Book Size: 5.25" x 8"

Pages: 256

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781566560818

Series: Interlink Cultural Histories

Imprint: Interlink Books

Edition: 1

Illustrations: b&w Illustrations throughout

Release date: 02/15/16



A Cultural History


$ 15

“An ideal selection for those who desire very comprehensive details about Bali.” — Library Journal

About this book

Bali is unlike anywhere else. Despite the advent of international tourism, this Indonesian island remains an untarnished cultural gem set in an idyllic landscape.

Spirit-haunted as is the rest of Southeast Asia, Bali boasts a unique mixture of beliefs because Hinduism overlays a much older relationship with the physical world. Nothing is considered to be inanimate. Towering volcanoes, majestic lakes, lush forests, gushing springs, flooded paddies, golden sands and blue seas- all these spectacular features have convinced the Balinese that their island is in itself a cosmos.

Even though Bali suffered under the Japanese during World War II, in the struggle afterwards to expel the Dutch, and through the violence which accompanied the military overthrow of President Sukarno, the resilience and kindness of its inhabitants ensure that no visitor leaves the island today unimpressed by its heritage.

- Land of Temples: Besides an estimated 20,000 temples, there are hundreds of thousands of shrines for the good reason that hardly anywhere is said to lack divine significance.

- Festivals and Drama: So widespread are places of worship that every village and town possesses its own religious festival, an important part of which is dance-drama. Most popular is the story of the defeat of the chief witch Rangda by the good lion Barong, but the audience knows that she will be back again.

- Art and Handicrafts: Because the Balinese believe that making beautiful objects is pleasing to the gods, artists and craftsmen are highly esteemed. On display along roadsides are their astounding works, which range from monumental sculpture to bright textiles.


About the author

Arthur Cotterell has lived and traveled widely in Asia. His recently published Asia: A Concise History was described by Professor Anthony Milner of the Australian National University as “an extraordinary achievement.”


“Prolific author Cotterell (Ancient China; The Illustrated A-Z of Classic Mythology) has lived and traveled widely in Asia. This book is part of a series that offers cultural and historical guides to the great cities of the world. These books are more than travel guides, giving readers a look at present-day identity and its links with the past. Divided into four parts: ‘Landscapes,’ ‘An Historical Perspective,’ ‘A Tour of the Island,’ and ‘Balinese Culture,’ the work also includes a much-needed glossary. ‘Further -Reading’ provides a bibliography, which is vital since other than travel guides, there’s a dearth of general books about Bali. Cotterell presents detailed information and descriptions on diverse topics (e.g. in ‘Rites of Passage’ on death: ‘in the Balinese cosmos the spirit has started yet another journey in the endless round of birth, death and rebirth. For the island is regarded as the entire world’). Photographs by the author’s wife, Yap, and illustrations by Dunning enhance the sometimes scholarly text. An unusual illustration is of leyak, a Balinese witch. VERDICT An ideal selection for those who desire very comprehensive details about Bali.” — Library Journal