Worshipped as the goddess of kwledge, beauty, and the arts, Saraswati continues to influence daily life in the Balinese village of Peliatan. Saraswati in Bali explains how one of the world's most famous tourist destinations strives to preserve its cultural traditions through the ceremonies, shadow plays, and masked dances held at the Pura Madya temple festival as well as the art collection, landscaped gardens, and cultural events at the nearby ARMA Museum. Theater professor Ron Jenkins has studied Balinese arts and culture for more than thirty years. In this enlightening volume, he shares vivid descriptions of the festival and lively interviews with painters, dancers, farmers, kings, and priests to illustrate Balinese beliefs in the sacred power of art and literature. He also documents how ancient texts inscribed on palm-leaf manuscripts suggest that Saraswati's teachings enrich human life with invisible meaning. Anyone interested in the performing arts or world mythology will be fascinated by the way the museum and temple have helped to keep Bali's hidden wisdom accessible in changing times.
Ron Jenkins, a former Guggenheim Fellow, has investigated Balinese arts and culture for over thirty years with the support of the Thomas Watson Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, the Institute for Intercultural Studies, The Wianta Foundation, and a Fulbright Senior Research Grant. He is the author of several books and has translated the plays of the Italian Nobel Laureate Dario Fo for production in theaters throughout the world. He has been a resident writer at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center and written articles for the New York Times, the Jakarta Post, the Kyoto Review, and the International Herald Tribute. A professor of theater at Wesleyan University, Jenkins holds a Doctorate from Harvard University and a Masters of Buffoonery from the Ringling Brothers Clown College.