The Ancient Pottery Village of Thanh Ha

Legend has it that in the 16th and 17th centuries, artisans from Thanh Hoa Province settled in Hoi An and established the village. They practiced their traditional craft and handed it down to the present-day potters. Under the Nguyen Dynasty, the craft flourished, providing pottery products to provinces from Hue to Binh Dinh. At that time, the village’s products were also exported to Japan, China and Spain via the Hoi An Trading Port. According to the “Essays on the United Great Vietnam” of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century, besides supplying tiles and bricks for the construction of houses in Hoi An, Thanh Ha villagers also produced pottery for Hue court to build temples and shrines.

A pottery kiln in Thanh Ha Village.

Making pottery products in the traditional way.

Children in Thanh Ha Village make pottery pigs.

Shaping animals.

Decorating pottery products.

Foreign tourists are interested in artistic pottery items produced by Thanh Ha villagers.

Artistic pottery products of Thanh Ha Village.

Previously, Thanh Ha pottery products were mainly functional like earthen pots, vases, cups, jars, bricks and tiles. However, to meet the increasing demand of the market, the Thanh Ha villagers now make diverse products of high artistic value. At present, the village has nearly 100 households engaged in the craft, making a contribution to preserving and developing the traditional craft. Furthermore, the village has become a destination for visitors on tour to Hoi An, a world cultural heritage site.
Visiting the village, tourists not only see artisans making beautiful pottery products and learn about the process of making pottery products in the traditional way but also make their own products with instructions from the village’s artisans.
According to Nguyen Thi Duoc, 88 years old, who is the most talented artisan in the village, there were times when many households used modern machines to produce ceramics but these products were not much sought after by customers. They finally realized that machines can make products more quickly but the products were repetitive and did not have the distinctive look or feel of the traditional.
Recently, Thanh Ha pottery products were granted the Certificate of Collective Brand Register by the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology. This certification helps Thanh Ha Village promote the traditional craft and develop the local economic and tourist potential.

By Thong Thien – Hoang Giap

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