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Home » Arts & Culture, Dance, Drama & Music, Religion

Art and Religion  

by on Wednesday, 4 July 2007No Comment | 1,776 views

In Bali, dances, dances dramas and music are almost as indispensable part of a sacrificial ritual as the offering itself. Like an extravagantly supplemented canang offering, they are offered to the gods at home and temple festivals. Like incense, music rises to heaven as a vehicle for the uranian powers to come down to man.

With rare exceptions, Balinese dances, dance dramas and music are functional arts, not art for art’s sake. All the music, performed and composed collectively, all choreography and all dances are ultimately rooted in religion. There is virtually no major ritual even which is not supplemented or enriched in one way or another by music, dance or theatre; in many way one must even speak of compulsory parts of a ritual cycle, of dramatized sacrifices without which a yajna would not be proper and complete. (Urs Ramseyer. The Art and Culture of Bali. Museum der Kulturen Basel and Schwabe & Co: Verlag, Basel, 2002).

We shall have to emphasis again and again in the course of this book the fact that all dancing in Bali is religious in the sense that it is connected with temple and organic in the life of the village, which is inseparable form of temple rites; for all the dance in Bali is an offering. (Beryl de Zoete & Walter Spies. Dance and Drama in Bali. Oxford University Press: London. 1973)

Dances and Dramatic performances form an important part of nearly every ritual on Bali. They are seen as integral part of Balinese religion and culture, and employed as an expression of one’s devotion to the gods (ngayah) as well as a means to instilling centuries-old values in each new generation of Balinese, through the medium of movement, music and sound. (Rucina Ballinger. Bali. Periplus: Singapore.1993)

“Art is identical with religion, art creativity is a performance of the religious teaching” this quotation indicates the unity of art and religion in Bali. It is hard to differentiate between art and religion without deep understanding on art and religion of Bali. Since every ceremony contains art performance in it and every art performance is loaded with the values and teachings of religion. This is the main idea of the unity of art and religion hat has to be perfectly understood.

As a matter of fact, Balinese art has a very sacred function since in it is created to serve the function as a means of promoting the religious teaching and regulated by the philosophy and values of religion that why the Balinese art is considered a “performance of the religious teaching. (I Made Yudabakti and I Wayan Watra. “Filsafat Seni Sakral dalam Kebudayaan Bali” or “The Philosophy of Sacred Art in Balinese Cuture.” Paramita; Suarabaya. 2007).

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