The Life of a Balinese Temple
Should a temple be seen as a work of art, its carvers as artists, its worshipers as art critics and patrons? What is a temple (and its art) to the people who made and use it? Noted anthropologist Hildred Geertz attempts to answer these and other questions in this unique look at transformations in material culture and social relations over time in a village temple in Bali. Throughout, Geertz offers insightful glimpses into what the statues, structures, and designs of Pura Desa Batuan convey to those who worship there, deepening our understanding of how a village community evaluates workmanship and imagery. Following an introduction to the temple and villagers of Batuan, Geertz explores the problematics of the Western concept of art as a guiding framework in research. She goes on to outline the many different kinds of work - ideational as well as physical - undertaken in connection with the temple and the social institutions that enable, constrain, and motivate their creation. Finally, the art-works themselves are presented, set within the intricate sociocultural contexts of their making.
By: Hildred Geertz