A visit to Sabu Terracotta Pottery
at Denpasar, Bali, in 2012


1. INTRODUCTION

While the nearby island of Java and its capital Jakarta, formerly Batavia, have a great interest as the former center of the Dutch East India Company my interest was this time more focused on the old kingdom of Majapahit.

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

The Majapahit kingdom was established by Wijaya and by the end of the reign of Hayam Wuruk (1350-89) it claimed sovereignty over the entire Indonesian archipelago, centered over Java, Bali and Madura. Previous Javanese kingdoms had got their power based in agriculture, however, Majapahit was more advanced and took control of ports and shipping lanes and became Java's first commercial empire. With the death of Hayam Wuruk and the coming of Islam to Indonesia, Majapahit went into decline and it followers who were mostly Buddhist and Hindu moved to the nearby Island of Bali.

Map of Bali Java Indonesia

While the historic center of the Majapahit kingdom was at the eastern end of Jawa Island, the nearby Island of Bali was to me of equal interest. Somewhat I also hoped that more of the old culture would had remained through the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, still predominant in Bali.

Balinese Earthenware Potery

The look of this place as you approached it from the busy lane was interesting to say the least.

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

The friendly greeting and the answer - yes - to my question if they were actually making all these pots here, on the premises, was even better. It was well worth the hours on end on the road we had spent to arrive here.

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

I tried to get an idea if everything here was really new or if something could possibly be antique. A slightly different angle than from when shopping antiques in Hong Kong when the shop owners cheerfully declares that everything you see, is antique.

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

When you were in the middle of everything, any particular age of anything eventually stopped being that important.
Inside was shock full of wood works. All kinds of furniture and parts of this or that. Eventually looks, quality and purpose felt more relevant and, how do I bring this thing home...

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

In the midst of the pots in the front yard was an old pull cart of some sort. The wheels were rubber clad but had wooden spikes which I felt signified some kind of age. The model T Ford was introduced in 1908 so how old could this thing be, 1930s?

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

If someone needs a couple of solid wood carvings I figure these are still there.

Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali Earthenware pottery Denpasar Bali

Text and photos on this webpage are copyright © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Jan-Erik Nilsson, Gotheborg.com, Sweden 2013