Richard Horstman (Jakarta Post)
Thu 12 May 2022
Dating from the 16and century, the tradition of tracing sheets with cultural knowledge compiled in lontar manuscripts is experiencing an exciting new illustrative era, driven by younger generations of contemporary artists.
The Balinese ontary are manuscripts made from the dried and treated sheets of pale beige color of the frontalpalm (Barasus Flabellifer). Strong and flexible with a fibrous grain running the length of the foliage, the leaves have a variety of applications. The technique of tracing minute information on pages about 25 centimeters long requires perfect vision, a steady hand and determination. the pangrupak is a pointed metal instrument with a wooden handle for inscribing fine graphic lines.
The aesthetic effect is achieved with the hazelnut’s black dye rubbed along the leaf, the excess being wiped off, revealing the practitioner’s efforts in writing, symbols or illustrations. The wide range of Balinese religious and social content is categorized as side view — holy books; Agama — religious rules, laws, regulations, ethics and morals; United States — homeopathy and healing; Wariga — astronomy and astrology; Itahasa — epics, including literary ones; Babad— history and genealogy, Lelampahan — the performing arts; Tantri — stories and notes and Prasi — illustrations.
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