Pottery: History, Manufacturing Process, and Examples

Pottery – As with pottery, Sinaumed’s is certainly no stranger to the existence of traditional crafts made from clay, aka pottery. If Sinaumed’s feels he has never seen pottery before, try to come to the traditional market, he will find it right away. These crafts are not only sold in traditional markets , they are often also sold on the side of the road or even in a certain kiosk.

For the Javanese people, they often equate pottery with pottery. This is not necessarily wrong and not necessarily right, because both are almost the same, that is, they are both made with clay. In terms of the difference between the two, it can be seen from a certain point of view.

Then actually, what is pottery? How is it different from pottery? What cities are famous for their pottery production? How is the development of the pottery industry in Indonesia? So, so that Sinaumed’s is not confused about the difference between pottery and pottery and understands what pottery is, let’s look at the following review!

Meaning of Pottery

Basically, pottery and pottery are the result of ceramic art activities. However, people often interpret pottery and ceramics separately, and instead equate pottery with pottery. In this case, the community believes that this craft does not include ceramics, because objects called ceramics are supposed to be glassware objects that have smooth and shiny surfaces, for example flower vases and floor tiles. Meanwhile, earthenware are objects that are clearly visible from clay, for example pots, jugs, and others. However, there are also some people who call this craft as folk ceramics, because the main material is low fired clay and uses a simple firing technique.

Based on KBBI (Big Indonesian Dictionary), pottery is kitchen utensils (for cooking and so on) made of clay and then fired. The process of processing clay to burning is also carried out in the process of making pottery. This craft has been known to the public since thousands of years ago, even according to archaeological data it is also stated that the existence of this craft has existed since prehistoric times, especially when humans began to be able to cultivate crops.

Pottery Function

Pottery generally functions as a container or household utensil. Therefore, the function of pottery can be classified into:

  • Functional, which can provide benefits directly to its users. Usually has forms such as jugs, ashtrays, kitchen utensils, flower pots, umbrella holders, and others.
  • Non-functional, namely only providing benefits as decorative items and prioritizing aesthetic value. Usually has a shape like a jar.

History of Development and Types of Pottery

According to The Concise Colombia Encyclopedia (1995), states that the term ‘ ceramic ‘ comes from the Greek, namely ‘ ceramos ‘ which refers to the meaning of pottery, while ‘ ceramos ‘ refers to the meaning of clay. There is another theory about what pottery is, namely the “basket theory”.

This “basket theory” states that in prehistoric times, people often used woven baskets to store food ingredients. Well, Sinaumed’s definitely knows if the webbing has gaps or holes between the webbing. To prevent the basket from leaking, people at that time covered the inside with clay. After the clay baskets were not used, people made them directly into the hearth. As if miraculously, the clay layer basket was indeed destroyed, but the clay actually became hard and formed a container. Then, the clay shape was decorated with the most beautiful motifs and colors.

During the Perundagian or metal period, the manufacture of these handicraft items became more advanced because their use also increased. Even though at that time, metal objects played an important role in everyday life, they did not replace this craft just like that. The development of the use of this craft can also be seen from what previously served as a household tool to become a tool for local traditional ceremonies to funeral ceremonies.

Not only that, the way of making it during this perundagian period was also more advanced when compared to the farming period. Many evidences of this craft heritage have been found in Indonesia, let’s say in Banyuwangi, Southeast Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, and many more.

The pottery craft is thought to have originated in China, which is around 4000 BC. At that time, people made pottery with the aim of being used as household utensils and also used burning techniques, for example jugs, cauldrons, jars, and so on. Then in subsequent developments, pottery was not only made for household utensils, but also for building materials, namely roof tiles, red stone, and floor tiles.

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From this development, the community classifies pottery into 2 types, namely:

  • Which can absorb water: red bricks, piggy banks, red bricks, cauldrons, stoves, jugs, and others.
  • Those that do not absorb water (ceramics): floor tiles, cups, jars, plates, etc.

