Bantaoyao Art Village @ Xingang Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan

entrance to Bantaoyao Craft Studio
entrance to Bantaoyao Craft Studio

An art village decorated with pottery artwork, Bantaoyao was a large pottery factory that utilised tunnel kiln to produce pottery and mosaics for temple decoration, also known as temple roof folk art.

village setting
village setting
deities
deities
fruit plucking
fruit plucking

Founded by Chen Zhong-zheng, a potter who created fragmented ceramic art and pottery, and with the decline of this traditional industry due to lack of skills in the younger generation, Mr Chen decided to dedicate his time into preserving the traditional craft, and in an effort to introduce it to visitors in a fun and hands-on way.

 Jiao-Zhi (Koji pottery)
Jiao-Zhi (Koji pottery)
Chien-Nien technique
Chien-Nien technique
 exhibition hall
exhibition hall

While guests at Bantaoyao Art Village appreciate the beauty of ceramic art of both Jiao-Zhi and Chien-Nien techniques, they can also learn how to make pottery dolls and mosaic art at workshops, an activity that is enjoyed by the whole family.

 exhibition hall
exhibition hall
this piece shows the difference between Chien-Nien technique of Taiwan and Southern China
this piece shows the difference between Chien-Nien technique of Taiwan and Southern China
Koji pottery art
Koji pottery art

Jiao-Zhi means clay figurines while Chien-Nien is the “cut and glue” technique using broken ceramic bowls and pieces of glass to decorate temple roofs with arrangements of ceramic human and animal figurines, since the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912).

drawing
drawing
colour matching
colour matching
garden
garden

Basically, Jiao-Zhi (Koji pottery) uses clay while Chien-Nien utilises ceramics, and they complement each other in traditional art. There are seven major steps in producing Jiao-Zhi, while Chien-Nien, six.

cute decoration
cute decoration
roof decoration
roof decoration
Bantaoyao is an art village
Bantaoyao is an art village

The seven steps of Jiao-Zhi are:
1) Drafting – draw outline of the shape required
2) Shaping – use six main techniques alternately: pinch, stack, mould, paste, carve & draw
3) Air drying – place the article under the shade, leading to a semi-dry condition
4) Pumping – pump out air and water from article to make pottery compressed evenly and not chapped and cracked during firing
5) Prior to firing – place dried article into kiln, powered by electricity. Make it heat up to the region of 1100°C
6) Glazing – high concentration and attentiveness are required during glazing. The colour before firing is pink-like, and slowly becomes brightly coloured later on
7) Posterior firing – Although the firing temperatures are usually in the range of 800°C to 900°C, the atmosphere within a kiln could affect every glaze complexly, so it’s important to adjust the temperatures in order to maintain balance. Time required for this procedure is approximately ten hours.

photo spot
photo spot

The six steps of Chien-Nien are:
1) Drawing – draw outline of the shape required
2) Shaping – use wires to put the skeleton together
3) Mixing cement – mix clay, grinding limestone and flax evenly by stirring
4) Hand building – apply cement onto the skeleton, layer by layer – usually requires at least three days
5) Cutting – cut bowls or glasses into different shapes as required, and polish them
6) Decoration – paste these pieces on the subject using cement

wall mural
wall mural
 posing in front of the gigantic cat
posing in front of the gigantic cat

Chiayi is home to Jiao-Zhi (Koji pottery); the Japanese even call it “Chiayi pottery”. As one of Taiwan’s traditional art forms, in the past, the masters of Koji pottery were all trained here.

One very comprehensive write-up on both Jiao-Zhi and Chien-Nien is found in this article: Temple Roof Folk Art. Feel free to read.

Bantaoyao
Bantaoyao

Bantaoyao Craft Studio
Add: 45-1, Xingang Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan 616 (R.O.C.)
Tel: +886 5 781 0832
Web: bantaoyao.com.tw

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With love

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