Myanmar Pottery China Ceramic Celadon..
The use of pots and other earthen-ware containers for cooking and table-ware originated about 5000 years ago. Pots or pottery were used in Myanmar for storage of foods such as fermented fish or ngapi, fermented fish sauce or nganpyaryay, cooking oil and water. Prior to that Myanmars used bamboo joints, leaves and stone cups.
Indigo powder was applied to earthen basins and bowls and these blue-tinged and striped tableware items were affordable only by the wealthy. Earthen-ware pots are used for for boiling water, offering water at shrines and pagodas, for waterpot stands, for dipping eugenia sprigs in water at thingyan, for pouring water at the kason bodhi tree, water festival and other festive occasions at monasteries and shrines.
At Twantay, a town just 24 kilometres from Yangon ‘
reachable by road in an hour or by boat in about two hours on the Twantay Canal ‘ there are over fifty pottery works. Over time more earthenware and pottery was also imported from China, in particular blue & white porcelain and celadon ceramics. All other ceramic bowl, pots, jars and vessels were produced locally as you can see at the pictures below showing the Twantay Pottery Village were all kind of earthenware is made since more than 2 hundred years ago in the traditional kilns. Further below you can read about antique Chinese porcelain and Chinese and Thailand Celadon recovered from shipwrecks in the South China Sea and the strait of Malacca.
Traditional eating utensils in Myanmar included lacquered
round wooden or split bamboo trays called wobyatwaing, circular trays on a stand used for serving meals, called daunglan, earthen bowls or basins called
Twantay terracotta pottery water pots, flower pots , basins, jars.
myayzalone and glazed earthen basins called aindonsintthoke. Although today, steel, aluminium, brass and bronze pots are popular throughout the world, about 85% of Myanmars still use earthen-ware pots for cooking. They believe cooking in earthen-ware makes rice tastier and more aromatic and meat more tender and sweet.The poor had to be content with lacquered, interwoven bamboo strip containers, trays and unglazed earthen pots, covers and plates. Later on circular teak salvers,lacquered or painted with vermilion were developed but again only the wealthy could afford them, the solution for everyone is a pottery product such as a pottery jar, pottery pots and other stoneware.
How to make terracotta pottery has been handed down from generation to generation in Myanmar and is still carried on in the time honored tradition. Twantay pottery is recognized and distributed throughout Myanmar. Thousands of water pots, flower pots, basins, jars of from 5 to 25 viss (Myanmar volume unit) capacity are produced daily. The pottery building itself is constructed using a frame of bamboo posts, woven palm leave mat walling and beaten earth flooring.
A simple wooden potter’s wheel is made of pyinkado, jackfruit or any other hardwood. The potters wheel consists of a circular wooden base 5 centimeters thick and from 94 centimeters to 91 centimeters in diameter depending upon the size of the pot to be molded.
Clay of the right consistency and quality is obtained along the canal bank. Clay diggers and suppliers do a thriving trade supplying potters with basic raw material. Another ingredient is earth of the right quality, obtained from leased plots of land on the outskirts of the town. The earth is dug and carted to the production site. This earth for pottery has to be pounded, crushed and thieved to get the required particle size. Then, it is mixed with the clay in the appropriate ratio , water is added and the mix is left overnight. The next morning further kneading is done by trampling on this earth\clay\water combination until it has been evenly mixed.
Two persons, a master and an assistant do the pottery making, operate the potter’s wheel and after pottery painting is done. The size of the clay pieces is adjusted to the size of the pot to be made. The piece of clay is placed on the wheel and with his assistant turning the wheel by hand or foot, the master potter uses both hands to shape and mould the ball of clay on the rotating wheel.
Brick lined pottery kilns for pottery ware
The potter uses the hoop and the oyster shell in producing the desired shape. A rectangular piece of wood 20 centimeters to 30 centimeters by 15 centimeters to 25 centimeters, is placed on top and the two are attached by a wooden spindle or shaft running through the centre of the two wooden pieces.
This constitutes the only equipment made up of more than a single part. The only instruments required for pottery making are an aluminum hoop, 2 centimeters wide and 13 centimeters in diameter; a lethnee, literally a pot holder made of some textile material, an oyster shell and a pointed wooden spoke for pottery.
The pot-holder cloth is used to even out and smooth the surfaces and to pull the clay up and out to make the rim of the pot uniform. Finally, the wooden spoke is used to detach the base so that the pot can be lifted out and the pottery is air dried. A brick lined kiln is the major component of the pottery works.
The kiln, a brick line kiln here, has to be heated for up to 5 days to prepare for baking. Pots are arranged in the kiln , firewood stocked in and lighted. The door of the kiln is closed with bricks and the baking process continues for another two days at increasing intensity temperature. Three days later the burnt charcoal and the embers are removed from the kiln and the door is partially opened by displacing a few layers of bricks. On the 4th day the door is completely opened and the baked pots are taken out 8 days later. In total the process takes 22 days.
