(VOVworld)- The Chu Dau pottery of Hai Duong province was first created in the 13th century and flourished until the 17th century before it waned in popularity. Recent archaeological excavations and studies have disclosed the historical value of this ancient pottery.
|Chu Dau pottery vase in a Turkish museum (Photo: suchudau.com.vn)
Over a 100-square meter excavation site in Chu Dau commune, Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province, archeologists are engrossed in pottery pieces which were buried underground for hundreds of years. Dr. Bui Minh Tri, Director of the Center for Royal Citadel Studies, said Chu Dau pottery was first discovered 30 years ago and the 7th latest excavation was the most significant in terms of scale, investment and outcomes. “We have found pottery pieces similar to those discovered in the Thang Long Royal Citadel. This shows a clear relationship between Chu Dau pottery and the citadel. Our studies have been successful in collating and assessing the historical value of Thang Long and the role of Chu Dau pottery. This is the first time ever that an excavation has found sufficient evidence of a pottery production center. The diggings also found a lot of jade glaze, typical of this pottery. The Chu Dau potters appeared to be very skillful. Many of the products rival China’s Long Tuyen pottery”.
Since 2003, when 40,000 items were salvaged from a sunken ship in the Cu Lao Cham islands, Quang Nam province, the world has paid more attention to Chu Dau pottery. Scientists say during its hay day, the pottery was exported to many countries. However, no study suggested the link between the products of a craft village and what were excavated in Thang Long citadel, the capital city of Vietnamese feudal dynasties from the 11th to the 18th century. The recent excavation revealed a large pottery furnace whose hundreds of pieces resemble those found at Thang Long. Dr. Ho Van Quan said previously, jade-glazed items excavated in the citadel had been mistakenly thought to be part of the Chinese Long Tuyen pottery, instead of Chu Dau: “I have noticed that there were many substandard terra-cotta products which were made in the 15th century workshop in Bac Ninh because of poor heat control. But Chu Dau products have less imperfections, the heat is well adjusted. The bowls and plates are very beautiful.”
Jade-glaze makes Chu Dau pottery different from others, requiring professional skills and a stable heat. Tang Ba Hoanh, former Deputy Director of Hai Duong Museum, emphasized the archeological importanace of the glaze remnants: "The excavations at Chu Dau are very significant. They demonstrate that precious items being exhibited in big museums in the world were made in Vietnam, specifically in Chu Dau”.
The Chu Dau excavation site is planned to become an outdoor museum. Vu Dinh Tien, Director of Hai Duong Museum, told VOV: “When the excavation ends and after reporting to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, we will preserve the site by filling it in with sand and soil. When the conditions are met, we will turn the site into a museum”.
7 excavations have provided more information about the formation and development of Chu Dau pottery, which is closely associated with earthenware of the Le dynasty from the 14th to the 16th century at the Thang Long Royal Citadel. Related studies are helping to draw up plans to preserve Vietnam’s ancient craft villages.