As my colleague and I recently placed Indonesian antiques in a display in our showroom, I was struck by the simplicity and beauty of these pieces. So, I decided to do some research and find out more about these very cool artifacts.
Traditionally, these old teak items are used in the harvesting of rice. Typically in Indonesia, jobs are divided between men and women. Men prepare the paddy field before planting begins and the women take care of the planting. Women also have the job of milling the paddy skin to expose the white rice. They do this by using a “lesung”, or mortar, and an “alu”, which is a stamper, like a large pestle. What I find most fascinating, is that these “lesungs” are used for more than just stamping rice. While many women pound the rice, only two or three women work to separate the rice from its skin. The others, who are waiting, make music, using the lesung and alu. This music is called “Gejok Lesung” and it acts as a way to keep the rhythm.
As I get older (and wiser), I find myself drawn to accessories and furniture that have a history. It is easy to find knockoffs at your local chain store (which oddly cost more than the price of the real deal). At Casual Elements, we want to offer our customers a cultural experience. We have so many beautiful Indonesian artifacts, including these “lesungs”. We also carry antique ceramic pots and old teak doors and shutters.
Whatever your taste, challenge yourself to look for pieces that speak to you and tell a story. It is thrilling to find old items that repurpose for modern day use. When guests enter your home, and they see your creativity at work, you will gain their admiration and inspire them to do the same.
The “lesungs” we carry, which can be circular or rectangular, have an open space in the center, which make them especially nice for planting flowers in them. They can also be used as a small table base by placing a piece of glass on top of them. For the Holidays, you could use one as a manger for a nativity scene. Any way which they are used, these antique tools will add charm and old world style to your indoor or outdoor decor.