The village of Mas lies on the main road, 20 km to the north of Denpasar and 6 km before Ubud, in a hilly countryside covered with ricefields and irrigated year-round by the waters of the Batuan aud Sakah rivers. Today the village appears as a succession of palatial art shops, Mas has developed into a flourishing center for the woodcarving craft. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what the village was like before dozens of tourist buses started to drop in everyday yet Mas actually played an important role in Balinese history during the 16th century, as it was the place where a great priest from Java, Danghyang Nirartha (also called Dwijendra), had his hermitage (griya).
During the 1930s, under the influence of Walter Spies and Pita Maha, a new style of woodcarving developed here. The motifs were more realistic, and inspired by everyday scenes featuring humans and animals. Several of these early works may now be seen in Ubud’s Puri Lukisan museum. During this period, woodcarvings began to be appreciated and purchased by foreigners, but only after 1970 did the real boom take place. The first art shops in Mas were those of Ketut Roja (Siadja & Son), followed by Ida Bagus Nyana and his son Ida Bagus Tilem, and Ida Bagus Taman (Adil Artshop). At first they all produced works of quality in limited quantities, mainly working with locally-available woods.