The Newsletter 68 Summer 2014

Bali at war: a painted story of resistance to colonial rule

Siobhan Campbell

<p>The defeat of the royal family in Klungkung by Dutch soldiers on 28 April 1908 marks the point at which the entire island of Bali was incorporated into the colonial administration of the Netherlands East Indies. Both the event and the painting discussed here are known as the <em>Puputan</em>, meaning the ‘finishing’ or ‘the end’ in Balinese, referring to the slaughter or ritual surrender of the Klungkung royal family. This painting sits within a corpus of oral traditions about the defeat of Klungkung yet it shifts conventional perspectives by describing local developments prior to the clash between the Dutch and members of the royal household at the site of the palace.</p>