Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yingge A Ceramic Town In Taiwan

All of those pictures above were taken at a train station when we went from Taipei to Yingge. First of all let me introduce you Yingge, the ceramic or pottery capital town in Taiwan. Yingge town is a Taipei county which mean it is just outside of Taipei. You can get here by train from Taipei within 30 minutes just like us.

First of all let me just quote a brief history about Yingge that I get from the Internet ...

"Pottery-making came to Yingge in 1804, when a man named Wu An emigrated here from mainland China and set up the first pottery business. Owing to its strategic position close to a plentiful supply of good-quality clay and the Dahan River (which in years past was deeper than it is today and offered convenient transport downriver to Taipei and the sea beyond), the pottery industry, and later the production of finer-quality ceramics, flourished. Today, exquisite object's d'art produced by the town's artisans are highly regarded by collectors. Indeed, one of the town's producers, Taihwa Pottery , regularly makes artistic pieces for the Presidential Office, which find their way in the form of gifts for visiting dignitaries to the world's four corners."
Because we went to this town with baby and 2 kids, we don't have much time to go to see the Ceramic Museum.

"The Yingge Ceramics Museum was opened on November 26, 2000, its establishment costing NT$6 billion, as part of a plan to rejuvenate the town and attract tourism. This blueprint also included a major face lift for what is now informally called Old Pottery Street , a section of Jianshanpu Rd. lined with businesses selling ceramic works of both practical and decorative function."
One of the reason why we go to this town is to let our son learn to make a ceramic glass. In this town there are many pottery making classes offered both for adults and for children. For a quick class ( about half an hour long ) like the one KK took, we paid NT $ 300 or about US $ 10. In this class, the child learn to shape the clay into something they like then they move his creation into a desk where he can put his decorative squiggles like our son did also. But because obviously most tourist do not have time to stay longer than 30 minutes, the teachers will put the color glaze and burn the ceramic for us. In exactly 2 weeks as they promised, we received our son's creation in our place where we stayed in Taipei.

After that we just take a leisurely walk around the town. The variety of the ceramic really blew me away. They sell start from daily wear plates and bowl that cost about NT $ 100 or US $ 3 each until the sky is the limit. Even those 3 dollars plate are better looking than what I saw in Richmond, Vancouver's largest China town where we use to lived. And in Richmond those plates and bowl will cost at least double the price in Yingge if not triple. I wish they are unbreakable so I can ship all of them to Indonesia. Just imagine how lovely my cooking will look on top of those gorgeous plates!

If I am easily impressed by the 3 dollars plate, just imagine how I feel when I saw the 500 dollars and above. They are absolutely exquisite! Just looking at them make me feel I need to go now and buy a beautiful house so I can fill the house with those beautiful art pieces! The details are amazingly fine and how can I resist that bold and striking color vases? I am not the kind of person who like to buy fragile looking ceramics but here in Yingge, I wish I have a million dollars in my pocket to spend! Too bad that because they ARE art objects, I couldn't take their photos. I can only drool and then go home and tell you all about it ...

At one time, we saw a street seller, he can make a hand mold by maybe using resin or something. First he dipped KK's hands into a very cold water to numb and to cool it first. Then he dipped KK's hands into a hot liquid wax then quickly he dipped KK's hands back into the freezing water to instantly harden and cooling his hands. He repeat this process a few times before he is satisfied that the mold is thick enough so he can pour the (maybe) resin in it and let it harden into almost an unbreakable strength. To proof how strong it is, he smashed his samples very hard into the concrete. I forgot the exact amount that I have to pay for it. I think somewhere around US $ 25. He told us to walk around first and pick up the already hard hand cast in half an hour or so. He also offered many colors and sprinkles to mix with the (maybe) resin. KK chose his hand cast a clear one but with blue sprinkles mixed in. He can make it almost like a rainbow color too.

We also went to eat but at the very famous cheap food store outside of that old pottery town. The food are not worth to mention here. But in the pottery town, we saw many restaurant that sells beef noodles or other type of food that not only they look yummy but the special thing about them is that you can bring home the bowl that you eat your noodles from as a souvenir.

Another thing that we saw there is the ceramic flute store. I found that this ceramic flute is not originally come from Taiwan. It's real name is Ocarina. The ocarina (IPA: [oːkəˈriːnə]) is an ancient flute-like wind instrument. While several variations exist, an ocarina is typified by an oval-shaped enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouth tube projecting out from the body. It is often ceramic, but many other materials, such as plastic, wood, glass, clay, and metal, may also be used.

At that store they sell ceramic and also plastic flute for children. They come in many interesting shape. I was thinking about buying the big one to hang in my father's stereo room but I found out that it cost US $ 600 to more than a thousand. It is custom made too. So I bought the smaller one instead. To see how they look you can see in the photo below ...

Yes, if you travel to Taipei longer than a week I would strongly suggest you to come to this lovely town. Just for sight seeing or maybe for truly shopping for some vases and other art pieces to beautify your home, I bet you will have a wonderful time in Yingge.

We went back to Taipei by train again. The train is clean and comfortable to ride in.

It's a good day when we went to Yingge. Someday when I have more money in my pocket I will definitely come back there again ...

How to get to Yingge?
By Train..
Take the Western line Railway, get off at the Yingge Station
By Bus..
1.Taoyuan Bus Company: Taoyuan-Yingge-Sansia;
2.Taipei Bus Company Bus 702: Taipei Jhong-hua Rd.- Wanhua – Banciao – Shulin – Yingge – Sansia (Roundtrip)
3.Taipei Bus Blue 19: Sinpu MRT Staion(Banciao) - Shulin – Yingge – Sansia (Roundtrip)
By Car..
Northern National Highway No.2 : Get off the Northern National Highway No.2 at Sansia-Yingge Interchange, heading to the Yingge direction, passing through the San-Yin Bridge and go straight to the Ceramic Museum first.
‧Chungshan Highway:Get on the highway and connect to the esat-west bound fastway, to the Taoyuan Loop Line, get off the Da-nan Interchange and pass through Yintao Rd., entering the town of Yingge.

Practical Info:

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Mondays and two days at Chinese New Year). Address: No. 200, Wunhua Rd., Yingge Township, Taipei County ; tel: (02) 8677-2727; website: www.ceramics.tpc.gov.tw.

I found some very informative sites about Yingge :

Here are some of my video clips that I took while we were at Yingge :

Vid: A ceramic flute ( ocarina ) played beautifully by the seller.

Vid: A child violinist play for her music scholarship.

Vid: Making a wax mold for his hand cast

Vid: Waiting for our train to take us back to Taipei


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