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Subject:Balinese Pita Maha Carving
Posted By: Rob Mon, Feb 18, 2019 IP:

I've identified this carved figure as being form the Pita Maha School, but would be grateful for the suggestion of a partiuclar carver. "Bali NEI" is written in red on the bottom, as is some sort of inventory marking. Bought in New York in the 1950s. Thanks.

Subject:Re: Balinese Pita Maha Carving
Posted By: kris Sun, Mar 17, 2019

Hi Rob,

Great post! It is my first message here, so I hope it comes through.

This is a nice carving, it is indeed in the style of the Pita Maha, but it is quite impossible to find out who the carver is.

I collect these carvings and have seen a lot of them (probably a few hundred from this period and style). Most of the time the bottom is blank, sometimes with one or more old labels on it from the shop that sold them.
A lot of them have written a number on the bottom and the text 'Bali NEI' or other text that suggest the place of origin: Bali/Dutch East Indies. NEI stands for Netherlands East Indies, which is the same.
(I have a few pictures of this, if you are interested).

There were a lot of wood carvers on Bali, some more skilled than others. When this style was popular, it was quickly adopted by other carvers, which makes it very difficult to identify the carver.
Some carvers have a very specific style, but they could also create carvings in other styles.
I can not trace the style of this carving back to a specific carver.
As I said, the carvers adopted the popular styles and 'copying' another style was not a form of disrespect, but of honor.
One carver could start with a specific style and quickly others could adopt this style and everyone was fine with it.

It was not common for the artist to sign the carving. Only a few carvers did and not always, most of the time it was on request or only for a special piece.
Sometimes the owner wrote down on the bottom when he bought the carving and where and very rarely the owner would wrote down the name of the carver or the name of the figure the carving depicted.

However, it is a very nice carving and as a collector, I would love to have it!
Have you been thinking about selling?
If so, let me know I am always willing to add other nice carvings to my collection and I can make a good offer:)

Subject:Re: Balinese Pita Maha Carving
Posted By: Robert Reznick Mon, Mar 18, 2019


Thanks for your informative post. Too bad that it's so hard to identify the carvers. I had thought the manner of labeling location and number on the bottom would have been a signature of sorts. The carving has been in my family since I can remember, and I think it's likely my parents bought it directly from a gallery in New York in the 1950s. For that reason I have mainly been trying to learn more about it and not been in any particular hurry to think about selling. But I am open to hearing what you might offer. And let me know if you'd like to know anything more about it or how I can get in touch with you directly. Thanks.


Subject:Re: Balinese Pita Maha Carving
Posted By: Kris Wed, Mar 20, 2019

Hi Rob,
You are welcome.
I am not sure if I can share my emailadres with you, but I will try it in this message (without using space between my naam, the @ sign and live:
Just email me at: j.steevensz @

Hope to youre from you, so we can continue the conversation.
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