The form of this craft also has diversity, not just an oval shape. In this day and age, in making it especially in shape, usually the craftsmen will have a special design that adjusts the use of the craft, whether it will be used as a bowl, piggy bank, jug, or something else. While the sizes also vary, some are small to giant with a height of up to 3 meters. Has Sinaumed’s ever played a market that uses small pottery in the form of plates, mortars, glasses and cauldrons? Well, that is an example of a small craft and is generally used as decoration.

The Production Process of Making Pottery

It should be noted that the making of this craft is not just done, both in the industrial and personal realms. In general, pottery making is almost the same as pottery which of course goes through a burning process. Well, here is the production process for making pottery according to Kusnan (2007), namely:

1. Production Preparation

This stage is the initial process in the manufacture, namely by preparing the tools and materials for making. The main ingredients are, of course, clay and sand, while the tools are a turntable. The clay or loam used must be dug directly because it has a sticky texture and is easy to shape.

To get good quality clay, usually the soil will be doused with water and left for one night. After the soil is watered, then it is combed using a hoe so that the stones in the soil can be removed.

2. Production Process

a) Formation of pottery

In this process it can only be used if the tools and materials have been prepared. The forming process can be adjusted to the wishes or design of the craftsman, which is usually an unmarketable form so that the selling price is high. There are 5 techniques in processing, namely:

  • Massage technique ( Pinching ), namely the technique of making by massaging it by hand.
  • Roll technique ( coil ), namely the manufacture by arranging clay components in the form of a pencil or screw shape.
  • The slab technique , which is made by forming a clay plate to resemble a sheet of paper, is then shaped according to the existing design.
  • Printing technique ( mouding ), namely the manufacture by relying on printing aids.
  • Rotation technique, which is manufacturing using a special tool in the form of a rotary table (lathe earring).

The technique most often used is the spin technique because the results are smoother and the process is also fast. The pottery produced by this rotation technique includes jugs, flower vases and jars. After finishing forming, it must be dried in the sun to dry evenly.

2) Burning Pottery

This combustion stage must be carried out in a special furnace which is designed in such a way as to distribute heat evenly throughout its surface. At this stage, it is done carefully so that the pottery does not get washed over with water because later it will actually affect the combustion results. The way to keep the fire burning is to provide a roof over the kiln, so that if it rains the combustion process will continue.

A sign that it is “ripe” is a change in color to light brown or reddish brown.

3) Completion of Pottery ( Finishing )

The last step in the production process is finishing, namely by giving decoration or coloring to the pottery. This is done so that it doesn’t look plain, the provision of decorations and coloring can make it more attractive to look at, considering that production is included in buying and selling activities.

Various Pottery Making Technologies

Many evidences of pottery remains have been found in Indonesia, namely in Banyuwangi, Southeast Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, and many more. Even in Southeast Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi also found a bark beater made of stone. In general, the technology for making this craft is simple. In addition to the turntable, there are also various equipment for making pottery, namely:

1. Pottery with Negotiation and Auction

Rembagan is a print made of clay or wood with a round and flat shape like a cobek. This tool is usually used to shape the basic pattern so that it is completely round.

While lelanggong is a printed mat from rembagon. Its shape resembles a bowl and it is useful as a base or a place for the conversation to rest, so that the conversation can be easily rotated.

2. Pottery with Equalization and Pots

Namely the technique of wetting the edge which will increase its height. The trick is to wet the cloth with water, then apply it to the top edge where the height will be added. The water is usually placed in a bowl called a pasu .

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3. Pottery with Grinding

Namely a tool made of a kind of knife or sickle piece to scrape the outer part that has been formed.

4. Lubricant

Namely a tool made from pieces of coconut fiber and is useful for smoothing the inside. Before applying it on the inside, wet it first with water.

