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Thanh Ha Pottery Village: A must-visit for culture seekers

30/06/2024 130.887

Located in Hoi An, Thanh Ha Pottery Village offers visitors a chance to experience hands-on pottery-making. This village has preserved its rich heritage through generations of skilled artisans.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village is a hidden gem in Hoi An, Vietnam, where time seems to stand still amidst the whir of pottery wheels and the scent of clay. This historic village boasts centuries-old ceramic craftsmanship, offering travelers a glimpse into Vietnam's rich cultural heritage. The blend of traditional techniques and artistic creativity makes it a must-visit for an authentic cultural experience.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

1. A glance at Thanh Ha Pottery Village Vietnam

1.1. Location, opening hours and ticket fee

  • Address: Pham Phan Street, Thanh Ha Ward, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province
  • Opening hours: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM every day
  • Ticket fee: 35,000 VND/adult | 15,000 VND/child

Thanh Ha Pottery Village is a traditional craft village located approximately 3 kilometers west of Hoi An Ancient Town. Pottery craft is a long-standing traditional trade in Thanh Ha, significant not only to Hoi An but also to the entire region.

Thanks to the short distance from the ancient town, Thanh Ha Pottery Village is easily reached via:

  • Bike/motorbike: Riding a bike or a motorbike allows tourists to have a scenic trip along the Thu Bon River. Take Hung Vuong Street out of town until the river appears on your left. Continue onto Duy Tan Street for about 1 km before turning left at Pham Phan Street. Thanh Ha Terracotta Park and Thanh Ha Pottery Village are about 15 meters further down on the left. 
  • Taxi: You can take a taxi to get to Thanh Ha Pottery Village effortlessly. It takes only around 10 minutes from the ancient town.
  • Boat: Taking a boat ride from the ancient town is another delightful option. The journey downstream takes about half an hour, offering a unique view of Hoi An. There are boats departing throughout the day.
Thanh Ha Pottery Village Vietnam

1.2. Cultural values

Pottery craft in Thanh Ha, flourishing in the 16th and 17th centuries, has profoundly impacted Hoi An's history. Thanh Ha bricks and tiles were crucial in shaping Hoi An's ancient architecture. These pottery products are also a distinctive product of Quang Nam, integral to the making of household items. Many skilled artisans of Thanh Ha have influenced the architecture of the royal buildings in Hue. 

Beyond pottery-making, the villagers have preserved a rich system of folk knowledge and specialized terminology related to their craft. These cultural values are actively preserved and showcased in the village's tourism activities, allowing visitors to appreciate the traditional craft. Thanh Ha pottery was included in the national intangible cultural heritage list in 2019.

>>> Consult our recommended Hoi An itinerary to better prepare for your trip!

2. The process of making Thanh Ha pottery

The primary material for Thanh Ha pottery is high-adhesive yellow clay, found in riverine fields at depths of 50-100 centimeters. Below is a brief overview of the traditional production process of Thanh Ha pottery:

  • Clay preparation: High-adhesive yellow clay is mixed with water and kneaded into lumps. This process, repeated three times, ensures the clay is clean and pliable.
  • Shaping: The potters use a spinning wheel to mold the clay into greenware.
  • Drying and refining: Shaped pieces are sun-dried until partially hardened, then refined for symmetry before being fully dried.
  • Glazing (for tiles): A glaze made from copper, lead, hematite, and kaolin is applied to partially fired pottery. The pieces are then fired again to create a protective, glossy surface.
  • Firing: Pottery is fired in traditional kilns, which are rectangular and brick-walled with clay roofs. Each firing session requires 5-7 cubic meters of wood. The potters determine readiness by observing the smoke color and using a test pot. If the test pot is properly fired, it signals that the batch is ready.
The process of making Thanh Ha pottery

3. The varieties of products of Thanh Ha Pottery Village

3.1. Traditional pottery products

Thanh Ha pottery offers a wide variety of over 40 products that serve diverse purposes in daily life and cultural practices. These include jars, vases, pots, incense burners, and candle holders. Some items serve as tools in other crafts, such as weaving or sugar-making. 

