Driving around Bali it would difficult not to be impressed with
the majesty of the intricate stone carvings that adorn the thousands
of temples that dot the island. This stone is known locally as "paras"
and is not really stone in the Western sense. Rather paras is volcanic
ash mixed with sand and clay and compressed over the centuries into
a hard material similar to sandstone or soapstone. As such the material
is quite soft, decays easily and moss seems to grow on it overnight
- so if you are walking through a rice paddy and happen to see an
old, blackened, moss covered statue do not think it is centuries
old - it may be 5 or at the most 30 years old !
Traditionally stone has been carved into the shapes of demons and
deities to decorate temples and courtyards of royal families - rarely
does the average Balinese have any stone relief in his living area.
Stone carvers have been around a lot longer than painters and have
never been subject to the same strict rules as painters. The imaginations
of the stone carvers has always been allowed to run riot i.e. gods
with multiple sex organs and even scenes incorporating everyday
life with today's technology such as airplanes are now carved into
To get a good idea of the range of items for sale a trip through
Batubulan is a nice day spent. Whether or not you are ready to ship
a 500 lb. statue back home is up to you but almost any statue would
be focal point of your garden.