For residents in the tiny village of Mas, in Indonesia's Bali, traditional wood carving is a way of life, involving everyone.
For residents in the tiny village of Mas, in Indonesia's Bali, traditional wood carving is a way of life, involving everyone. The majority of the villagers try their hand at woodcarving at some time during their lives.
They begin as apprentices when they are very young-sometimes under ten years of age. They work on their skills for many years before they are considered to be cravers.
There's a strong Hindu influence to the carving as Bali became a refuge for remaining Hindus when the rest of the archipelago turned to the Islamic faith.
The carvers concentrate on various work-- from Garuda, which in the mythological bird that is a carrier of the God Wuisnu-- to contemporary carvings of made women. Most of the carvings originated from Hindu mythology although the carvers now place their own interpretations on work.
It's a lucrative trade as much of the work is sold to the tourists. A one foot high carving of a woman normally fetches about $200 (GBP100 sterling which a more intricate mythological figure, may make up to $1,000 (GBP500 sterling).
The more simple carving requires about three weeks work but anything complicated could take several months to complete. The wages of the woodcarvers depend on their age and their ability, but it is normally about $2 (GBP1 sterling) a day.