After a long sleep, Chu Dau pottery was awakened, revived, and developed. To date, it has been chosen as one of typical gifts of the country.
Convergence of Vietnamese culture
At the end of the year, the working atmosphere at Chu Dau pottery workshop was bustling as usual. Artisan Tran Thi Ngan was skillfully drawing every line of undulating mountains vaguely appearing in the dim morning dew on Ha Long bay. Though they were only the first strokes, Ngan was still very careful.
"These are very important products to be used by heads of state as gifts at domestic and international diplomatic events; therefore, it takes a great deal of effort," said Ngan.
"Chu Dau pottery was chosen as one of the national gifts because it bears the source of Vietnamese culture. Chu Dau pottery is precious since its material is white clay, a kind of sediment taken from the intersection of six rivers (also known as Luc Dau Giang) in Chi Linh," said Director of Chu Dau Ceramics JSC. Nguyen Huu Thuc.
"Chu Dau pottery is beautiful because its glaze is refined from rice husk ashes and has been recognized as the unique traditional natural glaze of Vietnamese pottery by the Vietnam Book of Records.
"At present, Chu Dau ceramic gifts are being painted or embossed with gold by my company, helping them gather all five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth."
Besides, to deserve to be a national gift, Chu Dau pottery has also got patterns associated with famous landscapes throughout the country. They include the beautiful Ha Long bay, the sacred Mot Cot pagoda and Khue Van Cac (Constellation of Literature Pavilion), white sand beaches in Nha Trang and Da Nang, the graceful The Huc bridge by Guom lake, etc.
To reach its pinnacle, Chu Dau pottery must be as clear as gems, as white as ivory, as thin as a sheet of paper, as shining as glass, and chime like a bell when being knocked on. Therefore, the company is fairly cautious in production stages to choose products meeting all of the criteria as gifts.
According to Nghiem Dinh Son, Sales Manager of Chu Dau Ceramics JSC., not only satisfying aesthetic requirements, those chosen as national gifts must also convey cultural messages to receivers.
Giot ngoc (gem drop) vases mean attraction of fortune, luck, and prosperous fate to recipients.
Bearing yang nature, hoa lam vases (white pottery decorated with blue patterns) symbolize heaven, father, husband, foundation, and the backbone of a family.
Chrysanthemum morifolium patterns on a number of products represent straightforward and successful men in society.
In 2015, Chu Dau pottery was officially selected as one of the country's typical gifts by the Government and President's Offices.
Since then, Chu Dau ceramics have always been honored to accompany delegations of high-ranking leaders of the Party and State to the world.
Shining all over the world
Chu Dau ceramics once traveled around the world by sea. Reviving and developing after more than five centuries of loss, Chu Dau pottery is continuing the journey to find its true value.
"Our mission is not only awakening a precious ceramic line having been fast asleep for hundreds of years but also further heightening the value of products. Our forefathers took Chu Dau pottery to many countries in the world, so now we must inherit and even make the brand name of Chu Dau pottery more well-known all over the world," said director Nguyen Huu Thuc.
Currently, the business is developing a line of ceramics painted or embossed with gold patterns. These new products require artisans to be very meticulous since it is many times harder than making ordinary ceramics. Therefore, the value of Chu Dau gold-patterned ceramics is also many times higher.
Over 70, artisan Ha Ba Dinh still diligently transmits enthusiasm and ceramic making skills to young artisans of the company.
"The value of Chu Dau pottery lies in not only the unique material and glaze but also the skillful hands of artisans. Patterns must be diverse and meaningful and bear the heart and level of the artists," said Dinh.
Therefore, products can be mass molded but patterns must be fully drawn by artisans.
Though Chu Dau ceramics have been exported to more than 30 countries around the world and become precious gifts there, Chu Dau Ceramics JSC. still nourishes a determination to make them more famous to deserve the words given by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc: "Chu Dau pottery – Vietnamese character shines all over the world."