Halaman:Aspek-aspek arkeologi Indonesia No. 7.pdf/32

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kendi (jug) after he has stepped on an egg. Before the funeral, earthenware pots are broken and shattered on the path the body has to go before entering the funeral carriage. For sacrifices earthenware pots are still used, Sometimes only the potsherds are offered, as in the ”copper offering” in West Java. This offering is held when a house is about to be built particularly when the ground is sloping southwards. As the south is associated with Kala and the red color, everything has to be red. Flowers are offered on a red- copper plate, together with a red chicken and sherds of red pottery.12 Local ceramics, besides being household utensils, are therefore also associated with tradition, sacred places and sacred situations.


A great number of foreign ceramics, are in the Museum Pusat in Jakarta. They have been decribed by De Flines (1949 and 1974) and by Abu Ridho (1977). There are even a few Han ceramics. Foreign ceramics have been found all over Indonesia. It seems that there were specially great numbers of them in the islands where the much desired commodities were produced or traded such as benzoin and camphor in North Sumatra, pepper in South Sumatra, gold in Central- and West Sumatra, spices in the Moluccas, and sandalwood and other aromatic woods in the islands east of Bali.

Foreign ceramics could at first have been used for barter or as presents to prominent people. Only later were imported ceramics used as household utensils in the form of plates, bowls, vases, incense burners, etc. This was then the cheaper ware.

In some places ceramics were used for burying the dead. This practice was found at Kalimantan where whole cemeteries with ”martavans” were excavated13)These martavans, originally used to ferment cassave or rice (tapai) or to contain foods or water were then associated with death in the tradition of the prehistoric Indonesian ancestors. The practice was also found in Sulawesi but for kings and prominent people.

In Java there was a special use for imported porcelain. Tiles were inserted in walls for decoration in ancient Majapahit (found in Trowulan, see Abu Ridho)14) In the walls of the mosques at Demak, decorative tiles were also found. In Cirebon, porcelain dishes are inserted in the walls of the buildings on the Sitinggil compound of the keratons of the Sultan Kasepuhan and Kanoman.

On the walls of 14th century Candi Panataran in Blitar, East Java, there are medaillions with decorative motifs mostly mythical animals; this could have been under the influence of the imported dishes’ decoration.15)