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family tradition

Diposting pada 23 Mei 2019 oleh Muslihin | Dilihat: 117 kali | Kategori:

This vigorous folk art tradition is handed down  from mother  to daughter,providing  the main source of  income for the more than 1500 potter families of the three villages represented in the exhibition.Young women learn by helping  their mother and grandmother to make specific forms in which their family specialize. There is little innovasion. Making pots is part of the daily routine. The work space may be in the narrow space between houses shaded by a few woven coconut leaves , the shifting shade under  the eaves  of the house , or just on the doorstep. Drying pots share the
family living space,away from the hot sun and the rain,  until they are ready to fire.

Although women are the potters, the production of pots is actually a family enterprise. Most pottrers areassisted  by husbands ,children and other relatives in the varied tasks involved in pot making.the only activity that remains exclusively in the hands of the women is the actual formation of the pots .the rest,from clay gathering and processing,finishing and decorating,gathering fuel ,and  firing,to care of small babies,is
shared amongst the whole extended family.within the there villages there are only six men who regularly work as potters .

the ancestors of the sasaks came from the hindu majapahit empire of java which flourished in the 14th century.they fled to the east when muslims princes conquered the kingdom and converted the people to islam.although nearly all sasaks are now muslims,their language and art reflect the hindu Buddhist roots in common with much of Indonesia.some of the most important legends of the sasaks are based on Islamic stories,but given local characters,and written down in lontar books  with the ancient Javanese kawi script.

The link with the majapahit empire is significant in that it may provide an explanation for the unusually strong pottery traditions on Lombok.the majapahit stands out amongst the succession of hindu Buddhist empires of java for its unique development of terracotta for domestic utilitarian use,court art and is possible that the families who first fled from east java to settle in Lombok brought those traditions with them.

Living on one of the most densely populated islands of Indonesia the sasaks are one of  the poorest ,leas educated cultural groups in the country.potter families are mostly landless ,or own land that is less than sufficient to meet their food needs.wage labour in the villagesis limited to share cropping or day labour at planting,weeding and harvest times.many villagers run small businesses ,and many more seek wage labour outside the village .the production and sale of pottery in local markets is therefore of vital importance to survival , but where the consumers are equally poor prices are low .it is still common to see pot vendors  walking along the roadside  with their quick stepped swinging gait,carrying four or six heavy water jars suspended from a shoulder pole.

The wide range of pottery forms reflects the inportence it holds in village life . each type of pot has a specific form and name linked  to its use within the daily or seasonal patterns of survival and religious celebration . As a rices culture the lives of the Sasaks are linked closely with the planting and harvesting  cycle, the fundamental importance  of rice and  water . As Moslems their occasion for gathering  together  for  preparation  and sharing of  special food are intrinsically linked  to the yearly round of  Islamic holy days, and life cycle rituals of birth, circumcision, marriage and death.

In both ritual and daily life water is of central infortance. There are specific pots for the collection, storage and serfing of water,as well as vessels for pouring water during life cycle ceremonies.the best known of these is the spouted water carafe or “KENDI”a pot form common throughout south East Asia ,and developed to unique shapes in Lombok.

Rice storage jars ,”kemberasan”or”kelekuk”different in  each of the villages ,were in former times made and used according to special ritual requirements.they were made only during the holy month of Maulid ,the birthday of the prophet Muhammad,an only by pregnant women,in the belief that rice would thus be plentiful,bellies would be full and all would enjoy good fortune .Ritual procedures for the proper  removal  of rice from the jar for cooking are still practiced today by the villagers of Penujak.

CLAY-Lombok’s landscape is dominated by indonesia’s second higehest volcano ,Gunung Rinjani.within this mainly volcanic setting there are numerous hills of clay which contain a high salt content.the clay bodies ,different from one source to another,have a remarkable resistance to thermal shock coupled  with a very narrow margin between maturation and melting temperature .Domestic pot are porous ,lending themselves to the function of water cooling vessels;and are heat resistant ,making them ideal for kettles and pots placed directly on the fire.

The traditionally low firing temperature of about 700 centigrade allows the salts present in the body to remain un volatilized so that on exposure to moisture the pots become encrusted with white powdery deposits of these body salts.when the pots are fired  to higher temperatures of 800-900 these salts produce the rich blushes and flashes of colour seen on some pots in the present exhibition.

