It was said that bout 700 years ago, some local people in Bo Bat village, Yen Mo , Ninh Binh province followed King Ly Cong Uan when he moved from Hoa Lu to Thang Long. These residents settled at the clay area on the bank of the Red River, about 10km form the center of vietnam hanoi. The clay here was so white and soft that they set up a pottery village. At first, they only made bricks and simple ceramics and then with their skillful hands, Bat Trang ceramics has become very precious objects that guests would like to buy.
700 years later, I now take a journey to Bat Trang, along the dike by the Red river to witness the beauty of potteries. Bat Trang includes two villages, Bat Trang and Giang Cao, Gia Lam district, Hanoi. The commune features a pottery market, which is a destination of anyone, who would like to contemplate the beauty of potteries.
Stepping in Bat Trang pottery market, one can see the wonder of potteries that we cannot ignore and surely will buy something to take back home. At the entrance gate of the market, statue coloring workshops are favorite places of not only chirldren but also adults. Here you can choose a statue and color it as what you imagine. After being colored, the statue will be your own work and taken home as a sourvenir.
You can also try to make some potteries right in the parking. With available wet clay and machineries, artisans will instruct you to create your own potteries. The coloring and making potteries are some of entertaining activities in the village. In addition, you can wander around thousands of various potteries, in which some of them are 2m hight, to enjoy the beauty of potteries. You can find every type of pottery products in Bat Trang market. You can buy a vase or a glazed jar to decorate your room.
You can also buy a variety of statues such as the statues of woodcutter, Buddha and fisherman to make a collection of the trip. Stylized teapots at over a hunddred thousand VND are the most attractive. Many shops do not allow you to take photos. This is explained that because many tourists just would like to takes photos without buying any products, meanwhile the products need to be sold. To take photos in these shops, you have to buy some products here!.
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Some kiosks in front of the pottery market just serve guests until 6p.m with local foods. They use charcoal fireplaces to cook and serve pyramidal rice dumplings with pork pie. Boiled eggs, grilled corn and sausages. Stop at these simple restaurants to enjoy delicious foods of local people, and the continue to the pottey village.
The pottery village is about 700m from the market. After a quiet period, until 1986, Bat Trang pottery village was strongly developed. Here, every family takes this career. Potteries are now burnt by gas or pit-coal instead of woods as in the past. The path to the village, which is narrower and narrower with some streches just fitting one person, runs around the village as a stratedy plan. Those lanes, which can make you lost easily, have created on original pottery village.
Along the path, sometimes, we can bump into a wall sticked with mixed clay with pit-coal as a dry mask. Sign plates of pottery workshops sticked on the houses and wet potteries are dried under the corridors. You can drop by a workshop to have a look at the way artisans are making beautiful products as well as learn to make potteries. Local people in Bat Trang are proud of their reputation. They also very hospitable because it is their hospitality that has created their reputation.
The pottery village situates at the end of that path. The communal house was built 300 years ago. In 2005, the communal house was certificated the artistic, architectural, cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture – Information. The house features a line of iron-wood pillars with more than 50 principles of conferring village’s god through dynasties. Its entrance gate overlooks to the Red river with a large cement yard and stairs to the riverbank as well as benches by river for guests to take a rest. Local people said that the water from the Red river once flooded the communal gate.
I close my journey at the pottery village by sitting in front of the communal house and looking at the flowing Red river.Local people in Bat Trang are hardworking to create wonderful potteries to export to the world. That pottery village has been in existence for over 700 years.
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