balinese culture and had written many articles on Bali and Lombok. Dr. H.N. Van der Tuuk, was an historians who built his house on the land what is now Gedong Kirtya Museum He compose the 4 volumes of Kawi - Balineesch - Nederlandch Woordenboek between 1872 - 1894. The museum is dedicated special for manuscripts written on palm leaves as literary heritages of Bali. Here further research on contents, preservation, and socialization are being projected, beside more collection be searched among the private collectors and persuade them to trust the preservation at the museum.


Located in the center of Ubud city. The museum was built by the association of artists. This association later established a foundation in 1930 with the name " Pita Maha" The foundation including artists in Ubud and surrounding, Kamasan, Klungkung and Denpasar. Each area had the coordinator. The pioneer of the association was Mr. Rudolf Bonnet a German artists, Walter Spies a Dutch artist, and two royal family of Ubud, and a local artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. The foundation decided to build a permanent exhibition pavilion which was later known as " Puri Lukisan Museum " This association and it's foundation had succeeded in organizing various exhibition in Indonesia and abroad such as Singapore and French. World war II had stopped the activity and can only be re-started again in 1947. In 1954 the permanent exhibition hall were built on what is now the location of Puri Lukisan Museum. The collection of the museum are mostly the historic style of Bali Painting style. Some works of famous Bali artists and foreign artists living in Bali between 1925 through 1950. Small number of carving arts are also on display. The biggest number of collection is the type of classical Ubud painting and new Ubud painting style. Classical style is the type when Western influence not yet applied.


Located at Bedulu village, Pejeng, Gianyar. The area along the lowland between Tampak Siring and Bedulu, even further south is rich of ancient heritages especially ancient stone carving, and rock cut candis ( hermitages ). The construction of this museum was the idea of R.P. Soejono, an Indonesian archaeologist in 1958/59. The aim was to preserve archaeological findings around Bali, some also by purchasing& from private. Until now the museum has 3000 collections. The type of collection is from pre-history until historical period, and classified as follows:

  • Period of hunter and food gathering,
  • Late hunter & food gathering,
  • Cultivation period,
  • Metal age culture,
  • Historic culture starting 8th century.

So, this museum is archaeological in nature.


The museum is part of Mengwi Temple as place of interest for tourist. The concept of the museum is the preservation of human circle-rites. For Balinese, there are various rituals since a baby is still in the womb of the mother. The most important ceremony are birth ceremony, otonan ceremony ( every 210 days ), tooth filing ceremony, marriage ceremony, and ngaben ( burial ) ceremony. In this museum the materials and tools of these various ritual are preserved, and step by step to be developed to really represent the variations of the rituals. That is why this museum is called Manusa Yadnya, literally means Ritual for Human. On 2 May 1980 started to exhibit the ritual from megedong-gedongan ( just born baby ceremony ) until marriage ceremony. In Jun 1981 completed with burial ceremony including Ngaben and mamukur. Ngaben ceremony is not always followed by cremation ritual. Some areas near the mountain and big temple usually do not complete the ritual with cremation. Here is the step of life-circle rites of Balinese.

  • Magedong-gedongan is a ritual for a baby when it is still in mother's womb
  • Mabuhu-buhu ritual, is for the birth of a baby
  • Ngaroras dina, a ritual of 12 days after the birth of a baby
  • Macolong, a ritual of 42 days after the birth of a baby
  • Nyambutin, a ritual of 105 days after the birth of a baby
  • Pawetonan ( otonan ) a ceremony after the baby reached 210 days, and this ceremony will be regularly repeated every 210 days, such as the birth day
  • Ngaraja Sewala, like initiation ceremony, when the boy or girl considered to get physically adolescent.
  • Mapandes, is tooth filing ceremony
  • Marriage ceremony
  • Ngaben ceremony
  • Mamukur ceremony

Those are the type of the physical aspect of the ritual of human being that are preserved in the ] museum, although in fact this activity is still living in Balinese society.


Located in Tabanan city, 21 kms west of Denpasar. The back ground of the establishment is to preserve the related tools of Balinese farmers as rice grower and using padi ( rice ) as the basic food stuff. This includes the tools used in cultivating land, growing, harvesting, storing, and process the rice into clean cereals which is ready to be cooked. Kitchenette tools are also on display, but we will not discussed this, since this article will be presented at other time especially covering the Balinese culinary program. Some important tools will be described in short below.

  1. Madik or taah, is a cutting blade to clean the bushes or land, especially used in the dry land
  2. Penampad, is a long sword-like blade to clean the wed rice field.
  3. Tengala, is a land cultivating tool dragged by 2 cows, to up-side down the surface of the land. Normally after cleaning of the surface there are small wastes left, and this wastes are buried under the soil by tenggala, so it can be a natural fertilizer when it is dissolved
  4. Lampit, is a heavy block of wood dragged by 2 cows or buffalos, to make the surface of the land after cultivated with tenggala become plain.
  5. Gabag, a tools dragged by 2 cows or buffalos, to clean and sweep the waste remaining on the soil after being cultivated with lampit.
  6. Ganggan, is a handy tool with the same function as gabag.
  7. Lighter lampit, is a tool mostly used in dry land, to make the spreaded seeds of the rice become even, so when it grows the distance between one to an other not to concentrated or the far.
  8. Tambah is a digger, used as handy tool. If one does not have cows or buffalos, tambah is used to up-side down the soil, or to clean the final completion of the planting process. There are 2 kinds of tambah, one is solid plates and other is made with 4 blades. This 4 blades used mostly in the wet rice field.
  9. Petakut, is a scare prop, to make the birds eating rice be scared to go down to the rice,
  10. Kikis, a handy tool to clean the grass among the growing rice, and it is mostly used in the dry land,
  11. Anggapan, is a cutting tool for collecting rice from their trunks,
  12. Gelandar, is a place to dry the harvested rice,
  13. Ketungan, is a scooped out big trees, to form like a canoe. This is used to pounder the bunch of rice, so the cereals will come off the bunch,
  14. Lesung is holed strong tree to pounder the rice seeds, so it is separated with it's hard skin. After being poundered with lesung and alu ( wooden pole ) the rice become clean and ready to be cooked.
  15. Kerumpu or jineng is rice barn or rice granary.

There are some most important tools in Balinese traditional agronomic life.

SPECIAL MUSEUM There are many museum of this nature. To mention a few of them, at least there are 3 museums worth to note here.

Neka Museum Located in Ubud, preserve and exhibit special various painting style of Bali so far have been invented. This museum is owned privately by Mr. Sutedja Neka, a Ubud artist. This museum is famous among painters, anthropologist, and researcher of arts of the world. Arma Museum known also as Agung Rai fine art Museum. Located in Ubud exhibiting not only Balinese paintings styles but various painting from other areas and even modern painting. It is owned by Mr. Anak Agung Rai, an artist from Ubud. Gunarsa Museum Located in Klungkung city, exhibiting Kamasan painting style, which some of them has been painted already 400 years ago. An abstract painting by Mr. Gunarsa are also on display. Mr. Gunarsa is an artist by education.

From : Mengenal Beberapa Museum di Bali, Proyek Pengembangan Permuseuman Bali, Directorat Jendral Kebudayaan, Departement Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, 198/82
Denpasar, January 2002
I Made Terima

Garis Bali

Bali History
Bali Writing
Gunung Kawi Rock Carving
Guwa Gajah Stone Carving
Kerta Gosha Tribunal Pavilion
Le Mayeur Museum
Museum Bali
Traditional Bureocracy
Yeh Pulu Rock Panel


Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.

  1. Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting bul see description
  2. Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century bul see description
  3. Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. bul see description