Genthong pottery, owned by residents in Bantul, DIY
One of the traditional kitchen tools in Javanese society which is currently rare is the genthong, especially one made of clay. In ancient times, genthong can almost certainly be found in every Javanese house as a place to store water for cooking. The place is never far from the kitchen, which is placed outside or inside the kitchen.
However, nowadays it is not certain that one genthong is found in every village in Java. If there is any, usually it is no longer used as the main function, but has been used for other purposes, such as for ripening fruit, trash cans, other utensils, or even not being used at all alias just put in the warehouse, in the kitchen or even set aside outside the house. .
In general, pottery pots have a cylindrical shape, the middle is convex, the bottom is flat, and the top (mouth) is small with lips and sometimes a lid. The height varies from 40 cm to 80 cm with the diameter of the middle reaching 40-70 cm according to the size of the genhong. Genthong is usually made of clay.
Genthong is a kitchen utensil that has long been known by the Javanese people. In fact, this term has also been included in a Javanese dictionary called Baoesastra Djawa written by WJS Poerwadarminta published in 1939. On page 144 it is stated that a genthong is a kitchen utensil that functions as a water container, its shape is large like a genuk. This indicates that long before it was included in the dictionary, the existence of genthong had spread in Javanese society.
Pottery Genthong Craftsmen Still Survive in the Masaran area, Sragen, Central Java, photo: terasolo.com
Currently, the existence of pottery barrels has been replaced by similar items made of plastic. For this reason, the production of pottery tile is also very rare except in large centers, such as Kasongan, Yogyakarta. In addition, there are only one or two home-level gentong craftsmen who still survive, among others in the Masaran area, Sragen, Central Java.
The exclusion of earthenware pots is because, among other things, they are less durable than plastic pots. The pottery genthong is easy to break. In addition, plastic pots are more practical and easy to maintain, even though the price of plastic pots is more expensive than earthenware pots.
In addition to having switched to plastic pots, many housewives in Javanese society today also use plastic buckets as a substitute for earthenware pots. Considering that plastic buckets are cheap, easy to maintain, easy to move, and the risk of breaking is small. So it is not surprising that Javanese households today use buckets and plastic jars to store water for cooking purposes, rather than earthenware pots.