"Balinese Art is the first comprehensive survey of Balinese painting from its origins to its present place at the forefront of the Asian art scene. It may be surprising to learn that the contemporary painter who commands the highest prices in Southeast Asia's hot art market is not Chinese but Bali-born Nyoman Masriadi (1973- ), and this book demonstrates that his work draws on a long and deeply-rooted tradition. This book surveys two hundred years of stunning artwork. The author shows how Balinese painting has followed its own distinctive trajectory, but one that has many features in common with other artistic traditions. Its roots lie in Indian art and religion, which came to Bali over a thousand years ago, as well as in ancient Javanese culture, and it has also drawn on interactions with other Asian arts, particularly those of China, and later Western art. From these sources flows an aesthetic tradition that includes stories from the ancient Indian epics as well as themes from Javanese mythology and the religious and communal life of the Balinese. Starting with a discussion of the island's aesthetic traditions and how to look at Balinese art, the book goes on to present pre-colonial traditions in painting, some of which are still practiced in the village of Kamasan, the home of "classical" Balinese art. However, the main focus is the outpouring of new styles starting in the 1930s and how these gradually evolved in response to the tourist industry that has come to dominate the island and, by the end of the twentieth century, to the forces of globalization. Balinese Art acquaints readers with the great masterpieces and master artists of Bali. The final chapter considers the most important artists today and so serves as a primer for the contemporary art scene."--Publisher's description.