Artistically, Bali is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. The Balinese have a natural capacity for absorbing different cultural elements to blend them with their own, to produce dynamic new hybrids. Over the years, Bali has been the recipient of numerous influences; Chinese, Buddhist, Indian, Hindu, Javanese, and most recently, Western. For centuries, artists and craftsmen in Bali worked under the patronage of the priests and ruling classes, decorating palaces and temples. The artists themselves were anonymous, never signing their work and usually living close together in artists' 'villages'.
Generally the artists did not have much room for personal expression, as their designs followed strict aesthetic and religions guidelines. With the arrival of European artists at the start of this century, this soon began to change, and artists started developing their own individual styles.