A small steamer from the Tembi Museum, the Yogyakarta Cultural House

Steam is a kitchen tool that has long been used by the Javanese people. This tool is easily damaged, so it is very rare to find artifacts. To trace the existence of tools in Javanese society, one of them can be traced in a dictionary.

The Javanese Dictionary “Baosastra Java” written by WJS Poerwadarminta (1939), has recorded this tool. On page 233 column 1, it is stated that the steamer is a tool used to steam rice when it is cooked (made of woven bamboo in the shape of a cone).

Until now, there are still many steamers, both in households and in stalls selling kitchen utensils. The kitchen utensils are also found in other areas outside the Javanese community. Of course the name is also different. Steaming kitchen utensils are usually produced in woven bamboo center villages, including Nitikan Village, Semanu, Gunungkidul; and Minggir Village, Minggir District, Sleman. Both are located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

A small steamer from the Tembi Museum, the Yogyakarta Cultural House

In addition to cooking rice, the steamer is also used to cook tiwul as well as to print the shape of the gunungan. The habit of making tiwul using a steamer can be found in the Gunungkidul area. Steamers are also often used to print tumpeng rice. But usually the size of the steam used is small.

The price of the steamer varies from Rp. 2,000 to Rp. 10,000, depending on the size. The material for making the steamer is apus bamboo, because it is flexible. Ori and petung types of bamboo are not suitable for steaming, because they are too thick and break easily. Apus bamboo grows a lot in rural areas or on the banks of rivers.

In its development, sometimes the steamer is used for other purposes. We often encounter new students who take part in Ospek activities or orientation for campus activities, also using steam as one of the Ospek attributes. Likewise, when they were seventeen, steamers were often used as decorations that were hung on ori bamboo found on the sides of the road.

A small steamer from the Tembi Museum, the Yogyakarta Cultural House

This kitchen utensil is easily damaged. For traditional Javanese people, steamers that have not been badly damaged can still be embroidered with new woven bamboo. However, if the hole is severe, this used steamer can be used to cover the barrel. If the damage is almost complete, then throw it away or use it for fuel.

Source: Tembi