The Origin of Kamasan Painting Style
Kamasan painting style, which is known as the pioneer of Balinese painting is a classic painting style that based on shadow puppet characters that its roots can be traced back to Majapahit Empire in Java. Here is a semi-historical account on the origin of Kamasan painting style.
During the reign of King Waturenggong (1500 – 1559 AD) Bali was in its golden age, the center of the Balinese kingdom was at Gelgel, near current city of Klungkung. It was said that the princess of Blambangan in East Java had incomparable beauty and the King Waturenggong requested the princess to be his queen. In response to this request, the princess sent an artist to draw the picture of the king, unfortunately the artist was ordered by the King of Blambangan to make an ugly drawing of King Waturenggong. Seeing this ugly drawing the Princess thought that King Waturenggong was really that ugly so she refused to marry the King Waturenggong.
Infuriated by the refusal, the King Waturenggong launched an attack to the Kingdom of Blambangan and conquered this ill-fated kingdom. The soldiers of Bali did not come home empty-handed, they confiscated some of Blambangan work of arts, one of them was a box of leather puppets. This leather puppet which is known later as wayang has become the inspiration of the Kamasan Painting style. This painting style was started at Kamasan village, which is not very far from Gelgel, the center of Balinese kingdom only 1 km south of the current city of Klungkung or Semarapura.