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The Beautiful Tradition of Aulacese (Vietnamese) Ceramics (In Aulacese)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

From the south, you travel up north Bringing with you a song from the River of Nine Dragons and a heartfelt love of a man from the land of orchards I go out to greet you with tender affection.

Preparing a black horse and golden palanquin, Taking along lý tunes and chanty, O beloved, I traverse high mountain passes, one after another To bring you back home, singing song of faithfulness.

A Quan họ girl is lovelorn of the mynah bird I’ve been fond of you since long ago Someone’s garment flutters in the wind on the bridge We’re deeply devoted to each other. A Quan họ girl is lovelorn of the mynah bird I will follow you this time The breeze sways flowers in the field of rice Singing our song of matrimonial tie.

From the south, you travel up north Bringing with you a song from the River of Nine Dragons and a heartfelt love of a man from the land of orchards I go out to greet you with tender affection.

Preparing a black horse and golden palanquin, Taking along lý tunes and chanty, O beloved, I traverse high mountain passes, one after another To bring you back home, singing song of faithfulness.

A Quan họ girl is lovelorn of the mynah bird I’ve been fond of you since long ago Someone’s garment flutters in the wind on the bridge We’re deeply devoted to each other. A Quan họ girl is lovelorn of the mynah bird I will follow you this time The breeze sways flowers in the field of rice Singing our song of matrimonial tie. O my Quan họ beloved! O black horse! O my Quan họ beloved! O black horse!

You’ve just enjoyed “Song of Devotion,” written by composer Trương Quang Tuấn, with vocals and dance accompaniment by our vegan Association from southern Âu Lạc (Vietnam). “Song of Devotion” praises the love between people from the south and north regions; though having to cross mountain passes and streams, a man from the Nine-Dragon Delta and a woman from Quan họ land pledge to form a harmonious bond of love.

Two Western ceramic historians, Professors John Guy and John Stephenson, in their book titled “Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition,” written originally in English, acknowledges that Aulacese ceramics has a long-standing history and a very unique tradition compared to those of other countries well-known for their pottery. Each region has also developed its own course. The difference between northern, central and southern style has created a colorful picture of pottery for Âu Lạc.

Forest Flower Residence Whenever pottery is mentioned, Aulacese folk poetry has these verses: “If only I could marry you, I would buy Bát Tràng bricks to build...” Bát Tràng bricks are famous far and near. Bricks are used to build temples, shrines, and palaces. Bricks are used to build houses, roads, lakes, and wells. However, Bát Tràng not only produces ancient bricks but is also a center symbolic of northern Aulacese ceramics. For a long time, Bát Tràng has always had hundreds of ceramic kilns. Everywhere people are busy preparing clay, polishing, glazing, and heating products.

Most Bát Tràng ceramics are handicraft products. To make ceramics, the artisans must go through phases of selecting, treating, preparing the soil, then shaping, decorating, glazing and, finally, heating.

Selecting clay is a very important step. Clay must have high plasticity with essential chemical compositions, fine grains, grey-white, high heat-resistance, from 1250º C to 1320º C. Next is preparing clay. Depending on the type of ceramic products needed, the process of preparing clay is varied accordingly. Shaping products is next. The traditional shaping method in Bát Tràng is by hand, using a turning table, but nowadays the use of casting is more prevalent. Next, the plain products are to be dried. The optimal measure often used is airing plain products on shelves in airy places.

Nowadays, most families desiccate plain products in a kiln. When plain products’ shape are fixed, they will be perfected by whittling, trimming, and polishing. Bát Tràng potters use pen brushes to draw patterns and many other ornamental forms directly on plain products. The next step is glazing. Glaze is made from many various kinds of stone powder and minerals. Once glazing is finished, potters often pour glaze on products’ surface, then put them in a kiln.

Fuels used for a kiln have changed for each period: from heating the kiln by hay, then wood, and coal. Now the kiln is heated by electricity or gas. Presently, technology has been applied in many phases of the pottery-making process, but the heating phase is still of significance to potters because the heating technique determines the success of a batch of pottery.

Besides traditional glazes such as green-blue, brown, ivory-white, or crackle glazes, Bát Tràng today has more modern glazes, giving pottery a colorful “coat” such as green, earth yellow, sky blue, and red.

Mr. Vũ Đức Thắng is a Bát Tràng ceramic artisan, well-known for his method of ceramic making with the handmade technique of implicit drawing and embossed designs.

