Category FAQs Search : Art, Culture and History of Sarawak, Malaysia

Question: The firing (baking) of the dry clay pots (Iban Pottery):

Answer: 1. Runin had selected a sheltered clearing near the longhouse and had gathered a pile of firewood-sticks of about 3' length and 2"-3" thickness. She put 4 strong branches and on top of these she placed glowing sticks which she had brought with her from her fire place.
2. Runin quickly built up the pile, criss-cross, layer by layer, until the pile was about two feet high. She then supported this pile by putting up four strong sticks vertically, one at each corner of it.
3. Then Runin put the pots and built a cafe around them with interlocking sticks. This cage and the pots were covered with more sticks.
4. After about thirty minutes the fire had burned down and the pots could be seen lying in the ashes. Runin took the pots one by one with a stick out of the still glowing ashes and dipped them into "samak" (liquid obtained by first soaking and boiling pounded mangrove bark chips in water and then squeezing them out).
5. Runin then put the pots back into the wood ashes and turned them round several times. This, Runin explained, made them water proof; but it also added to their beauty. While before, the pots were light brown in colour and showed several dark patches caused by flames, they now had even dark brown bronze-like colour which looked even more attractive after the pots had been used for a while.

(Source: Iban Pottery: Sarawak Museum Occasional Paper No.5 , 20 Sep 2021)

Source Link: Pustaka Negeri Sarawak Book Collection