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Desire, Divine and Demonic: Balinese Mysticism in the Paintings of I Ketut Budiana and I Gusti Nyoman Mirdianaby Michele Stephen
Synopses & Reviews
This original and innovative book challenges many of our long-held assumptions about traditional Balinese religion. Drawing on data from visual art, mythology, esoteric texts, and public rituals, Michele Stephen identifies a core of important mystical themes at the heart of Balinese religion and demonstrates the striking parallels between these and Indian Tantric thought. Desire, Divine and Demonic begins with an introduction to the problems of defining mysticism in Bali, a discussion of prevailing scholarly views concerning the nature of Balinese religion, and a brief description of the link between art and religion in Balinese culture. What follows is an intriguing analysis of two series of paintings by contemporary Balinese artists I Ketut Budiana and I Gusti Nyoman Mirdiana, who specialize in mystical and mythological scenes.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing on visual art, Balinese mythology in oral tradition and written texts, Balinese texts outlining esoteric teachings, and her own and others' observations of ritual practice, Stephen (anthropology, La Trove U. Australia) argues that the Balinese religion as it is practiced today is a local expression of Hindu Shivaitic Tantric philosophy. The cultural forms of expression are Balinese, she says, but the recurring themes parallel classic Hindu concepts of the cosmos and the forces that constitute it.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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