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Finding a way for Phuoc Tich ceramics conservation associated with tourism development

TTH.VN - For the cultural heritage of Phuoc Tich Village to get a firm footing in the contemporary social life, there is a need to formulate the mechanisms, policies, and action plans to mobilize the strength of the residential community as the creators, owners, practitioners, beneficiaries...

The Cay Mai ceramicsOm ngự revived

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dang Van Bai, Vice Chairman of the National Council of Cultural Heritage affirmed that upon discussing the role of the community in the strategy of preserving cultural heritage at the workshop held on the morning of March 18 in Phuoc Tich ancient village (Phong Hoa Commune, Phong Dien District).


Exhibition space of Phuoc Tich ceramics

Revival with great anxieties

Discussing the topic "Research on the restoration of the traditional craft of Phuoc Tich ceramics in association with sustainable tourism development", many experts considered and analyzed quite carefully the value of ceramic products made from the ancient village on the O Lau River bank.

In recent years, the traditional ceramic craft of Phuoc Tich ancient village has been revived with the "red fire" pottery kiln; many products have been launched into the market. Phuoc Tich ancient village becomes a stop for tourists near and far to experience. However, the issue posed is how to preserve and promote the value of Phuoc Tich ceramics in association with tourism development while the people can subsist on their craft and preserve their craft.

During two decades of "revival", Phuoc Tich ceramics, despite creating no strong competitiveness, has generated the extra income for a section of new-generation craftsmen. According to Dr. Nguyen Thi Tam Hanh (Vietnam National Culture and Art Sub-Institute in Hue), the new generation here is those who are imparted traditional craft techniques and have conditions to access new technologies and production techniques and keep pace with the trend of the market.

Besides selling products, the revival of the pottery kiln also contributes to creating attractiveness for community tourism development, increasing revenue every year. “The activities of protecting, restoring, and promoting the ceramic craft have brought people closer together, creating a voice… Therefore, the Phuoc Tich ceramics brand is widely known”, affirmed Dr. Tam Hanh.

Notwithstanding restoration, Phuoc Tich's ceramics production encounters many difficulties because the labor in this craft has gradually decreased over time. So far less than 20 craftsmen have produced the ceramics mostly for consignment, tourism service, festival display, and decoration in the province and neighboring provinces, so Phuoc Tich's ceramics has not reached the potential markets.

Phuoc Tich ceramics, according to Dr. Tran Dinh Hang, has its unique features. From producing household utensils, Phuoc Tich people had the honor of offering om to the royal palace - an earthen pot to cook rice for the emperor and his royal family through the custom of offering Om Ngu before 1945. From popularity, by degrees, Phuoc Tich terracotta products have been luxuriously refined according to the strict regulations of the Nguyen court so that from a folk product, om could officially enter the royal palace.

Technically, there is an inheritance and combination of tradition and modernity to bring vitality to Phuoc Tich ceramics craft and ceramic products. Sending a group of young craftsmen to Bat Trang for vocational training in the past should be viewed from a positive perspective: a diverse and flexible approach. Moreover, there is a need to continue to step up human resource training in both directions: First, sending people to vocational training schools, and famous pottery villages for training at home and abroad. Second, opening training classes right in the village, including access to enameling techniques and especially graphic techniques and arts at industrial art colleges.

Both heritage and industrial potential

According to Dr. Hang, the villagers cannot rely on any other cultural or tourism agency, but they, with the support of the Phuoc Tich Association of Fellow-Countrymen in different places continue to inherit and develop that traditional flame of characteristics.


A craftsman putting decorative paint on Phuoc Tich ceramics

Currently, with a small number of people, most of whom are elderly, the need and aspiration for Phuoc Tich ceramics development associated with the service tourism development are not simple. Once the subject of the heritage is the community of Phuoc Tich people who are not interested in that, it is not likely that all the investments made by the state or social organizations will be effective.

This issue is relevant to the governance and management model, so Dr. Hang said that perhaps it is time for the authorities to seriously consider and re-evaluate the model and level of heritage management in a harmonious and appropriate manner. How to achieve practical efficiency in the direction of harmony with the people as the heritage owner in terms of responsibilities and rights, heritage restoration as well as tourism service exploitation.

In his view, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dang Van Bai said that reviving a traditional craft village at risk of dying requires a specific mechanism and a new awareness of the cultural heritage of the traditional craft village.

For Phuoc Tich traditional craft village, it is necessary to approach it as both a cultural heritage of the village and an element/potential for the local cultural industry development.

With this end in view, it is possible to ask from the Korean approach when they conceive of a traditional craft. It is a small, manual, and labor-intensive industry; an industry with a national identity covering its tradition and history; an industry with high interdisciplinary connectivity to different sectors, especially relevant to agriculture, tourism, and design; a cultural industry, proportional to the income level and cultural life of the contemporaries, on the rise in demand.

Story and photos: NHAT MINH
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