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Bau Truc pottery applied for UNESCO recognition as intangible cultural heritage

by VOV526 November 2018 Last updated at 07:00 AM

VTV.vn - Bau Truc pottery village is located about 10 kilometers south of Phan Rang city. One of the most famous pottery making villages in Vietnam, Bau Truc has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.

Bau Truc pottery products are all hand-made. When they are baked, they are not covered by enamel. Most of Bau Truc potters are women.

The founder of the village was Po Klong Chanh. More than 1,000 years ago, he refused to become a mandarin and returned to his hometown to teach female villagers to use clay to make cooking utensils and other household items.

To show their gratitude, local people perform a ritual in honor of Po Klong Chanh during the annual Kate Festival in October, the biggest celebration of the Cham ethnic people.

People in Bau Truc still make pottery the traditional way. They do not use turntables. The craftsmen shape the products entirely by hand. This technique creates the typical look of Bau Truc pottery.

Artisan Dao Thi Tuyet Hang said “Sand and clay are mixed at a ratio of 3 to 2 for small products or 7 to 5 for bigger items. Bau Truc artisans keep moving their hands around the clay. The longer they do this, the more beautiful and round the products. They use wet cloths to make the surface smooth. After shaping and decorating, the products are dried in the sun, then polished, then fired for a day and a night. All steps are done manually, making each product unique. On average, a potter walks about 8 km a day shaping her products.”

Artisan Dao Thi Tuyet Hang demonstrates pottery making at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi.
Artisan Dao Thi Tuyet Hang demonstrates pottery making at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi.

Bau Truc pottery is very different from other pottery. Decorative patterns on Bau Truc pottery represent rivers, seashells, snails, and other features of the daily life of local people. Without enamel, Bau Truc pottery has a distinctive reddish-brown color embellished with lines of red-yellow, red-pink, and black-grey.

Dai Tri Quyet, a villager, said “Bau Truc potters do all the steps manually without any machinery. They move their whole body to create ceramic items. Firing is also done traditionally, which means outdoors using straw and wood. Bau Truc pottery has had two periods of development. In the past, the traditional products were flower pots, water jars, plates, and food jars. Since 2000, Bau Truc people have also created fine-art pottery products. This is the heyday of Bau Truc village.”

Visitors to Bau Truc can watch local artisans create pottery items and can try their own hand at making pottery under the guidance of a skilled artisan.

Ho Si Son, Deputy Director of the provincial Culture, Sports, and Tourism Department, said “We are applying to UNESCO for recognition of Bau Truc pottery as an intangible cultural heritage. The province has a plan for preserving Bau Truc pottery by training a new generation of artisans. Tourism promotion has been financed to attract more tourists.”

Bau Truc pottery village is one of the oldest pottery villages in Southeast Asia. 90% of the 500 households in the village are engaged in the craft. Bau Truc products are available in many provinces and cities in Vietnam and exported to several other countries.

 

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