The art of ceramics has spread across the archipelago. In South Sulawesi archeologists have found ceramics of fine quality dating back to the 17th century. One record has it that in the 16thcentury the aristocrats in Aceh used plates and cups madeof beautiful porcelain during festivities. In the Kalimantan hinterland, people have used ceramics for centuries. Some of the articles were made by local people, while some were imported.
The bustling Pasar Ikan port in North Jakarta, formerly named Sunda Kelapa port, was one center of the ceramic business in the 15th century. There, an excavation in 1981 discovered 4,448 pieces of fine porcelain. Ceramic traders from as far as China and Laos flooded the port to bring in their merchandise and over time exchanged their own country’s art of ceramic making with local artists. This explains why the foreign influence is so strong in Indonesian ceramics.
There are some ceramic centers in Indonesia which have long been famous. One is in Plered, West Java, which started in 1918 and is still in operation. Another is Kasongan and Kotagede, known as “silver town” in Yogyakarta, which produces very good articles. Kasongan products, which are acclaimed “utterly Indonesian,” feature pictures of animals, like the horse, tiger, dragon and bull.