I Made Gede Arimbawa
Pages 209-222
DOI: 10.2478/v10193-011-0028-6


Based on the views of Hindus in Bali, the application of ornaments in the form of Balinese traditional symbols should follow the rules of the prevailing tradition. The symbols are created to show the cosmology and philosophy based on the teachings of Hinduism as indigenous in Bali and function as a means of a sacred ritual. But in reality the designers in Bali often exploit the symbols by “mutilating” and applying them to undue places, motivated by a desire to create a product or environment characterized by Balinese ethnicity. For example, Acintya relief, Karang Bhoma, Garuda Wisnu and others are applied as façade decorations for shops and banks, or they are created in the form of a statue to decorate crossroads, or used for decoration of the human body in the form of a tattoo and so forth. Seen from a semiotic approach, these actions can damage the structure of the meaning of symbols, because they bring about the interruption of the established relations of the signifier and signified and they form symbol fragments with unclear relations to meaning. Similarly, in today’s designs stamped with such decoration, they appear awkward and meaningless. From such behaviour, that practice creates styles such as pastiche, parody, kitsch, camp and so forth.