Phu Lang, a traditional pottery village

Published:  01:32 Tuesday - December 28, 2010 Phu Lang, a traditional pottery village in Dai Lan, Que Vo, in northern Bac Ninh Province creates pieces that capture the heart and soul of Vietnam.

Phu Lang Pottery Village is located in Phu Lang Commune, Que Vo District, Bac Ninh Province and about 60km from northeast of Hanoi. Phu Lang craft village is situated at the poetic Cau River. It impresses tourists with its simplicity. Among dozens of craft villages in the Cau River area, the cradle of the Red River civilisation, Phu Lang is well known with many ceramic artisans. For years, the village seemed unchanged. However, since the Saint Patron of ceramics making, Luu Phong Tu, brought the craft from China to Phu Lang and taught his children and co-villagers to make ceramic articles, dozens of generations of craftsmen have settled in Phu Lang and earned their living by practicing this occupation.

Phu Lang traditional pottery village

Many tourists like travelling to the village because they have a chance to make ceramics themselves. Clay, the materials used to make ceramics, is bought from other places and transported to the village by boat. Tourists to the village can stay at villagers’ homes to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, see the ceramic kilns mushrooming along the dykes or on the low hills near Luc Dau Giang, facing the Cau River which runs all the year round. For years, Phu Lang ceramic ware has been on sale together with those ceramic articles made in Bat Trang, Tho Ha, Huong Canh, Phan Thiet, Dong Nai and Mong Cai, other well-known ceramic making areas. However, the products of Phu Lang are much sought after by customers throughout the country due to their durability, diversity and unique enamel colours of eel skin, purple, pink, black, yellow, frog skin,... A special enamel, called shrunk enamel, is only made by these two artisans. At different temperatures, this enamel produces different natural designs and diverse items which greatly attract buyers.

Phu Lang traditional pottery village

Phu Lang ceramic products are of high quality because they are dried in the traditional kiln called the Rong, which is specially constructed and uses dry wood as fuel. The kiln is built in the shape of a lying fish, 2.3 m (at the widest point) and 1.8m (at the narrowest point) in width and 2.5m (tallest) and 1.8m (shortest) in height. There is no support pillar inside. The kiln vault is made of brick. On average, one batch includes 700 main products, such as jars, basins, pots,... and 1,000 -1,500 extra items such as bottles, water troughs and pots to cook traditional medicine. The products are tempered at more than 1,000ºC. It is because of the result of the high temperature-resistant red clay, the finished products are not deformed after being fired and baked. Phu Lang ceramic products have quickly found a niche in both domestic and foreign markets, including the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Sweden and Thailand.

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