On 29th November 2022, UNESCO offically named “Art of pottery-making of Chăm people” on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding". This certificate is a huge strike to promote the value of Bau Truc Pottery in Ninh Thuan.
Bau Truc pottery village of Cham village ethnic minority is one of the oldest pottery villages in Southeast Asia. It’s located about 10 km in the South of Phan Rang - Thap Cham city. The small village is home to more than 500 families, of which 85% are in the traditional pottery business. The style is said to be handed down from Po Klong Chan, one of their ancestors from the immemorial time.
People in Bau Truc use their skillful hands, bamboo-made circles and shells to create priceless works. It is surprising that while other pottery villages on the strip of Vietnam such as Bat Trang (Hanoi); Chu Dau (Hai Duong); Bien Hoa - Dong Nai or Phuoc Tich Pottery Village - Thua Thien Hue, Thanh Ha - Quang Nam... have switched to using wheels as an indispensable tool, their Cham counterparts, on the contrary, still rely on talented hands and simpletools. To create a pottery product, a Cham craftsman only needs an anvil, not a potter's wheel, and other simple equipment and moulds and then uses hands to shape pieces of clay into the works he wants.
The clay is taken from the banks of the Quao River and is flexible, durable when being fired. The skills needed to mix sand with the clay are also various. The amount of sand mixed with the plastic material is dependent on what the pottery is used for and the sizes. For these seasons, Bau Truc pottery is quite different from pottery elsewhere. For example, water jars made in Bau Truc pottery are always favoured by people in dry and sunny areas because the temperature of the water in the jars is always one centigrade cooler than that outside.
Bau Truc products characterise the life, culture and beliefs of locals. They range from simple home utensils such as a jar, pot, pan or kettle, to objects of worship, statues, reliefs and decorative patterns. The patterns on Bau Truc pottery ware mostly portray natural scenery and show the Cham’s beliefs.
Visitors to Ninh Thuan province can spend a day in the village, admire various exclusive pottery items and challenge yourself in making pottery products. With the guidance of the craftsmen, you can free your artist soul and create everything that pops in your mind, the locals here will help you to finish your favourite items.
Last but not least, don’t leave the village empty handed, pick small souvenirs in many shapes and colours for your family as gifts and as a lovely memory to treasure.
It takes you only 15 minutes to get there by car and 25 minutes by motorbike from Phan Rang - Thap Cham City, so why not give yourself a ride to Bau Truc Pottery Village and enjoy the art of pottery-making of Cham people.
On 15th June 2023, Ninh Thuan Province will organise the Ceremony of receiving UNESCO's Certificate of Inscription "Art of pottery-making of Chăm people on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding". The event takes place in the framework of Ninh Thuan Grape and Wine Festival 2023.