The Undiscovered Bali

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Beautiful items from Bali? That’s expected in a major exhibit such as "Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance." What isn’t are the layers that announce unpleasant truths or cause visitors to squirm a bit. The museum is calling this “the first in-depth examination in the United States of Balinese artistic traditions.” Those traditions are steeped in centuries of influence from Hindu and Buddhist practices, but also from Dutch colonialism. European influence can be seen in the elaborate furniture that became a valued part of Bali’s royal arts. On the other hand, Dutch rule divided the country along harsh economic lines, which the museum acknowledges in a wall text that explains how the “tourist image” of early-20th-century Bali differed markedly from the reality of widespread poverty and health challenges. Tourists have always seen Bali as paradise on Earth, but the Balinese also emphasize rituals that celebrate the end of life. This exhibit features a video of an elaborate cremation ceremony, where the bones of bodies are washed in the open and reassembled in a sarcophagus. It’s not for the faint of heart. All this is balanced by other displays that emphasize the kind of sublime beauty that Bali is known for — textiles, instruments, masks, and puppets. The stories these objects tell never get old.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 15. Continues through Sept. 11, 2011
 
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Bali beaches
Bali beaches

Yet there is much to tempt even the most dedicated beach bum away from the surf here on the Island of the Gods. And for the beach bum who likes a touch of luxury, Bali is sure not to disappoint. Here is a list of the top five luxury experiences and adventures in Bali - from accommodation to expeditions, from journeys of the body to journeys of the soul, find it all on this one island sanctuary.

 

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