Secrets of Bali: Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

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An encyclopedic reference to the island and people of Bali, rendered in down to earth, accessible form.

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An encyclopedic reference to the island and people of Bali, rendered in down to earth, accessible form.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789745241183
  • Publisher: Orchid Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2010
  • Pages: 407
  • Sales rank: 517,497
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 11, 2014

    Secrets of Bali: Fresh Light on the Morning of the World is one

    Secrets of Bali: Fresh Light on the Morning of the World is one of the best and most delightful (and intellectually stimulating) books ever written about the magical island of Bali. Jonathan Copeland and Ni Wayan Murni take you eight secret, seductive degrees south of the equator for a cultural feast of explanation and information, Bali-Hindu enchantment, and art-filled wonder. The reader is taken into a mystical world of gods and goddesses, exotic Balinese village cuisine, opulent religious ceremonies, the ancient wayang kulit shadow puppet theater, and extravagant, lava stone temple architecture. As you read this important contribution to the permanent literature on Bali, you can hear the gamelan orchestra play, taste pemangku-dispensed sacred holy water, watch transfixed at a fire-born trance dance, and revel in the beauty of Bali's continual cycle of intricate rice field rituals.
    The smiling faces of the devout Balinese shine through on every single page--as does the incredible depth of social and historical research on the legendary island of the gods. Jonthan and Ni Wayan Murni are situated near the village of Ubud (obad means medicine)--the creative and spiritual epicenter of Bali. Surrounded by emerald rice fields, artisans, painters, Balinese dance troupes, sculptors, sacred healers and balian, yoga studios, spas, and royal palaces, they were ideally positioned to create this eye-opening, literary masterpiece (and resource) about their beloved island of Bali. Congratulations!
    This review was written by Dr. Vivienne Kruger, author of Balinese Food: The Traditional Cuisine and Food Culture of Bali (Tuttle Publishing, Periplus), 2014.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    an excellent intro to Balinese history and culture

    I picked up this book before a recent trip to Bali, and highly recommend it for anyone--layperson or seasoned Bali-ophile alike--who wants a foundational understanding of the island's history and culture. There's nothing else quite like it. I had been to Bali before and this book was an excellent way to get reacquainted. I read it first at home, and then again--chapter by chapter-- with my 18-year-old daughter while we were on the island. After my daughter learned to make traditional Balinese offerings, for example, we read the chapter about offerings. The book really helped bring the island alive with meaning.

    SECRETS OF BALI covers a vast amount of territory in a tone that is lucid, appreciative and witty, and is illustrated with delicate pen-and-ink drawings. The text begins with Bali's past, from what little is known about Bali's prehistory, then works its way through the early kingdoms, Dutch colonialism, Indonesian independence and on to the present day. From there, we are introduced to the various elements of Balinese culture: Balinese Hindusim, core beliefs, rituals, food, social customs, art, architecture-- each topic expanded and explained in clear and elegant prose. To attain this much knowledge of Bali would take years of research and experience, and together author Jonathan Copeland with the help of Bali native Ibu Murni have just that.

    Once back home I was able to somewhat soothe my longing for Bali by cooking up some of Ibu Murni's traditional recipes that are included in the book. I made the Bali-Style Village Chicken the other night, and it was divine.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Secrets of Bali

    In the past few years there has been a plethora of new books on Bali. Most of these books are primarily illustrative, for example, books of old photos of Bali, paintings of Bali, great homes and architecture of Bali, arts and crafts, travel guides, and on and on.

    Since Fred Eiseman first published what still remains the most important and definitive English language text on the essence of Bali, his brilliant work, BALI, SEKALA & NISKALA in 1990, there has been no other tome which has attempted to define and present the endless intricacies of Balinese culture and religion in an understandable and accurate manner. .

    Authors Jonathan Copeland and Ni Wayan Murni have bridged the gap between the scholarly and excessively detailed analysis presented by Mr. Eiseman and all the "fluff only" books subsequently published. Moreover, Mr. Eiseman freely admits in his seminal work that most of what he presents is based on his own studies in Jimbaran and thusly not indicative or representational of other areas of Bali. Mr. Copeland and Ibu Murni present a broader picture, one which is based in what can arguably called the cultural heart of Bali, which is Ubud.

    SECRETS OF BALI is an insightful book which touches on virtually all facets of Balinese life and religion, but it is not a watered down version of Mr. Eiseman's seminal work. On the contrary, SECRETS OF BALI is a very easy read dealing with an almost incomprehensible and most surely confusing topic. It is well organized, carefully thought out, and most importantly, accurate. It is a must read for anyone who considers Bali as beyond the playground that is Kuta, or who comes here yearning for more than sun, fun and sex.

    In my opinion SECRETS OF BALI is the best book about Bali which has been written and published since 1990 when Eiseman's book was first published. And on a personal note, I have little doubt that it could have been accomplished without the input of the Balinese "Dame d'Ubud", a brilliant and wonderful lady who is well known to all "Ubudians" as Ibu Murni, Ni Wayan Murni.

    While a seasoned Baliophile may be left with a desire to dig deeper into certain topics, this brilliant primer into Balinese culture will surely satisfy those who are more serious about their Balinese studies, yearning for more than is available in guide books or books that are outdated, and no longer representative of the Bali of today.

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