Rice terraces

Ubud, known as the real Bali, has spectacular rice terraces located in and around central Ubud. The most famous rice terraces are located in Tegallalang, just 20 minutes from Ubud. It has taken over 1000 years of improvement to create the terraces, which are known as “sacred architecture”. It is work of pure mastery. The terraces function as water irrigation system that conserves soil and preserve water. The water system directs the flow of water through a complex of channels, canals and tunnels to reach each rice field within the area. Each area is owned by Subak who are responsible for the management of the water system, the flow of water and the schedules of planting. They also organize the ritual offerings to the rice temples and ensure the land is clean and free from disturbance. There are many “field shrines” dedicated to the Balinese Rice Goddess Batari Sri Dewi. In traditional or natural farming, farmers use natural methods to help grow crops. “Dirty ducks” are a common sight in the rice fields. They clean the fields of pests and fertilize the land. The rice terraces are widely considered one of the most beautiful man-made “wonders” of the world.

The Setia Dharma House of Masks & Puppets

The newest museum to enter the world-stage is the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets. Founded by visionary Hadi Sunyoto, who wished to create a space to preserve the disappearing art of puppetry and mask-making, the House of Mask of Puppets displays its magnificent and rare collection in a number of traditional Javanese Huts called Joglo. Prior to 2006, the exhibition spaces were private places for household activities, but the name “house” remained to signify the new museum. Situated on the beautiful landscape of Kubu Bingin Cultural Village in Gianyar, the House holds the largest collection of masks and puppets in the world. With over 4500 pieces from countries such as Indonesia, Africa, Malaysia, China, Myanmar, Cambodia and Japan, the House can engage historians and culture enthusiasts for hours!
Current exhibitions include rare masks and puppets from around the world.These masks are the faces of commoners and great kings, demons and saints, beastly creatures, and divine deities and historical figures that mostly reflect an appreciation toward Hindu religion. Some of the most beautiful masks are from the region of Madura which feature beautiful garlands hand-carved around the face (pictured in the main image “Visit Museum Year 2010”)

The featured golden is from Bali. This beautiful mask depicts an image of Jero Luh, who is also called Barong Landung Luh, a Chinese princess in the Dalem Balingkang story.

There are some truly rare masks as well, including two masks that remain in their original “bark” form and carved only with two slits for vision.

A striking display is the Christian divinity collection of Wayan Kulit figures from Java.

The House showcases the largest collection of Wayan Kulit or shadow puppets in the world. As well, they display the largest collection of wooden carved puppets (left). Each face is intricately painted with expressive features that seem to invoke the spirit of the puppet and transform the lifeless body into animated form. The puppet’s clothing is finely detailed with rich colour patterns, beading and lace. Even in their fixed position, the puppets have spirit. Like a reed flute, they are waiting to be played so they can dance to life before your eyes.

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets is being transformed into an official museum this year. This is one of the most incredible attractions in Ubud.