Thu, Jan 24, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Pottery workshop aims to pass on Paiwan culture

By Tsai Tsung-hsien and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Healing Hands Foundation and the Heng Chun Christian Hospital joined together to sponsor a winter holiday camp to teach Paiwan youngsters in Pingtung County about traditional Paiwan pottery-making.

Paiwan pottery culture is rich and extensive, ranging from the beads that symbolize the continuation of a family to vessels that symbolize higher social status, said Hua Heng-ming (華恆明), one of the Paiwan artists asked to lead the camp.

Migration to urban areas, which included master potters, means that many such pieces are no longer seen in Mudan Township (牡丹), Hua said.

Mudan is traditionally a Paiwan community.

Forty-five children, ranging from elementary school to junior-high school students, attended the five-day workshop and the hope was that they might discover an affinity for working with clay, Hua said.

While the goal of the workshop was to pass on pottery to the next generation, it also aimed to teach a proper attitude toward life, hospital superintendent Chen Chih-cheng (陳志成) said.

“We hope that through pottery, the children learned how to handle the frustration that comes from temporary let-downs in life, and the value of patience, as time is required for the pottery to be fired in kilns, Chen said.

“Through working with clay, we hoped to encourage creativity and teach the children about their own culture in a fun way,” Hua said.

Some of the children at the workshop said it was “fun” and that they planned to dedicate their creations to their parents.

One youngster, known as A Pan (阿潘), said he learned that handling clay was time sensitive and could not be done slowly, as the clay usually dried out before he was finished working with it.

The workshop gave him an appreciation the deft handiwork of his ancestors, A Pan said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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