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The village of Banyumulek is located about 6 miles south of Mataram (you need to across Gili Trawangan harbor from Villa Atas Ombak), Banyumulek has become known throughout the international art world for the enormous, elaborately decorated pots which are produced here.
The pots were originally intended as utensils, with a variety of roles to play in village life including food preparation and the performance of ceremonies. However, art critics from the west have been so impressed by the beauty and fine quality of Banyumulek workmanship that the pots have become revered as works of art.
Banyumulek’s unique pottery traditions have been passed down from mother to daughter since the early 16th century. Women learn how to shape and mould the pots from a very early age, using primitive tools and clay collected from the surrounding countryside. They don’t have the benefit of potters’ wheels and all the pots, vases, plates and jugs are hand thrown, sometimes using a round stone and wooden paddle. The men of the village are responsible for firing the pots and they are decorated by local children.
There are several villages in Lombok dedicated to pottery. Banyumulek is the easiest to reach; it lays half way between Lembar harbor and the capital Mataram. Rismunika Astuti art shop, which is located just off the main road have the most varied collection and are prepared to send your purchases abroad for you. They also give a demonstration how the pottery is made. But it is worthwhile to go another km to Banyumulek village. Here every house produces and sells pottery, and you may see them at work too. Walking along the street there are several shops to find your bargain for vases, plates, candlesticks, small souvenirs, and so on.
Aside from pottery, Lombok is also known for its quality pearls (jewelry), weaved cloths and limestone carvings. They also make wooden furniture, wooden crafts works for export from expensive woods like teak and mahogany.