The Pottery Village of Kasongan
The city of Yogyakarta never had any shortage in terms of tourism attractions. From the shopping hotspot in Jalan Malioboro and Pasar Beringharjo to a place of tradition in Keraton Yogyakarta, there is always something to see or do in this beautiful city. Aside from the shopping spree and wondrous palace, there is something else that you might want to see while you are at this city, the art of clay pottery in the village of Kasongan.
Kasongan is a famous pottery kampong and one of the Tour Village area located in in Kajen hamlet of Bangunjiwo village, Kasihan subdistrict, Bantul Regency. With its distinctive red gate and lines of pottery workshops and galleries that marks its main entrance, this hamlet is now easily spotted alongside the main road connecting Jogja and Bantul, about some 6 km or 15-20 minutes away from the downtown of Yogyakarta. Although it might be a little less famous than Jogja mainstream destinations such as Jalan Malioboro or Keraton Yogyakarta (Sultan’s Palace) area as well as Kaliurang and Parangtritis beaches, Kasongan offers quite a destination worth visiting. It is one of the most important places of interest in Bantul.
Among locals, Kasongan has been famous since long time ago as the production center of pottery for household need. The skill of making pottery, nonetheless, was begun from a bitter story when a horse belonged to Dutch officer died at the hamlet. Scared of unlawful punishment, the peasant surrendered their right over their farming land and developed the ability of shaping clay.
In the past, the pottery making in this area was limited only for household equipment, such as kendi (earthenware water carafe), kendil (earthenware rice cooker), gentong (earthenware pitcher), anglo (earthenware charcoal brazier), etc. Over the time, craftsmen from Kasongan produce more variations and higher quality pottery. The high market demand made Kasongan pottery handicrafts spread along local and international market. Since this addition of pottery handicrafts, Kasongan area becomes popular as the icon of Bantul Regency and The Special Province of Yogyakarta.
Kasongan is one of the best places to get cheap souvenirs in Yogyakarta, especially if you are after earthen handicrafts. Instead of selling high-value handicrafts, Kasongan remains to be a tourism shopping area famous for its reasonable price and various choices of earthen handicrafts. The pottery handicrafts include earthenware jug with a range of motifs such as peacock, dragon, and flowers, pots of various size ranging from the little one to the one as tall as an adult’s shoulder, souvenirs, photo frames, wall accessories, and furniture such as table or chair. There were also colourful statuettes of people in varying poses; eating, drinking, dancing, smoking a pipe, tilling the farm, playing musical instruments, etc. The most common would probably the local Loro Blonyo bridal couple sitting together “politely”. It is believed to bring good luck to the household which owns a set, which is the reason why many hotels in Indonesia have them in their lobbies.
In addition to the handicrafts, another feature of Kasongan is the hospitality. The craftsmen welcome every visitor to see, take photograph, and ask about the craft production. With their attractive exhibits, the gentle, unobtrusive and non-aggressive staff of the shops made this place a pleasant one to visit, and the unique environment made visitors who come to Kasongan feel truly welcomed.