Pottery is air dried
After the pottery is dry, usually a three day process in the dry season and 10 days during the wet season, pottery glazes are applied using a compound of fine canal earth and lead slag. Not all pots are glazed. The final glazed terra cotta pottery is loaded and shipped throughout the country. All this is handmade pottery usually with some pottery painting. There is also garden pottery with pretty native designs. All this is pottery for sale as wholesale pottery.
The earthenware wasn’t glazed all the time since it needed a high, sustained temperature that is required in order to get pottery glazed. It took probably two thousand years or so before kilns were created to allow pottery producer to control the temperatures of the fire, reach the desired temperature and keeping the temperature over the required timeframe.
It seems that early Chinese pottery producer were successful on this technological front of pottery glazing.
Several hundred years later this finally resulted in a process to produce antique oriental porcelain finally known as blue & white porcelain from China. Pottery probably started as an Asian art not only in China, there are traces of ancient pottery practically in every part of the world, the Chinese probably were the first to refine the technology to produce the real good stuff. Today we have Asian antiques made from porcelain, Asian pottery such as terracotta flower pots, terra cotta pottery, ceramic art, vases, bowls, figurines and hundreds of other items of stoneware.
Chinese Porcelain, Celadon and Pottery
Antique Chinese blue & white porcelain plus celadon is a other subject, admired for ages years and always kept in a high value in particular when the Chinese started to export their blue & white porcelain. This was the real antique oriental porcelain and was one of the export highlight of China until recent days. Blue & white porcelain plus normal pottery and celadon ceramics found in sunken ships mainly in the South China Sea and in the sea between Malaysia and Indonesia have a very high value.
Sunken treasure ships with ceramics and porcelain
Antique Chinese blue & white porcelain from a sunken treasure ship.
Antique Green Celadon pottery from a sunken treasure ship
Several sunken treasure ships with ceramics and porcelain were recovered, among them Chinese Junks, Dutch Sailing Ships, English Trading Ships and several Portuguese Sailing Ships which sunk for various reasons such as storm and attracts of pirates. Almost all trading ships at that time on that route carried high priced blue & white porcelain, green celadon and all kind of pottery and earthenware. Even today after hundreds of years laying in the ocean they show intricate and amazing beauty as well. The celadon in the ships was not only from China, also pottery and celadon from Old Siam and Vietnam was carried for trading. The celadon pottery was of exceptional quality.
Antique Chinese Porcelain from a sunken vessel 15. Century
Chinese Porcelain Celadon pottery China vase antique oriental
Blue & white porcelain 16. Century
Blue & white porcelain with fine artistic texture great glaze colors and various styles have fascinated the people in Asia and Europe for centuries. China porcelain was what the rich wanted. Various European Kings and Queens commissioned fine Chinese porcelain for the royal court, the blue & white porcelain or simple China porcelain was sometimes manufactured together with gold as unique and very valuable gifts for royal households in Europe.
Antique blue & white porcelain Chinese porcelain
Antique blue & white porcelain China porcelain
The forms and styles of the pottery in the sunken trading vessels included bowls, cups, vases, boxes, figurines and various other shape and forms such as Chinese antiques in form of porcelain Buddha Statues, Chinese blue white and other China ceramic.
There was antique oriental porcelain, china ceramic, ceramic jars other pottery and porcelain, blue & white porcelain, antique bowl, China ceramic tableware and plenty of wholesale pottery and stoneware. The pottery kilns of Jing de Zhen in China, at Singburi in Thailand and elsewhere were very productive over hundreds of years. They also produced large quantities of celadon. Myanmar pottery has no record of a bigger export business, earthenware, glazed tiles, pots, jars and other vessels were only used domestically. The antique ceramic and porcelain items pictured here and more are in the Shipwreck Treasure exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Marine Archeological Museum.
Blue & white porcelain from an old Chinese merchant junk sunk south China Sea
China Porcelain Antique recovered from a sunken vessel
China ceramic 16. Century from a sunken vessel
Antique Bowl from a sunken ship
Celadon Antique Bowl
Modern Thai Celadon Jar
Celadon Tableware and other items manufactured at Chiang Mai Thailand
Today probably the most attractive celadon pottery, table ware and art objects are made in Thailand in particular in northern Thailand with focus on Chiang Mai is one of the premier manufacturing place for celadon in the case naturally Thai celadon. It’s a modern fusion of Thai art, oriental decor and oriental design always with an eye on practical use. E.g. have a look at the celadon pottery items pictured right. The ceramic items look excellent and fulfill a purpose, that’s the best possible fusion of art pottery and Thai celadon.