There are dozens of steps in the Balinese cremation process which can take many months depending on the wealth and status of the deceased. Bali: Art, Ritual Performance was on view at the Asian Art Museum from February 25–September 11, 2011.
The Bali: Art, Ritual Performance exhibition is on view at the Asian Art Museum from February 25--September 11, 2011. Being transported aloft like this proclaims the status of a ruler and reflects the tradition of transporting god images on smaller palanquins, like one located in the last gallery of this exhibition.
Wealthy people often have extremely elaborate pavilions and other implements that are part of this process.


The palanquin on view in the Bali exhibition at the Asian Art Museum features three elaborately painted panels depicting Arjuna, one of the heroes of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. Offerings such as these are still an important part of ceremonial life in Bali to this day. When the body finally makes it to the cremation grounds, there is a pavilion built there under which stands an animal-shaped coffin.
Miguel Covarrubias, a Mexican artist famous in 1920s and 30s New York City for illustrating the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, made his first trip to Bali in 1930 with his wife Rose. Featuring prominent scholars and curators from across the country, these lectures will showcase many treasures of the Asian Art Museum and illuminate sacred and secular traditions: from the steamy kingdoms in the east and south of India to the mountainous realms to the north.


The back panel shows Arjuna, seated in the center, proving his worthiness by resisting the celestial maidens sent by Indra to distract him from his meditation.



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