Bau Truc Pottery Village in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

Bau Truc Pottery Village in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam

Rachel Tran Rachel Tran | Published Oct 29, 2020

Handicraft in general and pottery in particular has long been the soul in the civilization of Vietnamese for thousands years. From North to South, there are various traditional craft and pottery villages that reflect the material and spiritual life of the residents. Of all the villages, Bau Truc Pottery Village in Central Vietnam attracts many tourists coming to Ninh Thuan Province due to the unique features that you cannot find anywhere in Vietnam.

Location: Bau Truc Village, Phuoc Dan Town, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan
Opening hour: 08.00 – 17.00 daily
Entrance fee: no charge

I. History of Bau Truc Pottery Village

According to the Cham people in Bau Truc Village, they are the descendants of Po Klong Chang, a great mandarin of the Cham King Po Klong Giarai. He took people from the mountainous areas to the “Hamu Trok” field and taught them to exploit clays from nearby river banks to make pottery. Not only that, Po Klong Chang and his wife also showed the locals how to cultivate foods and catch fish to enhance their living standards.

History of Bau Truc pottery village

In 1832, under the reign of King Minh Mang, the name Paley Hamu Trok was changed into a Vietnamese name, which was Vinh Thuan. In 1954, Vinh Thuan Hamlet sometimes was directly under Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan and Phan Rang Province.

During the war against the US army (1954-1975), a great flood in 1964 swept away all the property of the Cham people in this village. The locals then moved the village to a higher place, where there were many bamboo trees surrounding a large pond. Therefore, the village was named Bau Truc (Bau means pond or lake in Cham language). Since that event, the name Bau Truc has been used to call a famous pottery village of Cham people in the littoral.

II. Highlights of Bau Truc Pottery Village

Overview of Bau Truc Pottery Village

1. The Pottery Style

The art of pottery-making in Bau Truc Pottery Village is different from that in Northern and Southern Vietnam in the way the pottery is made and decorated. The Cham people in Phan Rang, Ninh Thuan do not use a turntable to shape the product but their skillful hands to knead clay into perfect contour.

Clay is one of the most important factors to create pottery in Bau Truc Village. Clay is taken from the bank of Quao River and mixed with sand. The amount of sand added in the mixture depends on the size of each particular product. That flexible recipe makes Bau Truc Pottery completely different from the others.

After being shaped, the pottery is decorated with a variety of patterns. The vignette on Bau Truc Pottery represents nature, heaven and the earth such as rivers, flowers, plants, stars or shells. In addition, the images of the Gods are added to the products in a rustic way, which reflects the religious life of Cham people in Bau Truc Village.

The ceramic is burnt at a temperature of about 5000-6000 Celsius within 6 hours. Unlike other pottery heating processes, Bau Truc Pottery is not calcined inside a kiln but outside to get the most oxygen.

After a six-hour burn, the pottery is varnished natural color then burnt in two hours. Thanks to this process, Bau Truc Pottery has the colors of red gold, rose red or black gray with unique brown patterns. It is worth mentioning that each pottery item has its own characteristics that distinguished it from the others although they were burnt in the same fire.

Products in Bau Truc pottery
Source: @blovender

2. The Spiritual Meaning

The Cham people in Bau Truc Pottery Village have a deep adoration and gratitude to the person who created this kind of pottery as well as other gods in the Cham culture. The commemoration anniversary of the Cham people is held annually on October 21st (the 3rd day of the 7th month in Cham calendar).

The honor of Cham people to the gods is shown in the rituals and principles in every meticulous part of the anniversary. The festival of Cham people does not only include the religious rituals but also consists of traditional activities attracting both the locals and visitors. The festival reflects the wishes of the villagers for a new year full of happiness, luck and wealth.

III. What to See and Do in Bau Truc Pottery Village?

Inside Bau Truc pottery village
Source: @fofafifl

1. Discovering the Pottery Village

There is a Cham museum in Bau Truc Village where various exclusive pottery items are displayed. In the museum, tourists can find thousands of products that are typical for the pottery style of Bau Truc Village. Bau Truc Pottery contains inspiration about art, nature and life, which for sure will leave a long-lasting impression on every visitor coming to Bau Truc Village.

What to See and Do in Bau Truc Pottery Village

2. Experiencing Making Pottery

Coming to Bau Truc Village, you will be given an opportunity to make basic pottery products with the guidance of the craftsmen here. You can keep your initiative to create everything you like, and the locals here will help you to complete your favourite items.

Activitiy in Bau Truc Pottery Village

3. Bringing Home Some Souvenirs

Most products in Bay Truc Village are to serve the daily life of the Cham residents, for decoration and even worshiping. However, there are a wide range of small souvenirs that are specifically made for tourists who want to bring something home. Anywhere in Bau Truc Village, you can find a craftsmen family where souvenirs in many shapes and colors are sold.

IV. How to Get to Bau Truc Pottery Village?

Bau Truc Pottery Village is about 11 kilometers to the Southwest of Phan Rang City. It takes you about 15 minutes to get there by car and 25 minutes to go by motorbike.

At the intersection of Phu Ha, you follow the 1A HighWay to the south in about 8 kilometers, then turn right to Nguyen Hue Street. Continue to move forward about 500 meters the turn right to DT703 road. Keep going until you see the road sign to Bau Truc Cham Village, turn right and you will get to Bau Truc Village.

V. Extra Tips

  • If you come to Bau Truc Village at the end of October, you will get a good chance to participate in the traditional festival of the Cham people. You can also get more knowledge about the cultural life of the resident in this village.
  • Coming to Bau Truc Village in particular and Ninh Thuan in general, you should not miss the delicious specialties of this destination such as banh can, banh canh, grilled rice paper with shrimp sauce, sour meatball, chicken rice and so on.
  • There are a lot of places of interest near Bau Truc Village such as My Nghiep Brocade Weaving Village and Charaih Ninh Thuan Eco-tourism Resort. These destinations are always available for you to enjoy your weekend.
  • If you travel to Ninh Thuan for the first time, it would be better for you to go with a tour guide. A tour guide is very helpful because they will show you all the worth-visiting places so that you do not miss any attractive thing.

Despite the up and down of history, the Cham people in Bau Truc Pottery Village still preserve their traditional values in each pottery item. This not only contributes to the cultural diversity of Central Vietnam but also attracts both domestic and foreign tourists, which help to spread the specific culture of Vietnam to the outside world. 


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