5. Leladikan or Pengerab

Namely a tool made of bamboo or wood with an indentation on one side. This tool is useful for smoothing the lips that are being formed.

6. Panepong

Namely a tool made of bamboo which has small spheres and is pointed. This tool is useful for making gaps in parts that really need holes. Examples of using this tool are flower pots, stoves, and skewers.

7. Lolet Stone or Scouring Stone

Namely a tool made of river stone with a rounded shape. This tool is used to rub the outside that has been formed so that the surface becomes flat and smooth.

8. Batu Bolek

Namely a black polishing stone that is usually used to make the outside shiny.

9. Eraser

That is, a tool made of nails or steel wire that is bent and given a wooden handle. This tool is usually used to make carvings by scratching on so that there are carving lines as decoration.

10. Spray Tube

Namely a tool filled with acid liquid, which is used by spraying it on the semi-finished product to give it a black spot effect.

Difference between Pottery and Pottery

Many people feel that pottery and earthenware are the same thing, even though at first glance they do look the same. However, it turns out that when viewed from a certain point of view, pottery and pottery have some differences, you know…

No. Pottery earthenware
1. The heating process is in the range of 1100-1250 degrees Celsius. The heating process is in the range of 800-1,000 degrees Celsius.
2. The manufacturing process uses a mixture of clay with quartz sand, mineral stones, and water. The manufacturing process uses a mixture of clay with water and sand in a certain ratio.
3. Prioritizing aesthetic functions, namely as knick-knacks and decorations. Prioritizing usability functions, namely as tools for daily necessities.
4. Examples include: decorative plates, decorative cups, decorative flower vases, jars, and so on. Examples include: mortar, stove, cauldron, barrel, and others.
5. The surface is smoother because it is glazed. The surface is rougher because it’s not glazed, just a special paint to make it more attractive.


Pottery Producing Regions in Indonesia

Indonesia is indeed famous for its pottery crafts and has even become a form of business industry as a livelihood for its people. Starting from Sabang to Merauke, the existence of this pottery has been known and needed by many people as household utensils. Then, where are the regions that produce pottery with the best quality? Let’s look at the following description!

1. Kasongan Village in Yogyakarta

Kasongan Village, which is located in Bantul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta Province, is well known by the wider community as a region that produces quality pottery. Even the demand is not only local people, but also trusted to be exported to foreign countries such as India, the United States and Australia.

The pottery industry in Kasongan Village has been running since the Dutch Colonial era and is touted as the center of pottery in Yogyakarta. Various models of pottery can be found here, from bowls, jars, to statues. In terms of exports, usually the Kasongan Village area manages to send as many as 80 containers per month.

2. Ship Village in Bali

Kapal Village, which is located in Badung Regency, Bali Province, is also the most famous pottery producing area on the island of Bali. The pottery craftsmen in this Kapal Village often receive orders to make pottery for personal use. Since many people in Bali are Hindus, pottery orders are usually used for religious purposes.

3. Sitiwinangun Tourism Village and Anjun Village in West Java

On the island of Java, there is also a special tourism village that produces this craft, namely Sitiwinangun Village, which is in Cirebon Regency, West Java Province. In the 1990s, the number of artisans in this tourist village even reached 1,000 people! Even though the number of these artisans decreased and increased, the artisans had made it their source of livelihood. This village is called that because it offers tour packages where tourists can see and learn directly about how to make pottery.

Then, there is also Anjun Village which has also succeeded in producing quality pottery and exporting it to other countries, namely the Netherlands, China and Russia. The pottery-making industry in Anjun Village has been going on since 1795, namely during the Dutch colonial period. Usually, pottery making is done at home because as an additional income for the local community, the total production reaches 7.2 units of pottery each year.

So, that’s a review of what pottery is and how it is made and what technology is used by the craftsmen. Is Sinaumed’s interested in coming to the Sitiwinangun Tourism Village in West Java to learn how to make pottery?