Koh Kret Earthenware

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Thailand Art – Koh Kret Earthenware

Koh Kret is an artificial Island created in the 18th century, in the Chao Phraya river, 20km north of Bangkok. The Mon, natives of South China, were one of the first tribes to settle in Thailand. Between the 6th and 10th century, they were dominating central Thailand. Today Koh Kret constitute one of the last refuges for the Mon traditional culture. The Island is considered for his special Mon earthenware pottery called Kwan Aman. This pottery is unglazed terracotta carved with different patterns. The Chinese influences of the Mon tribes can be seen in the artistry and the subject matters.

The most impressive is that the Mon potters are still using the same traditional technique to mould a piece of clay into a beautiful piece of pottery. The potter’s wheel is a peddle operated basic contraption upon which the raw clay is placed and then moulded by the cupping and shaping by hand. Then, the pottery is lightly dried in a shed and hand carved with a simple skewer. This special hand carving is what sets it aside other terracotta pots throughout the world. The skills of Koh Kret pottery workers make this earthenware quite unique in its quality and appearance. The traditional kilns are still in use on the Island. During this final stage, the clay is at last baked to the normal terracotta colour that is the trademark of Koh Kret earthenware. The black colour, also popular, can be obtain if the pottery is fired at a very hot temperature.