The unique and stunning masks used in Balinese rituals are explored in great detail in Balinese Masks. Masked performances are an ancient and integral part of Balinese rituals and are much more than mere spectacles for audiences. The masks serve both as visual aids in the portrayal of Bali's courtly legends and as harnessers of invisible forces. As members of their own village communities, the masks are given a chance to speak and move around and be entertained by their human servants in parades and temple ceremonies. The great variety of Bali's masks, many of them sacred and rarely displayed, and the dance performances within which they appear, are well represented in this book. The spectacular detail and craftsmanship of the masks, revealed in Paul Schraub's stunning photographs, together with an informed text by Judy Slattum on their artistry, symbolism, religious significance, and manufacture, will take readers on a fascinating visual, spiritual, and dramatic journey into the sacred rituals of Bali. A foreword by Hildred Geertz further explains the significance of the masks and their role in Balinese village life.
Judy Slattum is an educator who writes frequently on Bali and conducts cultural tours of the island with her husband, I Made Surya, a Balinese mask dancer. She was curator of the Balinese Traditional Masks exhibition at the 1991 Festival of Indonesia in the US and of the touring national exhibition. She lives in Northern California. Paul Schraub is a photographer specializing in art glass and tabletop photography, in addition to fashion and portraits. He lives in Santa Cruz, California. Hildred Geertz, Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, is the author of The Javanese Family, Kinship in Bali (with Clifford Geertz), and other books and articles on Bali.