Desa Mas is belong to the administrative area of Kecamatan Sukawati, Kabupaten Ginyar, 20 km away from Denpasar city, 30 km from Kuta and 45 km from Nusa Dua area. The status of Mas is at the level of " Desa " which means a unit of settlement authonomous in organization traditionally relating to the religious, social, and many aspects of traditional life. Normally a Desa is consist of many smaller unit of settlement which has it's own traditional organization called " Banjar ". Yet a Desa is not nacessarily consist of many Banjar organizations, yet the most important requirements to be considered to be a level of Desa is ownership of at least 3 temples, cemetry and a meeting hall. In a very simplified way the Banjar can be translated into a village. That is the existence of Desa Mas which is by chance this level of settlement unit consist of many Banjars. By location Mas is only 2 km away from Ubud town, and even today there is no clear border between them. When one drives to Ubud via the older road which passing Sukawati will meet Mas first before Ubud. Yet today with many roads accessing Ubud, one can reach Ubud from west sides do not passing Mas, and Mas is located on the south-east.
Interest of Desa Mas
Today we know Desa Mas, starting from the junction of the road from Denpasar, Mas and Gianyar is a complex of artist studio at the left and right sides of the main road leading to Ubud. Big exhibitions of wooden carving arts in each of the gallery house with artist working at the outside. Famous wood carving gallery such as Adhi Art Shop, Agung Raka Art Shop, Puri Mas Art Shop, and many others with beautiful building desiged in Balinese architecture and decoration. At the early stage of wood carving creation in Bali actually was not only Desa Mas, but more importat is Banjar Sumampan, located around 3 km away from Mas. Banjar Sumampan has been well known for it's original Balinese black wood carving or ebony wood carving. It is belived that in more bigger scale of carving work was first born in Sumampan, but like the market, then Mas was the etalase of the art work. Until late 1970s most of wood carving produced in Bali was still in the theme of superhuman figures, such as sculpture of god and goddesses, demons, and the figures mentioned on the epic of Mahabharata and Ramayana. With the fast and strong development of torism in Bali, the traditional creation of wood carving also undergone great changes, where temporary design or new creative design appear every times. This new creation or design first brought by the visitors from various countries to be produced in wood. This new influx of designs also encouraged the creativity of local artist to create various new design. The maestros of wood carving of Bali born such as I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, Tjokot, Nyana, and others. The lively era of Bali wood carving marked this development bearing an era of acculturation between various nations. All this has been always the result of meeting dthe spirit of art with the business oriented production. Business orientation has really nurtured the growth of wood carving and changed the unique spirit of Balinese art. This is because the new tendencies of mass production ignored the meticulous aspect of a wood carving made in Bali.
Change of Old Spirit
New trend of wood carving shifted from detail strokes into simple yet consistent format that is needed in mass production when a given name should refer exactly the same entity. To see until 1998, wood carving in it's most flourishing voloume and diversity of production had given a new promising works to Balinese people. The administrative area of Gianyar was the most advantagous area of Bali as the center of wood carving production, and not only Desa Mas known as the center of the production, but extended to many Banjars or Desas, such as Desa Kemenuh, which is neigboring with Mas, Nyuh Kuning also close to Mas, Banjar Tengkulak, Desa Bitra, and many production centers can be recorded. As unit production can be found in all areas of south Bali. It seemed that working in wood carving production envisioned as promising future at that time. Countries that bought Bali wood carving during the era was United State of America, Dutch, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. Smaller number worth noted is Australia, Japan, Austria, and England.
The birth of big exhibitions building in Mas, Kemenuh and Batubulan for Bali wood carving in fact had encouraged various traditional wood carving related decoration to grow. From Java the production of Wayang Golek, known as marionnette shipped to Bali in a great numbers including leather puppet from Yogyakarta, moulding decoration and household effects from East Java, various gift creation from metal candle holders to ash tray or wood and clay or ceramic streaming to Mas, the Asmat traditional art, Lombok pottery, Japara furniture, and many others. Bali had become an exhibition stage for other Indonesian traditional wood carving or wooden decorative products, regardless of various weaving craft from Kalimantan, East Java and Lombok which are used as filler in the containers for shipping the wood carving and furniture. It worth mentioning that the import of bamboo from Java and South Sulawesi to meet the demand of wooden furniture which was growing very fast with its center is Desa Belega was uncountable volume. The development of wood carving in Mas has given great number of job not only for Balinese but Javanese and Lombok at the main area and others in smaller scale.
Type of Wood Carving
As mentioned above at the beginning was only figures related to god and goddesses, or animal as mount of god or goddesses. Later with the coming of international travelers various designs were produced in wood including various animals very unfamiliar for Balinese such as Hyenas, Coyotes, Kangoroos, Armidallas, Mexican faces or masks, various shaped of frogs, and others. Local creative arts such as flowers, banana, palms, motor bikes, and anything that can be reproduced in wood. While from Java were wayang golek, small and medium size moulding souvernirs, bowls, vases, ash trays, hangers, finger rings, bracelets, ceramics, and various animals as requested by handicraft exportes from Bali.
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.
- Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting see description
- 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 see description
- Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. see description