Visitors looking to pick up some authentic handicrafts can find some of the best pottery, textiles and carvings that the Indonesian archipelago has to offer around Lombok.
While the beaches and nightlife of Bali may make it Indonesia’s number one tourist destination, travellers in search of authentic handicrafts to take home as souvenirs should head to the neighbouring island of Lombok. The broad range of handicrafts available on the island includes pottery, textiles and limestone carvings, all of which offer a great way to keep the magic of the holiday alive once you've flown home.
Striking traditional pieces like authentic Sasak masks from the Gili Islands always make a great talking point when you host dinner parties and other events at your home and in addition to to their aesthetic appeal, local handicrafts generate extra revenue for the small communities where they are produced. Visitors often travel miles in order to see Lombok’s skilled artisans at work in the villages that pepper the island.
Visitors that want to get their hands on some of Lombok’s famed ceramic products should make their way to the villages of Masbagik, Penujak and Banyumulek. Located between Lembar Harbour and Mataram, Banyumulek is probably the easiest pottery village to get to, and you can spend an afternoon browsing large collections of ceramics that have been intricately decorated by hand. You should make sure to stop at the Rismuniks Astuti art shop to see a demonstration of how Lombok’s unique style of pottery is crafted.
In recent years, the textile products created on Lombok have steadily been garnering an international reputation. Sukarara and Pringgasela are the two main weaving villages on the island, and shoppers that take a trip to these two locations will be delighted to find that the brightly coloured fabrics on sale are of a higher quality than those found in larger shopping centres on the island, like Mataram. The items on offer include sarongs and sokgket weavings.
Visitors exploring the idyllic Gili Islands should head to Gili Air’s art shop when the urge to buy local takes hold. Although Gili Air is certainly not acknowledged as one of Indonesia’s premier shopping destinations, the art shop in the harbour is one of the best locations to pick up an authentic Sasak mask. The indigenous Sasak people currently comprise about 90 percent of Lombok’s total population, and their hand-carved masks have a striking, yet haunting appeal as decorative souvenirs.
Limestone carving is another of the authentic crafts gaining popularity with visitors to the island of Lombok. The villages of Labuapi, Jangkuk and Rungkang are renowned for the craft. The skilled artisans that carve each unique piece are inspired largely by nature, and visitors can search through a range of carvings to find one that is the perfect size and shape. These villages are also great destinations for shoppers that want to kill two retail birds with one stone, and pick up some wooden masks and traditional boxes while they are there.
The speed at which Lombok’s basket weavers intricately thread strands of rattan into wonderful shapes and sizes is nothing short of incredible. Like many of the island’s other handicrafts, a range of woven goods can be purchased on the Jl Raya Senggigi road in the Ampanan district of Mataram city. The Lombok Handicraft Centre at Sayang Sayang also has a vast array of woven goods on offer.
by MAX VEE