Rinjani Pottery imports and sells pottery from Lombok.

Lombok is a tropical island in Indonesia, dominated by the volcano Gunung Rinjani.

Along with textiles, wood carving and basket making, pottery plays an important role in Lombok village life.

These traditional crafts and skills produce the utensils, clothes and tools to fulfil everyday needs.

Pottery serves a practical use and is used for everyday cooking, rice and food storage, and ceremonies.

Volcanic earthenware clay

Lombok pottery (also known as Sasak pottery, as it has traditionally been made by the Lombok's Sasak people) is made from a natural earthenware clay and temper sand, a sand that contains organic matter and volcanic ash. Both of these materials are abundant locally.

The sand strengthens the clay and the pottery, increasing its resistance to sudden variations in temperature changes, or thermal shock.

Therefore it can be used over direct fire, as traditionally used in the village, as well as in the oven.

This strength differentiates Lombok pottery from most other earthenware clay-based pottery.

How the pottery is made

Pottery-making has traditionally been carried out by women, with the skills passed down over the centuries from mother to daughter, generation to generation, though some men do also make pottery nowadays.

Though the male family members are typically involved in the etching and firing processes.

Each village has a different technique and process resulting in different products and styles across the island.

The process of making a typical pot starts with the forming of the product by building up coils of clay and shaping with the aid of a throwing wheel and such tools as stones, paddles and coconut husks.

Lombok Pottery

Once it is scraped and smoothed it is left to dry until firm.

When dry enough the potter rubs and burnishes the surface with a stone until shiny - this compacts the clay even further. For cooking pots this is important as this makes the pot almost completely watertight.

After the pots are dried in the sun for a number of days, they are ready to be fired.

Lombok pottery is traditionally fired in an open fire of sticks and straw. Firing in this way is a carefully managed process, with the villagers making sure that pottery is heated evenly, and topping up the fire with rice husks and ash when necessary.

Lombok Pottery Firing

When the pottery is “ripe” they are removed from the fire.

It is at this stage that the pottery is covered with rice bran, which carbonises the clay body to blacken the pots, or sprayed with tamarind extract to give them a speckled, reddish-brown colour.

More information

*For more information on Lombok pottery and a wonderful and detailed story of the history, culture and process of making this beautiful pottery see Vessels of Life, by Jean McKinnon (ISBN: 9799508509).