Pottery making: Cambodia’s oldest and most living craft tradition.

The reuse is emerging as a viable alternative to our inefficient industrial model, in which raw materials are exploited to produce goods that appease today’s excessive commercialism hunger before being destroyed. 

Simple actions like repairing, recycling, refurbishing, and reusing are at the heart of a circular economy. 

The goal of all these tactics is to keep things in use for as long as possible, whether as finished products or as their raw materials.

One of Cambodia’s oldest and most prevalent living craft traditions is pottery. A trip to the “potter’ villages” in Cambodia highlights the value of this industry on the economy.

Cambodia’s Pottery point: Kampong Chhnang

Jars, vases, incense burners, piggy banks, traditional cookers, and pots are all common sights in front of practically every house in the area of Phnom Krang Dei Meas Mountain, which is surrounded by a terrain rich in red clay.

In the Kampong Chhnang provincial village of Andong Russei, the majority of the inhabitants still create pottery using the traditional method. 

According to research, Kampong Chhnang residents have revived ancient Angkorian pottery by combining traditional knowledge with modern techniques.

Chhnang!, which means “pot,” tells the story of how villagers battle to uphold their traditions and way of life while simultaneously making their products more marketable.

Despite obstacles, a shortage of resources, and a pandemic, villagers are revamping traditional chhnang-making methods to better meet people’s needs.

Benefits of using an Earthen Pot for cooking.

All other types of utensils are nothing compared to the flavor of food cooked in a clay pot. Earthenware has been a vital part of the kitchen in the past, when people could slowly cook their food to preserve all of its nutrients and flavors.

The art of clay pot cooking has lost significance in the modern age, when everyone is so busy that they are rapidly switching to instant food items.

  • Earthen pots retain the oil and add moisture to food, avoiding the need for extra fat to enhance flavor. According to scientific studies, cooking in clay pots increases the amount of essential nutrients in food, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and sulfur, all of which are very healthy for our bodies.
  • The ability of clay pot cooking to circulate steam throughout the cooking process provides the majority of its health benefits. As a result, you may cook with less oil and fat and yet get plenty of moisture.
  • Since clay naturally neutralizes the PH balance of food when it is cooked and since it has an alkaline composition, it functions as a natural detox. You might be shocked to learn that mud includes all major vitamins, including Vitamin B12.
  • Food cooked in clay pots retains its nutrients, which improves the meal’s flavor overall. According to research, cooking meals in clay pots adds nutrients that are good for the body, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and sulfur.

Challenges

In order to preserve this traditional pottery-making culture, government and private organizations are assisting the community by providing the necessary tools and holding workshops.

In one of the workshops, locals are taught in a more modern technique that makes use of a throwing wheel. The technique entails molding the jar using a wooden paddle that is supported by a round wooden knob within and used to whack the clay.

In spite of the fact that these families do make pottery, it is not their main source of income. By opening travel businesses, several people capitalized on the region’s growing tourist industry.

Most likely, this is because there is a lack of marketing strategy, poor logistics, and little support from e-commerce businesses in connecting with customers.

With increased environmental awareness, many people are replacing their steel and aluminum cookware with traditional vessels made of clay. From cooking food to storing water, they aim to be self-sustainable and eco-friendly.

Our historic earthenware industry must be preserved. To create new designs and styles in line with market demand, training must be provided. It’s also crucial to educate people about the benefits of using clay pots.

To market these products, young Cambodians must develop an effective e-commerce strategy. The people who make the clay pots will have more jobs if buyers purchase more of them. It will assist in safeguarding Cambodia’s cultural heritage for coming generations.

Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round / Without a pause, without a sound: / So spins the flying world away! / This clay, well mixed with marl and sand, / Follows the motion of my hand; / For some must follow, and some command, / Though all are made of clay!

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.