Fascinating Vintage Photos Show Life In 1950s Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a beautiful island in Indonesia, famous for its majestic landscape, volcanic mountains, beaches, rice paddies, and coral reefs. About 80% of its economy depends on tourism, it is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from across the world. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music.

These fascinating historical photos show what Bali looked like in the 1950s and the life of Balinese natives.

#2 A deep circle of Balinese men sway in unison in a ‘kecak’ dance as smoke from burning green leaves drifts over them, Bali, 1956.

#3 Balinese dancers wearing their intricate headdresses, 1956.

#4 A Balinese trance dancer bends backwards over a pole held up by two boys. The spirit of a god is said to have entered her in her hypnotised state, 1958.

#5 A human figure with hair reaching to its feet confronts a line of male dancers.The leonine figure is called the Barong. Bali, 1957

#6 Young Balinese ‘janger’ dancers in ceremonial costume doing a ‘hand dance’, 1956.

#7 A woman praying with a flower between her fingertips in Bali, 1956.

#8 Pigs roasting on spits over an open fire in preparation for a Balinese feast, 1956.

#9 A devotee goes into a trance watched by an elderly man with a painted face and a man wearing a monkey mask, 1956.

#12 A cow which has been slaughtered for food and as an offering at the purification of a temple on the island of Bali, Indonesia, 1955.

#13 People holding a long white piece of clothe during a cremation, Bali, 1958.

#16 Young Balinese dancers prepearing for the ritual, 1956.

#17 Balinese women dancers are helped to dress and make up, 1956.

#19 Balinese men in a trance like state perform a ritual dance with knives, 1956.

#20 A crowd watches a human figure dressed as a monkey play with a hairy, masked ‘barong’ lion, Bali, 1956.

#21 Stripped to the waist Balinese men watch a woman dance round a ‘totem’, 1956.

#22 Balinese ‘janger’ dancers in ceremonial costume with ornate headresses, 1956.

#23 A Balinese ‘topeng’ or masked dancer in ceremonial headdress stands in front of ornately carved doors, 1956.

#24 Creamy white flowers decorate the ornate headresses of female dancers in Bali, 1956.

#25 Three bare-footed male Balinese dancers in costume pose for the camera during a rest break, Bali, 1956.

#26 A Balinese man holds a cup and inhales fumes from the smoking ashes within, 1956.

#28 A group of children gather in a Balinese marketplace, 1956.

#29 A woman balancing hand made clay pots on her head to carry them hundreds of miles to market. Bali, 1955

#30 Balinese traditional dancers sprinkle holy water over the singers and themselves and ask the goddesses to ‘go home, go home’, 1951.

#31 A dancer in traditional Balinese costume performs, 1950.

#32 Women and children gathered around a street food stall in Bali, Indonesia, 1951.

#33 Three young Indonesians standing by a votive made from fruit and flowers in Bali, 1951.

#34 Women at a cremation ceremony balance decorative containers on their heads in the village of Denpasar. Bali, 1953.

#35 The daughter of a village headman weaving a sarong in Bali, 1954.

#36 The whole family joins in a rice harvest on Bali though only men are allowd to plant it, 1954.

#38 An Indonesian woman weaving on the island of Bali, 1955.

#39 Shrines being carried to the seashore on the island of Bali, Indonesia, during an annual religious festival, 1955.

#65 People carrying the coffin during a cremation, Bali, 1957.

People carrying the coffin during a cremation, Bali, 1957.

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#66 A circle of men sway in unison during a kecak dance, a modern variation of an ancient sanghyang trance dance. Bali, 1956.

A circle of men sway in unison during a kecak dance, a modern variation of an ancient sanghyang trance dance. Bali, 1956.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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