Bali March 11 (AFP): Bali, a Hindu majority island in Muslim Indonesia, has decided not to cover up its statues for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman who was holidaying in the Indonesian island with a large entourage.
A Hindu pocket in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Bali is known for its statues of deities and semi-naked women.
“We’re just going to leave (the statues) as they are, we don’t have to cover up anything because it is our culture,” Dewa Mahendra, a spokesperson for the local government in Bali, told AFP.
He said the statues “are cultural creations, they are art”. In the past, women of the Island would wear garments, a type of ‘sarong’, which did not cover their chests.
The king’s officials did not request Bali to hide its statues, the spokesperson added.
King Salman, on a three-week Asian tour, was in the island with his entourage of 1,000 people after a state visit to Jakarta.
Officials in the Indonesian capital, in a gesture of respect for the Saudi king, used cloths and plants to cover up some naked statues in the presidential palace during his meeting with President Joko Widodo.
Strict interpretations of Islam prohibit statues and images of living beings.
Last year a museum in Rome hid its classical nude sculptures with wooden cartons during a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
(The featured images at the top are Balinese sculptures)