Various kendhi collections of the Tembi Museum of the Yogyakarta Cultural House

In the past, almost every house would have a kendhi. But now, this tool has been largely replaced by items made of metal, porcelain, plastic, glass, and the like.

This kitchen utensil made of pottery (clay) is dedicated as a ready-to-drink place. Kendhi is usually filled with raw water or boiled water. Long ago, water in a kendhi that was ready to drink did not have to be boiled first. Because the raw drinking water in ancient times was not so much polluted by bacteria.

This is very different from raw water now which has been polluted a lot, so it must be cooked before drinking. In addition, it can also be influenced by a person’s physical endurance. People in the past as hard workers were more resistant to raw drinking water than people today.

In the past, almost every house would have a kendhi. But now, this tool has been replaced by many items made of metal, porcelain, plastic, glass, and the like, in the form of teapots, pots, kettles, and so on.

Although there are various forms of kendhi derivation, kendhi still exists today. Of course, its existence is much reduced compared to the old days, when kendhi was still victorious. Javanese people, as one of the users of kendhi, some still use kendhi to store ready-to-eat water.

To get kendhi we can still buy it in traditional markets and in pottery craft centers. Indeed, currently the kendhis have undergone many modifications and the finishing is better. However, its function remains the same as a place for drinking water.

Long before independence, kendhi was widely known by the Javanese. Other tribal communities of course also know him, although his name may be different. An authentic data from the Javanese dictionary “Baosastra Java” written by WJS Poerwadarminta (1939) has recorded it.

On page 208 of the dictionary it is explained that kendhi is a place to store water (drinking) made of pottery (clay), has a “cucuk” (mouth) and a “gulu” (neck). The mouth for pouring water into the glass, is on the side. While the gulu (located above) is a place to pour water into the kendhi and serves as a handle when water is poured into a glass, cup or directly into the mouth.

The shape of the kendhi is unique. The body part is larger than the neck. The lower part of the body (the base) is rather small compared to the middle. In addition, the base is flat, making it easy to place on a table or floor. While the neck is a bit long, enough to hold hands.

Kendhi for the bus launch ceremony to be safe

Usually the top of the neck of the kendhi has a lid, which is also made of earthenware. Its function is so that dirt does not easily enter the kendhi. The mouth for flowing water out is a small cylinder rather long. In order not to get dust, usually also given a lid, made of rolled banana leaves.

The shape of this kendhi is almost similar to the teapot, only without the handle on the side (see picture). The standard kendhi size is 21 cm in diameter and 30 cm in height.

There is a unique custom in Javanese society in the use of kendhi. Every house in the past, especially those on the side of the road, generally provided a kendhi which was placed on the fence of the front yard of the house.

The function of the kendhi is to provide drinking water for travelers or passers-by. In the past, there were practically no stalls selling drinks. So the existence of a kendhi in front of the house is a form of solidarity or a form of doing good deeds. Even though it is only in the form of kendhi water, it is the sense of “care” for others that is important. It’s a shame, today that it is no longer there, when everything is valued with money. Everything must be bought. The “lonely ing selfless” culture has faded.

In the past, when there were not many dispensers, refrigerators, and ice cubes, kendhi water was in great demand, because it tasted cooler than water stored in teapots and the like. Moreover, before the kendhi water overnight was “condensed” outside the house, it would feel refreshing to the body.

In addition to functioning as a place for drinking water, generally kendhi is also used as a complementary symbol for a series of ceremonies, such as marriage and death. At the wedding ceremony, kendhi is present in a series of offerings for the tarub tide ceremony. Likewise, at the death ceremony, kendhi is presented as one of the tools that are carried along to the funeral.

Kendhi water is poured on the tomb of a recently deceased person, which is intended to soothe the soul. Even today, there are still many Javanese people who do it when there is a death ceremony.

Further developments, currently kendhi is also often present when there is an inauguration or important event. For example, when launching or launching a new bus for social activities. So that the use of the bus is safe, the bus is doused with kendhi water. Kendhi is also sometimes present as one of the equipment used in traditional arts, such as kethoprak. When there is a scene in the kitchen or living room, kendhi is there too.

Unfortunately, this one tool, like other tools made of pottery, once broken can no longer be used, unless thrown away. For this reason, the use of kendhi must be extra careful, both in use, care, and storage. Before use, kendhi should be washed with warm water, so that it does not smell of earth. After use, the kendhi should also be cleaned periodically. How to clean by washing using hot water so that the crust in the kendhi peels off and comes out.

If you are interested in using kendhi, you can buy it at the market or traditional stalls, as well as at tourist attractions. What is clear, using kendhi will look more natural and natural.

Source: Tembi-1 and Tembi-2

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