Mas Village, an Oasis of Wood Carving Handicraft

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WOOD carving handicrafts can be found at many places in Bali. However, the center is at Mas village, Ubud subdistrict, Gianyar. The village nestled in the area of international tourist resort of Ubud has been famous for producing sculptures and masks from the past until these days. It occurs at strategically location at tourist routes. From Denpasar, it is only about 20 km and about 10 km from Gianyar.

Wooden handicrafts produced by the residents have made the village famous as a cultural village. Aside from sculptures and carvings, the village also has a relatively classical art. Along the road at the village, visitors will encounter a row of art shops functioned to market their products, ranging from traditional, abstract and modern style handicrafts.

Uniquely, every art shop employs skilled labor as carver, sculptor and engraver from outside Mas village. Such atmosphere becomes the main attraction for tourists visiting the village. “It causes Mas village to be visited by tourists every day,” said I Wayan Muka, Chief of Mas customary village to Bali Travel News, not long ago.

Popularity of Mas village as the center of wooden handicraft has took place since long time ago. Sculpture works made by the artists like Ida Bagus Nyana from Kawan hamlet has uniqueness, so that many people want to purchase it for their private collections. His works are also now on display at Tilem Art shop. “Generation of Ida Bagus Nyana is Ida Bagus Tilem,” he said.

Besides, the sculptures of Ida Bagus Badra currently on display at Adil Art shop also provide a creative nuance for Mas village. Similarly, there are the works of the other artists like Doyotan and Roja from Tarukan hamlet.  Made from jackfruit and ebony, the artists of Mas village typically make the sculpture with the figure of Tintia, Dewi Ratih and Men Brayut. “They are sculpture artists from Mas village who were very famous in the 1930s,” said Muka.

Amidst the rapid growth of the sculpture handicraft, in the 1960s appeared a famous mask craftsman named Ida Bagus Glodog. His profession was then continued by his children such as the late Ida Bagus Sutarja, Ida Bagus Ambara and Ida Bagus Anom. “Then, Ida Bagus Anom has some students where I am one of them,” said Muka proudly.

In addition to being well-known as the center of sculpture handicraft, from 1980s Mas village then developed into traditional mask handicraft. The development keeps on running until now.

The masks made belong to traditional style like in the form of King Dalem, Patih, old figure, Bondres, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the others. “Since the year 2000, the modern style mask began to flourish offering the abstract motif. Even, such kinds of mask have spread to overseas. For example, the masks have the motif of two-faced man or three-faced man,” he said.

Unfortunately, the art profession has been abandoned by many people because they have owned the other profession. Today, only 25 active sculptors remain to survive, including Wayan Suba, Wayan Molog and Wayan Buda. “Meanwhile, some carvers change profession into construction labor, handicraft businessman and the others,” revealed Muka frankly.

Meanwhile, the active mask makers only remain 5 people including Wayan Muka. Some of those craftsmen make their own design, while some others remain to use traditional pattern. “Those masks are sold to dancers in Bali and foreign buyers,” added Muka who has frequently made exhibition overseas like in the United States, Germany and other European countries.

This Mas village consists of 12 administrative hamlets and 4 customary villages with a population of 15,000 people. “Among the population, 90 percent deeply involves in painting, sculpture and mask,” he concluded.

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