As the author of the well regarded Island of Bali, published in 1937, Jose Miguel Covarrubias was deeply interested in the anthropological and archeological subjects of Bali. The extensive research and study done by the author are evident as the book is full of insightful observation which is in turn supplemented with a rich collection of drawings and paintings.
The uncanny power of penetrating through the deceptively simple lines of drawings and paintings is achieved with the artist's empathy, as a personal friend of Covarrubias, I Gusti commented "I (was) never tired of answering him because he cared deeply about our culture. He understood everything there was to know about Bali. I have never forgotten the brother from far-away Mexico: dark-skinned Miguel with the laughing brown eyes, who looked every bit as Balinese as the next man dressed in kemben with flower behind his ear. To us he seemed to have a Balinese soul." (Adriana Williams, Covarrubias, University of Texas Press, 1994, p. 63).