Implicit drawing or embossing is the method used to ornament products. Implicit drawing means engraving images on products. It’s called implicit drawing, because all the patterns and decoration on this product were not drawn by a pen but carved by a knife. This technique will create a depth for pottery. It creates movements on ceramic products. We’d like to introduce two techniques: one is implicit drawing.

This is a product waiting for color blending. And this is a product with embossed technique, also waiting for color blending. One product is engraved with a knife, a tool to scrape it. The other is embossed, or heaped up with clay. These two techniques require skilled potters, so that embossed products cannot be peeled off and engraved ones cannot be poked through. The method is handicraft and traditional, still exhibiting the original culture of Âu Lạc.

Although there is much deviation from the original patterns, Bát Tràng pottery is still imbued with national spirit on each product. Bát Tràng pottery village is not only renowned in Âu Lạc but also in many countries such as Spain, South Korea, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, Belgium, and the United States. Such good reputation is due to the rich styles of shaping, liberal brushwork, simple yet diversified glaze colors, resulting in the inherent beauty of Bát Tràng pottery.

Central Âu Lạc has Bàu Trúc which is considered the most ancient pottery village in Southeast Asia. Bàu Trúc pottery belongs to traditional Champa pottery, produced in Bàu Trúc Village, Ninh Thuận Province. The land of Bàu Trúc land, since time immemorial, has reserved for its local people a treasure to develop the ceramic profession, that is the clay and sand mines formed only by the Quao River’s alluvium. The clay is unusually fine and pliable; the sand is also very fine. The clay here always lends beautiful colors to pottery.

Unlike the pottery from many other villages, Bàu Trúc Village’s pottery is not glazed and completely handmade, with primitive shaping tools. In particular, the water pots made in Bàu Trúc are favored by people in dry and drought areas, as the water in these pots are always cooler than outside temperature. Ceramic products are heated outside, then removed to be sprayed with colors. These colors are extracted from forest plants and heated for 2 hours. The typical colors of Bàu Trúc pottery are red-yellow, red-pink, grey-black, and brown streaks. The fumigate technique results in pottery with mythical and unique colors. Bàu Trúc pottery has ancient styles, simple yet appealing and warm like the Aulacese people.

The southern region has Bình Dương ceramics, also well-known both in Âu Lạc and abroad. According to historians, ceramic production started in Bình Dương since the 18th century, as there is a very rich source of clay and kaolin for ceramic profession to develop. Today, Bình Dương has 125 pottery manufacturers with over 500 active pottery kilns.

Minh Cường ceramic company produces pottery of red, black or brown clay. Be it white or red clay, some glaze it, some don’t, some use clay alone. Some heat at this temperature, some at other temperatures. Minh Cường has a different temperature: we heat it just enough so the colors are harmonious and the products are beautiful.

Our company specializes in making and exporting fine-art ceramics worldwide. We adhere strictly to international standards, hygienic, non-toxic, and without lead. Every year, we export over 10 million products.

“This tea set is my gift to you and your husband!” Annual export turnover of ceramic industry in Bình Dương Province reaches an average of US$120 million, approximately 70% to 80% of ceramic export turnover nationwide. Among the near 30 firms that export ceramics in Bình Dương, the products of Minh Long I, are outstanding and have been well-received in European markets such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands due to their elegant, sophisticated, and contemporary features.

The application of color painting at high temperatures, up to 1380 degrees Celsius, enhances the hand-painting patterns on ceramic products. It creates a 3-dimensional backdrop for the colors and visuals to become more beautiful and lively. Mr. Lý Ngọc Minh, Manager of Minh Long I, affirmed: “Minh Long is currently the first company in the world that can produce hand-painted ceramics at such a high temperature. This is a very difficult task, because when painting at a high temperature, the glaze would melt and the color structure would be altered.”

Ceramic products are really a combined result of “essence of earth, skillfulness of human.” The traditional, rudimentary materials – earth, water, and fire – are still the same, yet through the competent hand of Aulacese artisans, high-grade and fine-art ceramics have come into existence with their unique attractiveness, because they contain not only the beauty of forms and colors, but also the cultural, artistic, and historical characteristics of an entire nation with thousands of years of civilization.

Thank you for watching our program introducing Aulacese ceramics. Please tune in to Supreme Master Television for more programs on Aulacese (Vietnam) specialty and cusine.

So long for now.

Thank you for watching our program. Please tune in to Supreme Master Television. So long for now.
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