|Larger than life: Two workers put together parts of a large pottery water jug.|
The Đại Hưng Pottery Workshop has kept its fire burning for nearly 160 years. Located in Tương Bình Hiệp District in southern Bình Dương Province, the workshop produces tens of thousands of pottery pieces every year, with its main product line consisting of water vases of various sizes.
Formed by the hands of skillful workers from a special type of clay only available in the locality, the workshop’s pottery is popular in markets in the Mekong Delta as well as in neighboring Cambodia.
The workshop is still making pottery in the traditional way, with large kilns burning firewood. Bùi Văn Giang, a fifth generation owner, said the process of making pottery uses nature’s five elements: workers dig up clay (Earth), mix it with water (Water), shape the mixture with machine (Metal), and burn it with firewood (Wood and Fire).
“Of all those steps, keeping the fire strong and steady is the most important,” Giang said. Pottery must be burned at 1200 to 1400 degree Celsius continuously to produce the best quality of wares, a meticulous step that usually require 6-10 fire workers.
The workshop was recognised as a provincial historical site by the Bình Dương People’s Committee in 2006. — VNS
|Freshly made: Workers take pottery pieces out to dry under the sun.|
|Final step: Pottery waiting to go in the kiln for a trial by fire.|
|Ready for sale: Bùi Văn Giang, the workshop’s fifth generation owner, moves finished products out to the loading dock.|
|Plenty of pots: Đại Hưng pottery wares loaded up on boats before being transported to markets. — VNA/VNS Mạnh Linh|