Bali Skull Carving – Years Old Bone Crafting Tradition

Bali Skull Carving – Years Old Bone Crafting Tradition

The Bali skull carving technique is one of the most popular and oldest bone crafting traditions. People from all around the world love animal skulls that are carved with this carving method. Especially animal-lovers, travelers, and adventurous tourists love to collect them and mount them up on the walls of their living space.

Let’s learn about this years’ old bone crafting tradition and why it is so loved.

Bali Skull Carving Tradition

A skull, either it belongs to a human or animal, is generally not seen as a good or positive thing in most cultures and beliefs. Usually, it is considered to represent death or danger, which certainly does not sound attractive or welcoming to most people. However, the Balinese culture disagrees.

According to the beliefs of the Bali people, the skull is seen as the form of new beginnings. The native people of Bali utilized every part of the animal and did not allow any of it to go to waste. The meat would be consumed in the form of food, the skin used for shelter, and the bones used as tools or utensils.

The only part left was the skull, which they saw as the symbol for a fresh start. The Bali people used to keep the skull as a holy object. They would place it in such a way that they could see, cherish, and respect it.

The indigenous people of Bali always preserved the skulls of animals as a treasure to keep themselves reminded of how much the animal gave and sacrificed for them. With the passage of time, they started using the skulls as a canvas to express their artistic capabilities.

The cow skull was particularly respected and celebrated. The cows are a well-appreciated creature for their gentleness and giving nature towards humans. In Balinese culture, the cow and buffalo is represented as the concept of Mother Earth, and this is the reason why a cow’s skull is the primary one to be crafted into an artifact.

In Bali culture, an artistically carved cow skull is a reminder and a sacred sign of the fruitful and benevolent life the cow lived. In order to keep their centuries-old tradition and cultural heritage alive, this Bali craft of carving animal skulls is conserved to date and is still flourishing.

Do you know about how to clean a cow skull?

Bali Skull Carving today

The carved cow skulls that are found in Bali are one of the most sought after pieces of cultural art around the world. They are all hand-carved by tremendously skilled Indonesian artisans. These craftsmen usually spend over a decade to perfect this craft, after which they are able to work really fast and usually complete carving each skull in no more than two to three days.

Furthermore, despite the popularity of this craft, Bali people never harm any animal to take their skulls. These carved skulls are always sourced through ethical and moral means. The cows’ skulls that are used for these carving have usually lived a good and full life and was treated with respect and love.

These skulls often come from cows and ram that die of natural means or just old age living in a pasture. As the carving is hand chiseled into the skull, each of the pattern and design is unique in itself. They are really intricate and elaborate designs carved with unbeatable expertise and delicacy.

Some sculptures let the skull retain its original and natural state, whereas some paint or decorate portions of the skull to give it a modified look. Balinese or Indonesian master carvers learn this craft by spending years of their lives.

Hence, this form of art cannot be expressed by anyone. The symmetry, expertise, and artistry that bring life to these dead animal skulls are simply amazing and fascinating. There is no boundary to the creativity that can go into one of these works.

Have you ever think how to how to preserve a cow skull and horns?


Bali skill carving technique is a centuries-old way of paying tribute to the natural world, particularly the animals. Animals provide us with several things that are necessary for us, and therefore, we must be respectful of them.

These intricate and beautiful pieces of art are exclusive and the perfect homage to animals, nature, as well as the Balinese culture.