From North China to Batavia: Unwrapping Pottery

In this beginning of the year of Ox, we traced back what remains in Indonesia related to China. As early as the Han period, around 202 BC, merchants from China travelled to India through Indonesia. This little transit left so many traces; from food and batik influenced by the Chinese immigrants to Chinese potteries as the result of trades.

In the Indonesia archipelago, chinese pottery can be found in port cities. From Cirebon in Java to Singkawang in Kalimantan. From our cabinet, we have collected some pottery from China, many of them are from the Ming Dynasty. This is the period where chinese pottery was at its peak. Here, we present you this beauty from the past; of painful stories, of migration stories, of other stories on hiding identity and culture.

No more hiding for now,

we are unwrapping these treasures.

Nonya Rose

Decorated with Phoenix and Peony as a symbol of long life and matriarch, Family Rose is a type of ceramic set in a Peranakan house used in weddings – from Singapore, Malaysia, to Indonesia. What makes it special other than the decoration is the enamel base for Family Rose. They come in Chinese fortune colors; pink, green, and yellow.

A beautiful symbol of love, of women, of a couple, of Baba and Nonya,

Cici and Koko, and the prosperity of life they will have.

Batavia Cafe au Lait

Much loved by the European and the Holland-spreken Peranakan, this cafe-au-lait rimmed ceramic ware is made in Kangxi, China, around the late 17th to early 18th century. Due to the demand of pottery that looks more local, a new style was created. This Cafe-au-lait is often called Batavia-ware or Patiman. It’s the beauty of China Blue combined with the batik decoration in the middle, such as Kawung motif, peony flowers in cobalt blue, and the brown overglaze on the rim.

A truly one of a kind combination that infuses Javanese, Peranakan,

Chinese, and European culture in one.

The Humble Glaze

Long before the Chinese produced the China Blue (White and Blue) ceramic. They previously used black iron oxide for a humble black underglaze. This technique started in north China, went down to the south as the base of Celadon, and even further south again to Thailand and Vietnam.

The ones made in Vietnam traveled to Indonesia as a result of trade and immigration. The style of this pottery is very modest, earthy, and as simple as it could be.