Ubud is well known for their gallery of arts both wood carvings, painting, music and dances. Today parallel with the development of Ubud as tourist destination those arts are experiencing fast development in the sense of style, tradition, and capacity of production. In the past the art might in the sense of art for art, but today the art for business is growing. Furthermore with the coming of various designs from outside Bali has really added the rich pattern and coloration of the art without leaving it's original character. Most artists working on art such as carving, painting and even on handicraft are more and more intensive in skill and time. Some galleries and museums in Ubud can be visited any time.
Ubud In The Past
The town of Ubud was probably started around the palace, now Puri Saren, Ubud. Just around 500 meters to the west of the palace is the famous holy Campuhan river tributary. There is no sufficient data to disclose when actually the first settlement was started which has developed into current Ubud. If we start from the palace it would be just recently, about 18th century, after the declining of Klungkung kingdom, when various vassals in Bali took the semi-independency. Since this time Bali was splitted into at least 9 main vassals kingdoms, and during 19th century more and more smaller kingdoms were sprang out. But all those small kingdoms still considered Klungkung palace as the highest ruler in Bali. In their language Klungkung palace is their head ( Bali = sesuhunan, terminology created by Dutch emmisary in 1929 including king new titiles ). Ubud was probably one of those small kingdoms, or at least a family of king of the main vassals who got privilege on the area of Ubud.
The name of Ubud is also used to refer an administrative area of Kecamatan government. Kecamatan Ubud is under the second level of government of Gianyar. Gianyar in the past was one of the main vassal of Klungkung with first king I Dewa Keramas. In second level of government of Gianyar or also called Kabupaten Gianyar has the smallest region in Bali, but the most populated area. Gianyar is the biggest city in the area of Kabupaten Gianyar, and Ubud is the second. Both Gianyar and Ubud cities are the center of Balinese artists, while Gianyar city is more in the business city, while Ubud is more in art work. Later Ubud art works have developed also into a bustling business, even in the tourism business Ubud has been developing far ahead leaving Gianyar like undeveloped city. Ubud as a name of a village in the past which is now the town of Ubud consist of many Banjars for example Banjar Peliatan, Banjar Tebasaya, Banjar Pengosekan, Banjar Lod Tunduh, Banjar Tegalalang, Banjar Munut, Banjar Sanggingan and many others.
Among Rich Ancient Remains
See from the history, both Gianyar and Ubud are relatively new sites, compared to Pejeng and Tampak Siring area. Pejeng and Tampak Siring are areas located between Gianyar city and Ubud town. Especially along the area between Pejeng and Tampak Siring is rich with ancients remnants such as Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu ancient reliefs, Pusering Jagat temple, Penataran Sasih temple, Kebo Edan temple, Arjuna Metapa temple, and the site where hundreds of mini stupas contain of Buddhist mantram printed in clay tablets were found. The area is only around 4 kilometers from Ubud centers. Further east area along the river of Pekerisan various ancient sites were found from a scratch of chisel up to the magnificent Gunung Kawi temple near Tampak Siring. From Ubud to Tampak Siring is around 10 kilometers to the direction of north east, and to the area of Kintamani. Around Tampak Siring have been found also various ancient sites such as Tirta Empul Water temple, Mengening temple, Pegulingan temple, and many others. Actually the vicinity of Ubud was a long time settled area. Historians supposed that the center of Balinese kingdom in the past must have been around Pejeng or Ubud area. Since there is no historical fact so far been found to trace this city, until now it is still an hypothesis.
In 17th century when one of the Balinese king defeated east Java kingdom of Blambangan, now Kabupaten Banyuwangi, a wayang collection was brought to the palace in Klungkung. This painting inspired Balinese artist to paint first true painting in Bali. This type of painting was developed in Kamasan village near the palace of the king in Klungkung. This type of painting until now is still produced by the village artists and is called " Kamasan Painting Style". If we look carefully the earlier Ubud painting style was very similar with those from Kamasan. Another style that brought the character of Kamasan Painting was born in a village called Batuan, only around 6 kilometers from Ubud. It was probably at the same time that both Ubud and Batuan developed the style of the painting in the sense of more creativity, disregarding the traditional rules of a Bali artist. Even in Ubud the development has been going further. Since the the beginning Ubud painting style has been developing into a new style called Young Artists style, developed by western artists, and a new tendency among artists to paint with perspective of light, so it is very clear the concept of distance and close objects.
The development of painting and carving art in Ubud was
headed by royal figure of Tjokorde Gede Agung Soekawati, who initiate the formation of Ubud artist's association called " Pita Maha " This association was aimed to give consultancy and aid to the artist in their effort to increase their welfare. He also invites many western artists to stay and work in Ubud and in 1926 made them involve in the association, such as Colin Mc Phee, Walter Spies, and Rudolf Bonnet. With these western artist Ubud artists were able to introduce their work to the world outside Indonesia by organizing many exhibitions. Pita Maha is the beginning of Ubud fast development as the center of Art. Ubud become more and more renown abroad, and the admiration of Ubud painting and carving become more and more spreaded out among artists and even common people. This was brought Bali into a serious discussion everywhere as a new paradise for the cultural attraction. Tourists started to influx from Europe, Australia, and United States.
Local artists in Ubud also welcome the coming of tourists in Ubud by establishing private museums, galleries and art shops. Now there are many Art Galleries and Art shops that are already famous in the world. The development of Ubud as a tourists attraction inspired the development of tourism facilities. So, Ubud become the paradise of hotels and restaurants. Now various hotels from local non star hotels up to 5 stars hotel grade are available in Ubud and the vicinity. Some guests also stay at people house or hire a small villa just for their family. The latest guest were probably doing business in Bali legally or illegally. Our suggestion doing business illegally brings a complex and unending problem, although can quit of government tax, so better not. To mention a few of the hotel in Ubud or basically Ubud hotel in various categories below are some examples.
Ratna Warta Museum
Ubud painting and wood carving museum located in the center of Ubud, just on the west of Puri Saren, the Ubud Palace
Ubud painting museum, located near Campuhan, around 1 kilometer from the center of Ubud
Agung Rai Museum
Ubud and other Indonesia style painting, located at Pengosekan village, around 600 meters from Monkey forest street of Ubud.
Agung Rai Gallery Ubud style painting gallery, Peliatan village, Ubud
Agung Raka Gallery Ubud style painting gallery, Peliatan village, Ubud
Nyoman Ada Gallery Ubud style painting gallery, Tegalalang village, Ubud
I.B. Oka Gallery Ubud style painting gallery, Lod Tunduh village, Ubud
Adhi Gallery Wood carvings, Mas village, Ubud
Marka Art Gallery Wood carvings, Kemenuh village, Sukawati, Ubud vicinity
Jaga Gallery Wood carvings, Kemenuh village, Sukawati, Ubud vicinity.
Other painting Styles
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.