Mashiko potters reviving Cambodian craft

A Japanese effort is underway to revive Cambodia’s ceramic-producing culture. Modern Cambodian ceramic-production techniques fall far below in quality and refinement compared to archaeological finds 700 – 800 years before.

13 April 2007 (Asahi Weekly) – A Japanese effort is underway to revive Cambodia’s ceramic-producing culture. Modern Cambodian ceramic-production techniques fall far below in quality and refinement compared to archaeological finds 700 – 800 years before.

Mashiko potters reviving Cambodian craft

Two craftsmen of famed Mashikoyaki pottery will visit Cambodia this year to help revive the country’s centuries-old pottery culture that was destroyed by Pol Pot’s regime.

They will work with local potters in Kampong Chhnang province for about 10 days to offer firing, design and other techniques.

Several Cambodians will also be invited to Mashiko around summer to undergo training.

Thanks to its clay, the Cambodian province was a noted pottery production center–until the Khmer Rouge’s bloody reign in the 1970s, when pottery making was banned and all documents were burned.

“Highly refined pottery that does not exist in present-day Cambodia has been unearthed from 12th- to 13th-century ruins of the Angkor (Khmer) era,” said Masataka Onishi, who helped start the project.

Onishi serves as senior deputy director at the Japan Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Singapore.


Related Books:
Udaya Journal of Khmer Studies, Issue No. 1: Khmer Ceramics
Khmer Ceramics from the Kamratan Collection in the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Kyoto by H. Fujiwara
Khmer Ceramics (Oxford in Asia Studies in Ceramics) by D. Rooney
Khmer ceramics, 9th-14th century by the Southeast Asian Ceramics Society

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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