Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Huong Canh Ceramic Village

Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

I got an invitation from my good friend, Michelle to join her on a trip to Huong Canh village for a weekend trip. We met up and joined a group of about 15 people most of who are housewives and people associated with the group, Friends Of Vietnam Heritage. It sounded like an interesting day, something different. Anyway, we headed by bus to Huong Canh village, one of the oldest ceramic villages which I hadn't heard of before. It used to be really famous for Chum: earthenware or Vai:stoneware, specialising in water jars and cylindrical jars which are used for water and rice.

Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

Nowadays, they have stopped making those famous Chum and Vai products, turning to a craft village like others around to focus on fine arts and decorative roof tiles. Huong Canh village used to have a lot of red brown clay but it started to run out. Then their product prices dropped to almost half price because everyone was making the same stuff in large amounts and demand for the traditional tiles stopped. Making the tiles also caused a lot of pollution with 70% of the villagers having some kind of health problems especially lung diseases.

Old lady - Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

We went to visit the Thanh Nhan workshop which belongs to Mr Nguyen Thanh. He told us lots of interesting facts about the village and his work. There are so far three generations of his family who have practiced the ceramics craft. They dig clay from under the lake in the village and let it sit for six to eight months then use a mix of 70% green clay and 30% brown clay so that it won't crack or split and also won't shrink when fired. He also told us that there are only four families left doing this kind of craft out of 103 families in the village. Most of the stuff they make now is for export with special orders from foreign companies in places such as Korea, Japan and even from Europe. His family has about 50 clay products to choose from and a certain amount of interaction between the family and some enterprises in Bat Trang Ceramic village.

Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

Also, people living in this area also use their traditional products in strange ways such as using clay coffins to make fences or house walls. For us, these coffins are usually only used for the bones of dead people. The village also contains many old houses with small gardens including lots of fruit trees which reminds me about my hometown. The people in Huong Canh village are really sweet but the streets are a bit smelly because of all the dog poo around.

Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

A small funny story occurred on our trip when we bought a few small ornaments for the house. Some of the couples on the trip bought some big pottery buffalos and they said they were too heavy and they couldn't carry them to the bus. The ceramic family said, no problem, they would bring the buffaloes to the bus. We all walked out of that shop to look at the little pagodas and temples around and as we stood in front of the pagoda, an old lady about 60 years old walked past carrying 5 huge clay buffalos. I said, wasn't it funny that the big strong western men couldn't carry them! They didn't say much of course!!!

Thanh Nhan Pottery Village

Anyway, we had a great day, saw a very interesting new place and bought some nice and good stuff. Thanks to Michelle for inviting me.

9 comments:

davors said...

hello..
thanks for visiting my blog...
i was in vietnam for only 9 days...

for me in short...
vietnam is additive~

i would be there again some day!

any places i shouldnt missed?

perhaps the answer is too many? haha

Luigi said...

Such a tranquil place and made a greater interest for me to visit. It was nice to have found your blog and kind regards from West Africa. :-)

Joss said...

I find your posts fascinating! I really enjoy reading about the places you visit and seeing your photos. It's great to get some insight into life in Vietnam and all your adventures!!

Syana said...

hey,

I just found your blog and I think the pictures are just beautiful!

I really enjoyed your blog, because I'm half Vietnamese, and I've only been there once unfortunately, so you really make me want to go back one day! thanks for sharing !

julia said...

thanks for telling us about all this, interesting.

Godknows said...

Thanks for all comments. HAve a great week ahead

cecilia said...

It is nice to see the village here. I am searching for the pottery villages in southeast asia for an exhibition held in Taiwan.

Hope to see much more from you. could I use the pictures in my paper?

Anonymous said...

Hello..

Could you mail to me the bigger pictures? Because I want to show them in our exhibition. My mail is ac0901@tpc.gov.tw

If you have any question, welcome to tell me by the mail.

Thank you.

Cecilia Chen

online pharmacy said...

I wonder if you have more pictures of this enigmatic ceramic village.