23 January, 2010

Yingge town, center of Taiwanese ceramics industry

I would like to introduce my home town: Yingge town. (鶯歌鎮, 莺歌镇)

I was born here and I'm living here for over 30 years now. (Oops! Now you know my age.) Yingge town is famous for its ceramics and porcelain industry. How did Yingge's ceramics become famous?

"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 objects d'art produced by the town's artisans is 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." [ Source here.]

We did not have any ceramicists in my family, but some of my classmates' did have them. When I was a little girl, the industry flourished at that time and a lot of pottery from Taiwan actually came from Yingge town. I remember I liked to pick up some faulty cups and plates near the pottery factories, because the factories would discard the imperfect ones, but the quality of some of those were still good, just the decoration was messed up or the color was not perfect, but apart from that, the ceramic was still good. Finding those faulty cups and plates was like a treasure hunting game for me, it was a lot fun.

Once a classmate brought ceramic scissors to class, they were white and delicate. We were all curious about them, so my classmate demonstrated how well they cut a paper. Wow, the scissors were really sharp, the cutting edge of the paper was flawless! And they were very safe to use. If you put your finger on the blade, you'd not cut yourself! However, there was a serious defect: If you were careless and accidentally dropped them, they would break and shatter into pieces immediately. I still don't understand why my classmate's family manufactured those scissors.

[ Source here.]

Because of the ceramics industry, our town was not so clean before. But our government helped to change Yingge into a tourist destination and my home town became beautiful and clean. On November 26, 2000, the Yingge Ceramics Museum was opened. I like it very much, because it looks so nice and it shows the whole ceramics history of Yingge town in form of a collection of all the products throughout from the beginnings some 200 years ago to the present time. Every time my friends ask me to show them around my home town, no doubt I would bring them to this museum, it's my most recommended spot here.

  [ Source here.]

Besides the famous museum, I recommend the Old Street. It's a great spot for visitors to walk around. Many ceramic stores located there and they sell all kinds of products, such as tea pots, cups, bowls and plates, even ceramic art. The prices are very reasonable, some are very cheap. Many good restaurants are located there as well and they have a special tradition: If your eat there, you can take away the cups and plates, in which your meal was served, you don't need to pay extra for that. That's great, right?

  [ Source here.]

There's another thing for you in Yingge: If you want to experience the famous scene from the movie "Ghost" (with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore), you can join a clay art course, there's many of them here. A professional craftsman will assist you in making a perfect plate, cup or bottle by yourself. And if you think your product is good, you can ask them to make it a ceramic for you, it will cost you very little.

Do you want to go on a short day trip away from Taipei city? Come to Yingge and have a nice day! Welcome to Yingge!

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MKL said...

You know, I knew your age before already ;) I must say great post and a great place. I hope I can see your home town one day, I really like pottery, especially tea sets. I always buy them during my Asia trips. Would you enjoy some nice green tea with me? :P

Manju said...

oh i would never have thought of ceramic scissors. maybe they made them because it's safe for kids? but then, kids are more likely to drop them....strange....
have you made a lot of ceramic stuff?

FJ said...

Aha, knew your age! XD About the scissors, I'd say WOW! COOL! but then it would be so much cooler if it doesn't break.

I'd always love Taiwan/Taipei(it's the same right?) And I'm quite sure I'll like Yingge too. Wish I can go there someday. By that time, would you bring me around the town? :)

LilyChen said...

Of course you should know my real age, right? I'm honest to you. I'll show you my hometown, I know because of lots of tea pots, you'll like it very much.

Green tea is healthy, I like to drink it very much!!

I don't understand why they made the ceramic scissors, but it's really funny, maybe they made it just for fun.

Yea, I think so, the ceramic scissor was really cool, but it's not practical at all, haha... If you come to visit, of course I'll show you around. :-)

Shingo T said...

How far away is Yingge from Taipei city? Know I could just check the answers online, but I'll rather come back here to check. =p

Didn't know there was such a thing called ceramic scissors.

I enjoyed Taiwan alot as a whole, its vast culture make it a very unique nation. Looking forward to my Taiwan trip in end April.

=chuan guan= said...

looking forward u to blog more about taiwan.. anymore interesting bout ur hometown, food especially..cause i am looking to go for taiwan trip this year

Stefanie said...

Can we d.i.y it? I want to get some, for my family. :) Introduce more about TAIWAN pls! :D We like it we like it. i enjoy reading it as well.

LilyChen said...

If we take train, only needs 30 min from Taipei City to our town. Yes, welcome back, better ask me this Yingge and Taiwan local, hehe.

@=chuan guan=,
I'll try my best, but my hometown doesn't have any famous foods, only has cheap and general yummy things. :-P

Hey, sis, of course you can DIY it!! But if you want to bring home for the gifts, it takes some time to make them become ceramics. So maybe you can come to my hometown and DIY and the first day of your tour, and at the last day, you may take them home. :-P

Laura Watilo Blake said...

Thanks for sharing this post about Yingge. Friends of mine who live in Taipei brought me there last January; otherwise, I probably never would have known about the place. I loved the pottery, but didn't have time to make my own. And as for food, I didn't have any, but I remember being amazed that you could 1) Buy tea in an aluminum can and 2) the 7 Eleven sold the aluminum can from a hot case that keeps the beverage warm. We have no such thing in America at our 7 Eleven stores.

LOL . . . Here's where I had that revelation in Yingge:


I love Google street view for bringing dimension to a place halfway around the world and your description enhances it greatly, too.

LilyChen said...

Thanks for visiting here, your photo makes this post become splendid.

I didn't go to America before, so I don't know you don't have teas in aluminum cans. I guess maybe you seldom drink tea, but here we used to drink a lot of tea, that’s the difference. I forgot I can use Google street views, hehe, thanks for the sharing.

If we have chance to meet in my hometown again, I’ll bring you to make your pottery by yourself. :-)

The Demigoddess said...

Yeah, good question. I wonder why ceramic scissors would even sell. They're too fragile to be fully functional.

Taiwan is so close to the Philippines and I have some friends who work there. They really love the country. And my friends and I share one other thing in common. We have a crush on Jerry Yen of the F4. Haha.

selvy said...

Ahh, so lovely, sis!! I got a town like yours in my country too, I went there during my high school years and we bought a lot of pencil stand bath set like shampoo bottles and etc. Maybe we can exchange sometimes. Hehe ;)

LilyChen said...

@The Demigoddess,
Ceramic scissors are not for sell, I think maybe they made it just for fun, or had a test to see ceramic can make sharp blade and harmless. I'm glad to know that your friends like here. Seems so many girls have a crush on Jerry Yeh, although I don't have any feelings to him. :-P

Thanks for commenting and visiting.

Really? You have such town? What's the town's name? I'm interested.