It is one or two oldest pottery villages in South East Asia, Bau Truc Pottery village of Cham ethnic minority is located about 10 kilometres in the South of Phan Rang town. The small village has more than 400 families, of which 85% are in the traditional pottery business.
More than 15 years ago, the pottery craft of Bau Truc Pottery Village, where Cham people have been making pottery for hundreds of years, was thought to be coming to an end. Only a few out of the village’s more than 400 households were making some pottery products for a living. They made things like pots and jars and carried them around to sell. Now, the craft has been resurrected.
‘Nobody thought Bau Truc Pottery Village would be like it is today,’ 65-year-old Dang Thi Phan, owner of a pottery workshop, said. At noon, Ms Phan was still busy working with her employees at a working table with lots of clay. ‘We must try to make use of sunshine. We need to make enough products to dry so that we will have enough to put in a heap to bake. We must rush against time to produce enough for a contract,’ Ms Phan said, her hands working on a clay item.
Ms. Phan, who has been in the craft for more than 70 years, said her village craft began to gradually develop again by producing fine art pottery in 2000. Since 2005, many pottery workshops in Bau Truc Village have had customers who buy large numbers of pottery products.
People in Bau Truc use their skillful hands, bamboo – made circles and shells to create priceless works. It is surprising that while the Kinh people have switched to using wheel as an indispensable tool, their Cham counterparts on the contrary still rely on talent hands and rudimentary tools. To create a pottery product, a Cham craftsman only needs an anvil, not a potter’s wheel, and other rudimentary tools and molds and then uses hands shape pieces of clay into the work he wants. With skillful manipulations and extraordinary masterpiece comes into being.
The material that takes an important role in creating real made-in-Bau Truc being pottery special clay. The clay is taken from the banks of the Quao River and is very flexible, durable when being fired. The skills needed to mix sand with the clay are also various. The amount of sand mixed with the plastic material is dependent on what the pottery used for and the sizes. For these reasons, Bau Truc pottery is quite different from pottery elsewhere. For example, water jars made in Bau Truc are always favored by people in dry and sunny areas because the temperature of the water in the jars is always centigrade cooler than that outside.
No one can deny that Bau Truc Pottery Village and cultural relics contribute greatly for tourists to Ninh Thuan. History shows that a large number of foreigners have come there for tourism or research purposes over the past years, although official tours to this village not been launched. Furthermore, Ninh Thuan has already prepared a tourist masterpiece highlights Bau Truc as a venue worth receiving more investment.
Source: Vietnam Heritage
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