The characteristic shapes of Thanh Ha pottery reflect the local aesthetics. Jars typically feature flared mouths, slender necks, rounded shoulders, and tapered bases. Pots, pans, and other vessels share similar flared mouths, rounded rims, short necks, bulging bodies, and rounded bases. Most pottery products have unglazed or rough surfaces, while some jars are adorned with raised sawtooth edges or wave patterns on the neck and shoulders.

3.2. Art pottery products

Art pottery in Thanh Ha Village Vietnam showcases intricate craftsmanship. Decorative pieces often feature meaningful Chinese characters, geometric patterns, or business logos. Some products even incorporate eggshell coatings. These pieces are fired in traditional kilns or specialized upright kilns. There are at least 33 types of art pottery products, including religious statues, wall-mounted lamps, vases, flower pots, architectural models, boxes, ashtrays, ceramic masks, etc.

Art pottery products

3.3. Other types of Thanh Ha pottery products

Thanh Ha Pottery Village in Hoi An also offers other types of ceramic and terracotta products, such as:

  • Con thổi figures: Simple yet expressive pottery pieces depicting traditional themes like the twelve Vietnamese zodiac animals.
  • Yin-and-yang tiles: Made from yellow clay, shaped, stacked, dried, and fired in kilns, used for architectural purposes.
  • Brick tiles: Similar to yin and yang tiles but the shaping stage is skipped, used for construction.
  • Statues of the kitchen gods: Hand-molded, sun-dried, and fired, often placed in kitchens.
  • Ceramic coffins: Handcrafted for burial ceremonies, molded, stacked, dried, and fired.

>>> Read more: Hoi An souvenirs: 14 local products to mark your memorable travel

4. Things to do at Thanh Ha Pottery Village in Hoi An

4.1. Explore the village and the pottery-making process

With a history spanning nearly 500 years, this Vietnamese pottery village preserves its timeless beauty and traditional craftsmanship, passing down pottery-making techniques from one generation to the next. Visitors will not only enjoy exploring the visually stunning ceramic products but also have a chance to delve deeper into the village's history and learn about the distinctive heritage of Thanh Ha pottery in Hoi An.

Explore the village and the pottery-making process

4.2. Experience hands-on pottery-making

At Thanh Ha Pottery Village, visitors can immerse themselves in the process of crafting handmade pottery and even join in the creation themselves alongside the local artisans. This hands-on experience allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the craft while creating your unique pieces. The journey concludes with each visitor receiving a ceramic figurine as a souvenir, adding a personal touch to their memorable visit.

4.3. Buy Thanh Ha pottery as souvenirs

Besides experiencing the activities here, visitors can also purchase handicraft products as souvenirs. Thanh Ha pottery offers a wide range of items including figurines, vases, and pots, which are available in various sizes to suit your preferences.

4.4. Learn about the local cultural activities

In Thanh Ha, pottery craft is honored with annual ceremonies, specifically the spring ceremony on the 10th day of the first lunar month and the autumn ceremony on the 10th day of the seventh lunar month at Nam Dieu Temple. Additionally, artisans traditionally open kilns on even-numbered days in mid-January to mark the start of the new year. Visitors can also enjoy traditional boi singing performed by the locals.

4.5. Visit Thanh Ha Terracotta Park

Thanh Ha Terracotta Park is one of the largest pottery parks in Vietnam, covering an extensive area of up to 6,000 square meters. It also serves as a museum that showcases the pottery products of Thanh Ha Pottery Village in Hoi An. The unique aspect of this pottery park is the space it creates, which resembles a miniature world with hundreds of beautifully crafted pieces made from terracotta.

Visit Thanh Ha Terracotta Park

>>> Check out the things to do in Hoi An to add to your bucket list!

Thanh Ha Pottery Village is a living testament to Vietnam's artistic heritage. Through its rich history, visitors can engage in pottery-making, enjoy cultural festivities, and marvel at terracotta wonders. This village offers a unique blend of tradition and creativity, providing travelers with an unforgettable glimpse into Vietnam's cultural tapestry.

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