Quake Upsets the Cradle of Indonesian Culture

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KASONGAN, Indonesia, May 31 — Behind a painted sign on a sidewalk reading, "This is not an exhibition, it's a disaster," hundreds of traditional ceramic sculptures lie shattered beneath a collapsed roof.

More than half the houses, shops and galleries lining this small street here were destroyed in the earthquake on Saturday and are littered with the broken remains of their owners' livelihoods. The hundreds of artists who live in Kasongan, a village in Bantul, the district hardest hit by the quake, have survived for generations by selling the pottery they make to tourists.

The region affected by the earthquake is part of the ancient kingdom of Yogyakarta, the cradle of Javanese art and culture, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia.

"I'm worried I will have nothing to give to my children now," said Buang, 50, who uses only one name. He has four adult offspring, all of whom worked in the family's shop.

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