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Multiculturalism of Singkawang Pottery

With its name stemming from the Chinese words san khew jong, meaning ‘a city beside a river, a sea and a mountainside’, it comes as no surprise that Singkawang and its arts, particularly its pottery, share many multicultural influences that translate into a gamut of distinct designs not found elsewhere.

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As one of the eight major production centres for pottery in Indonesia, Singkawang continues to uphold its proud history of earthenware making, with a unique blend of local and international influences that set it apart from the rest.

Strongly influenced by Chinese culture, Singkawang is one of only two sites in Southeast Asia that still employs traditional Chinese methods of pottery making, using the processes, production methods and decorative motifs that can be traced back to their traditional Chinese roots (like the kiln technology from the Han dynasty). Meanwhile, Bayat earthenware, made with the help of a unique slanting-turning wheel technique used only in Indonesia, is another unique pottery type, which was introduced around the 17th century by a Muslim cleric to enable craftswomen to sit in a modest way during pottery making.