Potters obtain their clay from local vendors,or go themselves early in the morning to open pits several  kilometers from home.processing takes several days.pounded or slaked,sieved,mixed with temper sands,and left to mature for a few days,small stores of clay take up part of every potter family’s living space.

FORM-All of these pots are made by hand building methods,using simple home made tool of wood,bamboo ,metal blades ,shell and stone,and even discarded light bulbs and plastic pen cases to refine and finish the forms.the most prized burnishing tool are polished obsidian river pebbles that have been handed down through generations.

Most pots are built with coils of clay ,pinched and scraped  with the fingers,before adding  the next layer of coils.As the pot takes shape various tools are used to thin and smooth the walls.the pot is built on a platter-like platform of fired clay,which is often turned by the potter’s toes as she work ,visually checking the symmetry of the pot.

The largest vessels are built as the potter walks around the pot ,in a kind of slow attentive dance,her eyes rarely leaving the work ,changing direction with each new step of process.these pots take two days to form,and another to rub and burnish ready for firing.

The round based water pots or”periok” of penujak are formed by the stone and paddle  technique from a single ball of clay .young girls begin to learn making periok at the time of puberty,but only the older women have attained sufficient  skill to make the largest jars of up to 50 cm.diameter .they start with the rough ball of clay ,pound it into a cone shape ,and shape the lip of the pot first.then they begin to beat  out the balloon –like belly of the pot with a succession of rough –textured to smooth wooden paddles against the outside of the wall,meeting each impact with a large round stone held  inside the pot in the other hand.beating  and turning the pot as it rests on the thighs, they take about one hour to form a beautifully symmetrical and thin –walled jar.

All pots are refined by scraping with bamboo,coconut husk or metal blades, then rubbing with stones.eventually they are given a final coat of slip mixed with oil before the last burnish that brings up the surface shine.This final burnish enhances the fired colour,and is used to advantage on pots with alternate burnished and unburnished areas.other traditional decorative techniques include incising the surface of the partly dried pot,or applying and pinching small coils of clay to form surface patterns.

The use of pearly shell of the chambered Nautilus(Nautilus pompilius)to decorate wooden dowry boxes and other household objects was once common in Lombok,and has developed in recent years as handicrafts are produced for the tourist and export trade .The Lombok Crafts Project worked with the potters of ,Masbagik timur  to produce a variety of pots with shell inlay.However when it was recently discovered that the chambered Nautilus is a protected species the Masbagik Timur Pottery Centre stopped buying the shell and is in the process of developing a similar technique with bone inlay.

FIRE Clamp firing is the simplest metod of transforming clay into pottery.The sasaks fire their pots on slightly hollowed mounds of accumulated ash using fuel at hand such as wood,coconut husks,rice straw and husks,bamboo leaves,and garden rubbish.the pots are piled up on top of each other ,fuel placed around and on top of the pile ,and set alight .once the fire is going well,rice straw and bamboo leaves are heaped on top of the file .As this burns it forms an ash cap over the pots ,acting as insulation,like the dome of a kiln,to keep in the heat and allow the temperature to rise.

The technicques,though apparently simple,require precise judgement of the quantity of fuel,stacking the pots and timing.A firing can be over in twenty minutes,but the best pots are produced with a  slower time of one or more hours.Weather ,wind and the state of the clay all play a part in determining how a firing should proceed.Firing for too long can produce burnt looking or slumped pots,under-firing produced fragile low standard pots.All clamp fired pots are likely to have under-fired patches on them.

Fired colour depends on factors of clay type,burnish,temperature, fuel type and post firing treatment. Nearly all clamp fired post have some fire marks varying from black through to pink, red and yellow blushes. The rich dark colours, from lightly speckled to jet black, are achieved by smoking the post at the and of firing. The hot post are pulled out of the clamp and quickly coated with rice bran or bamboo leaves which ignite, causing the pot surface to carbonize.

One of the most important technical changes introduced by the project is the simple open topped updraught kiln now in use throughout penujak village. In choosing this type of kiln over more advanced designs the potters have met the need for greater fuel economy and fired strength, as well as satisfying their wish to work together as they always have in clamp firings. More than any other post in this exhibition the penujak post, beautifully formed and richly coloured as always, demonstrate the pottersachievement of technical change to enhance the traditional integrity of their work. The success of the penujak kilns has paved the way for similar achievements in the other villages.  


family tradition | Gerabah Lombok

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