By Mrs. Vo Thi Ngoc Diep, Trade Counsellor, Viet Nam Embassy in the Netherlands
Viet Nam, proud to be one of the world’s cradles of traditional handicrafts with 2,017 craft villages, has a long history of development. The names of many craft villages have become the pride of Vietnamese handicrafts in the global market; examples include Bat Trang pottery, Chu Dau pottery, Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan weaving, and Van Phuc silk.
Since thousands years ago, Vietnamese craftsmen have shown not only their ability to design and produce working tools but the creativity and skillfulness. Many well-known crafts villages such as Bat Trang Pottery Village, Chu Dau Pottery Village, Bau Truc Pottery Village are still well preserved despite all the ups and downs.
Chu Dau pottery is a type of Vietnamese traditional pottery in Hai Duong province that appeared in the 13th century. Chu Dau products are considered as a type of pottery which is “thin as paper, clear as jade, white as ivory, ringing like a bell”. Every aspect of them, including appearance, enamel, textures, decorative patterns can be described in one word “perfect”.
Along with Chu Dau village, Bat Trang village also has a long history, starting from 15th century. This village is located in Bat Trang commune, Gia Lam district, Ha Noi. Besides delivering high-quality products, Bat Trang village is known as the only one in Vietnam that still preserves many kinds of antique enamel. Bud color enamel is the most common one amongst them. Bat Trang village also has products made of blue, brown, white (ivory) enamel, celadon and reef enamel.
In the same period of the development of Bat Trang village, Phu Lang village was also created and flourished in Que Vo district, Bac Ninh province. The feature of Phu Lang Pottery is to use the method of embossed in the form of tapping (double tap) rather than using molds that create shapes on the wheel. The ceramic products of Phu Lang are fired using charcoal furnaces. Products are mainly ceramic appliances, chum, jar, mini-connoisseur from red clay.
Ceramics are among the fastest-growing industries in Vietnam. During the economic contraction of 2020 (as a consequence of the pandemic), ceramics grew 3.5% in the first three quarters compared to 2019. The main export market for Vietnamese ceramics is the US, followed by Japan and China. The best time to export ceramics is summer: nearly US$47 million worth of ceramics were exported in June 2020, an increase of 10% compared to June 2019. Vietnamese ceramics and pottery can be found in over 50 foreign markets.
According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, the export turnover of fine art ceramics in July, 2021 reached 19.55 million US dollars, up 0.6% than June and 43.7% over the same period in 2020. In the first seven months of 2021, the export value of fine art ceramics reached 143.22 million US dollars, up to 51.5% y-o-y.
Viet Nam is eager to foster the promotion of domestic enterprises and their products and as such, honours chosen applicants every two years, thereby encouraging the establishment of high-quality standards in product design and execution.
To promote local products in domestic and overseas markets, the government continues to pursue its goal of increasing the value of Vietnamese brands. While participating in this program, enterprises must comprehensively evaluate their activities, production and business results, and branding strategy with the help of the given criteria. The state aims to encourage enterprises to share and pursue the core values of the program, which focus on quality, innovation, and creativity. Two Ceramics Companies are included in the Vietnam Value’s Art & Crafts Companies are Minh Long I Co. Ltd and Chu Dau Ceramic JSC.
The story of Minh Long is a journey of a small speck of dust which was born out of the marriage between sky and earth, formed, embedded in glaze and baked in a holy fire of 1380oC, then decorated and finally brightened with the Vietnamese soul. The cultural beauties, images loaded with cultural traditions of Viet Nam and other nations are engraved in each of our products so that typical cultural features are reproduced in an up-to-date manner.
Chu Dau Ceramic Joint Stock Company, with the mission of reviving Chu Dau ancient ceramic line, is preserving and developing Chu Dau ceramic with all enthusiasm and love for the nation and help Chu Dau pottery to become a representative of Vietnam – an imbued country with national identity and always opening the door of international integration cooperation.
About the author:
Mrs. Vo Thi Ngoc Diep, is the Trade Counsellor, Head of Trade Office, Embassy of Viet Nam in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Business Administration, Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management, Belgium and Bachelor of Art, Foreign Trade, Da Nang University of Economics and Business Administration, Viet Nam. Previous diplomatic posting in Myanmar and Singapore.
Mrs. Vo Thi Ngoc Diep, hosted several positions in Ho Chi Minh City at the Foreign Trade Agency, Ministry of Industry and Trade. She is married with two children.