Sunday, July 8, 2007

Labu Sayong (Water calabash)

The labu Sayong (water calabash) is a Malay earthenware container. It takes its shape from the gourd or starfruit and is used as a water container. The clay used for Malay pottery is a terra-cotta clay found by streams, riverbanks, and paddy fields. A potter's wheel is not used in Malay pottery making. The labu is coated with river silt with a high iron content, and the surface of the pottery is burnished to a smooth polish with a pebble, a technique carried out by potters at the town of Sayong on the Perak River in West Malaysia. At Sayong, a pot is placed inverted on a rack made from tree branches, with a fire pit below, and after four to five hours the pot is placed into the glowing embers. The color can range from yellowish brown to rust-red, depending on the iron content. A pot is usually decorated with foliage motifs. It was traditionally part of the paraphernalia used in rituals performed during a healing ceremony whereby the water kept in the labu was blessed with incantations. Traditional Malay pottery sites are found on or near ancient routes that connect the tributaries of the Perak and Pahang Rivers. One such site is Sayong.

No comments: