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BatTrang ceramics village retains its ancient art
Update: Sunday, October 16, 2005
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{mosimage}The Bat Trang ceramics village, a 500-year-old village, is located about 10 km northeast of Ha Noi on the left bank of the Red River.

According to Viet Nam's famous history book, Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu, the name of Bat or Bat Trang commune was first known in 1352. However, unofficial records said that in the Ly dynasty (1010-1225), villagers from Bo Bat commune in Ninh Binh province resettled in this area and called it Bat Trang commune. The villagers chose the area because they found porcelain clay - a good material to produce high quality porcelain and ceramics. The land is also easy to access by a water way as it lies next to the Nhi or Hong (Red) River.

{mosimage}Bat Trang ceramics were sought for by people of all walks of life from royal families in Thang Long (Ha Noi) city to farmers. Since the 15th century, ceramic house-utensils made by the Bat Trang village were also among the tributes to Chinese kings.

Since then, throughout the ups and downs of history, Bat Trang village has confirmed the value of its products. The traditional craft of ceramic making in Bat Trang has survived all challenges and continued to develop, especially over the past decades, with thousand of kilns on fire round the clock. Many kilns in Bat Trang are now fuelled by gas, thus helping reduce environmental pollution and ensuring the quality of products.

{mosimage}According to artisans in the village, Bat Trang ceramics have been mainly decorated with paintings of dragons and phoenixes, parallel sentences, floral designs, images of people and landscapes, which all reflect the Vietnamese people's daily activities and spiritual life.

Bat Trang, in the several past centuries, mainly made worshipping objects, then produced house-utensils, including bowls, plates, vases, cups and pots. The village has recently diversified its products, producing many items of fine art ceramics and high quality porcelain.

Bat Trang ceramics have also been shipped to many countries, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and EU member countries. Many ancient ceramics of Bat Trang are being kept in major museums in the world, such as the Royaux museum in Belgium and the Guimet museum in France.

{mosimage}John S. Guy from the Victoria and Albert museum in London praised the value of Bat Trang ceramics in the Ly-Tran dynasty, saying that they reflected the independence of the nation. He said Bat Trang ceramics are truly the pride of Viet Nam.

Since 2002, Bat Trang artisans have promoted their cooperation in the Bat Trang Ceramics Association to boost production and marketing. The association helps Bat Trang people and ceramics businesses get information about the market, learn about new technology, trading ways and opportunities for their trade in order to raise their competitiveness.

 The association has established a centre to promote its exports and is building the trademark of "Bat Trang Viet Nam - a 1,000-year tradition".

The Bat Trang village festival is held annually at the middle of the second month according to the lunar calendar, which usually lasts for seven days. 

Source: Vietnam Agency

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