Batu Kitang rep calls on Asadia to preserve ancient tradition of ‘periuk tanah’

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Lo (centre) hits the ‘gendang pampat’ after receiving it as a token of appreciation for attending the event. Also seen are (from left) Mabong and Sidi.

KUCHING (Dec 3): The Academy of Sarawak Dayak Iban (Asadia) should preserve the ancient tradition of Iban pottery, known as ‘periuk tanah’ (earthen pot) to ensure the longevity of this cultural treasure, said Batu Kitang assemblyman Dato Lo Khere Chiang.

Citing research from the Sarawak Museum, which was published in ‘The Sarawak Museum Journal Volume 10, No 19/20, 1962, Lo said the earthen pot that existed 40,000 years ago is very similar to that used by the Iban community today.

“It is my hope that Asadia will persist in advocating and bequeathing the uniqueness of Dayak arts and culture, so that these unique artistic expressions do not fade into oblivion with the passage of time.

“Therefore, Asadia needs to organise ceramic classes to preserve one of the unique aspects of Iban culture, which is the art of crafting periuk tanah,” he said in his speech at the Asadia Cultural Classes Graduation Night held at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) hall here last night.

Recognising Asadia’s efforts to revive and promote Dayak culture, Lo believe that Asadia can move more actively and attract the interest of the youth to learn Dayak culture, as well as participation of those from the Malay and Chinese communities.

“This indirectly helps to maintain Dayak identity, steering the youth away from negative activities and crimes, fostering unity and harmony in Sarawak society,” he said.

Lo also underscored the economic potential of Asadia’s initiatives, stating that the skills acquired from Asadia can be marketed as tourism and business products.

“Traditional arts like tabuh, sape, belikan, and skills in decorative arts and crafts can attract international tourists.

“For example, craft products such as Bunga Jarau experience high demand during celebrations, serving as decorations in government complexes, private spaces, and shopping centres,” he said.

The event witnessed the presentation of certificates to some 200 participants of various age and races who had just completed their traditional Iban dances course, art of self-defence, traditional music and Iban oral tradition.

Also present were Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) president Sidi Munan and Asadia head cum organising chairman Mabong Unggang.