The Cham ethnic people have long inhabited Vietnam’s central coast, where they carry on a once-flourishing culture. The Cham people in Binh Thuan province reply mostly on agriculture, weaving, and pottery to earn their living. 26 hamlets in the province have Cham people but only those in Binh Duc make pottery, using the same techniques practiced by their ancestors.
Craftswoman Don Thi Hieu of Binh Duc hamlet said, “I’ve been making pottery since I was five. I’m an orphan. I learned the craft from my neighbors to make ends meet. When I was 44, I went to Japan for two months to fortify my skills. The Japanese people liked it when I demonstrated how to make a pottery item. They really like Vietnamese handicraft products.”
|A pottery craftsman in Binh Duc (Photo: VOV)
The Cham people in Binh Duc make pottery items without pottery wheels or kilns. Their products are a testament to the skills and culture of the Cham.
Pottery production in Binh Duc hamlet has shrunk, with the number of craft households down from 100 to 64, because of low prices, weak sales, and a scarcity of clay and firewood.
Craftswoman Nguyen Thi Minh told VOV, “We have fallen short of clay, which is undergoing a price hike. The authorities are helping us find a way out.”
In late 2020, a considerable clay reserve was found in Hai Thuy, another hamlet in Bac Binh district.
Huynh Duy Khoi, Vice Chairman of the Bac Binh district People’s Committee, said, “Clay used in pottery is different from that used to make bricks. We have requested that our craftsmen be allowed to exploit this three-hectare clay mine in accordance with the Mineral Law.”
|Binh Duc pottery products are made from clay (Photo: VOV)
Binh Thuan provincial leaders are seeking sales outlets and working on production planning in Binh Duc hamlet, according to Vo Van Hoa, Director of the Binh Thuan provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
“We’re looking for dedicated investors who will put the preservation and development of the Binh Duc pottery trademark ahead of profits. We aim to combine pottery making with tourism, our prime solution for revival and development,” said Hoa.
The Bau Truc pottery village in Ninh Thuan province, which is on its way to prosperity, serves an example for the pottery village in Binh Duc hamlet to learn about material input, selling channels, and production planning.