These magnificent old waterpots are not only a piece of history, but have many wonderful uses!
To the south of Solo lies a very arid region of Java called Gunung Kidul (southern mountains in Javanese). This is kaust country, where the underlieing limestone allows for little water retention. The rain in the monsoon season quickly soaks through the soil and rock, forming a fascinating landscape of underground rivers, caves and grottos.
For the farmers however, life is hard. Normal rice production is very difficult, though they do have a wonderful variety of dry field red rice. Corn and sago are their other dry-field crops. And during the 6 month dry season, household water is scarce.
Their solution in the past was to have a series of terracotta waterpots in which they saved water from the wet season. These pots were lined with cement, both to increase the strength and also to stop the porosity of the terracotta. The government is now building a series of pipelines to connect the farmers to reliable reticulated water. And so those old waterpots are being abandoned in favour of turning on a tap.
We gather up the pots from the farmers, clean them, and then pack them in a special suspension packing format that allows very safe transport. The variety of designs is astounding, but for simplicity we divide into 4 size groups, L, M, S, SS. Not only are these old waterpots a piece of history, but they have many wonderful uses. A display vase, a waterpot for lilies, a magnificent lamp base – the limit is only your imagination.