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