About a half a year ago, my dear friend, Christina, moved from Kuala Lumpur to a tiny town on the River Erne in County Cavan, Ireland. A savvy gal, she is a recruiter for employers like the World Bank and well-known NGOs. A fantastic woman, she has a bright, cheerful outlook and is the consummate professional. Not only that, she has heart and a great sense of humor. A Christian with more than a tinge of Taoism, an influence from her Malaysian homeland. A delightful fusion! It is she who is working with my Chinese horoscope, Wood Sheep that I am. As soon as her books arrive in Ireland in July or August, she will figure out what is going on in my ‘wealth pillar’ regarding my metal and money aspects. I will gladly wait and look forward to what she has to say and will make any changes she suggests to attract more moola, whether it concerns feng shui in my abode or something else… This week, she instructed me in how to talk to my ancestors….
Christina recently returned to Kuala Lumpur for a visit and, while there, she took some photos at roadside craft shops for me. I am interested in Malaysian water jugs called labu sayong. It turns out that the the design is modeled after a pumpkin or gourd. Maybe in ancient times, gourds were used to carry water and this design stuck. These water jugs have been used in Malaysia for a very long time and, because of that, no doubt the style went through a series of refinements. It is perfect for keeping water cool without refrigeration. I was very intrigued by the black ones because they reminded me of Oaxacan pottery, which is made of black clay. My friend told me the black jugs are made with gray clay. Another source said the pieces are first smoked, then burned, then rolled in rice husks. A form of pit firing…. I also found three videos that show they are made, old and current methods, handmade and slip cast.
The following three videos show how the water jugs are made and the first shows a woman working with coils and paddle, then burnishing with stones. And treating pieces with smoke near a wood-fired kiln. (This first segment also shows clay preparation and it’s a bit painful to watch people working around so much clay dust unprotected.) The second video shows the modern way of making the jugs, slip casting, and juxtaposes it with some shots of the old way. Note how they are burnished.… The third video shows decorative treatments and how they are made with wooden stamps. The meanings of the designs elude me, as I don’t know the language, but I enjoyed watching these videos to see how these beautiful jugs are made. Thank you, Christina, for your discussion and for providing me with great photos….