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Traditional pottery shapes lives of locals

The Museum of Ethnography recently co-ordinated with the museum in northwestern Son La Province and the Centre for Research of Cham Culture in Central Ninh Thuan Province to hold an exhibition "Displaying ceramics and terra cotta of three minority groups".

Exhibition included objects from the Cham (Bau Truc Village, Ninh Phuong District, Ninh Thuan Province), the Thai (Muong Chanh Village, Mai Son DistrIct, Son La Province) and the Kinh (Phu Lang Village, Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province). The exhibition is aimed at helping traditional pottery villages in the search for a way to develop and expand their customers in domestic as well as export markets. At the exhibition, pottery experts said that traditional pottery villages should use new burning materials to bake the pottery at high temperatures without causing environmental pollution. Traditional enamel colours should continue to be used, however, they must create new glazes and make products decorated with diverse and unique decorative patterns to meet the demands and tastes of different customers.

Vu Huu Nhung, a young artisan from Phu Lang Village, Bac Ninh Province, who was awarded special prize in the competition "Artisan with golden hands" held by the British Council in September 2001, said: "Modern pottery should not be made not justice simple traditional way, but also in a modern and creative manner. Moreover, artisans must always improve their skill to make pottery products look more beautiful and attractive with plentiful models that reflect nature."

"It is very necessary to have an exchange between Muong Chanh’s pottery and other traditional pottery villages," said Doctor La Cong Ly, an expert on Muong Chanh's pottery. "As for Muong Chanh’s pottery, many people in and outside the country are fond of its durability and high fire-resistance, and hope this pottery will be more developed and expanded in the coming years".

The traditional pottery village of Bau Truc is now one of the two most ancient preserved pottery villages in South East Asia. Artisans in this village still use potter's lather and don't use potter's wheel when making products. To preserve this traditional village, the State plans to co-ordinate with the villagers to invest in building modem workshops on an area of 4,000 square meters, and send potters to potteries in Dong Nai Province to work as apprentices, while gradually shifting to produce industrial pottery.

Pottery products now still play an important role in the daily live of the Kinh majority or the Cham, Thai and other ethnic people because they have continued using household utensils, and worshipping objects made from pottery for a long time. Only traditional pottery artisans can help make unique and rare objects that suit every taste. Surely this fact alone will ensure the art form continues to be preserved and developed.

VOV - (09/05/2005)

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