Hoi An may be about the architecture and the food and the beach, but Than Ha, the nearby town where fishermen live, has another striking attribute: it is a centuries-old hub for ceramics and pottery.
We know the ceramics capability is legendary and goes back centuries because of writings that go back to the era when the Imperial seat of power, the capital of Viet Nam was in Hue, in Central Vietnam.
The Emperor had the village of Than Ha manufacture all the floor tiles, roof tiles and ceramic decorations for his palace. This alone cemented the village’s reputation as the center of all things ceramic in Viet Nam.
Large ceramic urns ~ historically to store water… too big, too heavy to bring to Sri Lanka, but … they would look great in our future garden.
The village of Than Ha is pretty much 50% fishermen, 50% pottery maker. Here terracotta bowls and vessels dry in the sun.
A ceramacist lays out her pots to dry in the sun before they go into the fire kiln.
Rustic kiln using fire wood, as opposed to a more modern electric one. This is the traditional, more eco version.
One of the most respected elder potters in the village. We plan to visit her sometime soon.
The pottery wheel used in the village is operated by the potter’s foot, (as opposed to being electric.)
Painting of women in traditional dress ~ today this is the uniform for girls in high school,( in white), as in the painting.
The ubiquitous Vietnamese lotus flower. National flower of Viet Nam, symbol of divine beauty. “In the pond, nothing is more beautiful than lotus, the flower of the dawn.”
Cool wall of clay tiles !
Is this a yoga asana? Note all ceramic pieces are pure terra-cotta. No glazing is done in Than Ha.
An imposing clay wall…which allows the light to stream through.
One of Ben’s hidden talents is that he sculpts ~ with clay. Usually more inclined to sculpting nudes (no surprise here!), this time around, he has a more functional task.
Ben decides to take advantage of Than Ha’s proximity to create clay lanterns that will adorn our future Sri Lanka home.
Where you might see a “block”, Ben sees a Kandinsky, Picasso or Miro…
How fun will it be to have our Ben-made lights in Sri Lanka? Great part of having an entire village dedicated to clay and ceramics is that there is relatively no hassle. Clay available. Tools available. Cheap. Kiln available… Only part missing is a bit of design creativity… and Ben’s got plenty of that…