Vietnamese Craftsmanship, Pottery

Vietnamese Craftsmanship, Pottery

Pottery production is a millenniums-old craft in Việt Nam; techniques were learned from both India and China. Artefacts from the Cham and Khmer civilizations run the gamut of pottery, crockery and earthenware for the manufacture of utensils, tools, and sculpture. Potters in Northern Việt Nam worked from earliest times up until today, both in un-glazed pottery and in porcelain with glazes similar to those from China.

In this northern area, archaeological sites have yielded stoneware dating from the 11th century, indicating an early tradition of firing beautiful hues of celadon. Schooners that sailed to European markets during the great maritime trade may well have carried cargos of ceramics from Việt Nam but were thought to be from China.

Today, there are several centres of production, most of which produce unglazed pottery fired at low temperatures. The northern region of Việt Nam in the Red River Delta has clay deposits of good quality and are known for finer ceramics with lovely glazes.

The village of Bát Tràng in the Gia Lâm district of Hà Nội has produced pottery for centuries, specializing in blue-and-white glazes fired at high temperatures. Motifs of flowers, dragons, and phoenixes are inherited from China, but Vietnamese adaptations are lighter and more spontaneous.

Thanh Hà Pottery Village has been making beautiful artwork for over 400 years. But it was put on the map during the time of the Nguyễn dynasty (Nhà Nguyễn) when craftsmen were invited to fashion some decorative articles for the palace. The village is located in the district of Hải Dương Province in the Red River Delta region of Quảng Nam province. The scent of wood burning in the kiln will hit your olfactory senses as you walk through the narrow pathways that form a maze through the villager’s simple riverside homes. Today, the brick and earthen kiln are used cooperatively. The entire village works in ceramics, with the government lending a hand in marketing.

Vân Sơn has been famous for centuries as a pottery-making village, one of the oldest in Bình Định Province. Skilful village craftsmen make pottery of all shapes and sizes, from enormous jars and flower pots to small necklaces and children’s toys. Vân Sơn pottery is fired at extremely high temperatures to produce the trademark reddish-brown colour preferred by customers.

Mỹ Thiện pottery village in Quảng Ngãi province in central Việt Nam and surrounding by mountains and hills in the west and along its borders with Quảng Nam and Bình Định provinces. It’s a centuries-old terracotta craft village produce terracotta homeware such as jar, pots, vases, etc with a special mixture of baked shells, clay, straw, rice husks and rock powder are ground by manual millstone into a liquid, which is then applied to the pottery products before they are heated in the kiln twice. The clay using in Mỹ Thiện pottery must come from good quality farmland within the Quảng Ngãi province.

People in coastal rural and mountainous areas stored rice and wine in terracotta jars or vases for long conservation, while fishermen also kept fermented fish sauces in clay pots for family use year-round. Terracotta products were also very popular among ethnic groups living in the Central Highlands region.

Few people know that pottery products in Biên Hòa are a city in Đồng Nai Province, about 30 kilometres east of Sài Gòn were famous both at home and abroad from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. So far, the types of pottery products made in Biên Hòa during that period are still invaluable and rare for those who are keen on collecting ancient pottery. The ceramics line is a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and Western-styled ceramics.

It is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Although Biên Hòa ceramics was influenced by foreign factors, it always kept its unmistakable characteristics.

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