Bantao Yao Craft Studio of Jiaozhi Pottery & Chien Nien
Art is all around you
The French author Jerome Clement once said: a�?Culture is all around you, neither close nor far.a�? There are art displays of koji pottery along the sidewalks and DIY pottery plates as you wonder around Bantao Yao and Bantou Village. This is the center of koji pottery, once called a�?Chiayi pottery.a�?
Weaving a dream in the rice field
The township of Xingang, Chiayi, is the center of koji pottery and is responsible for 90% of Taiwana��s koji craftsmen. Chen Zhong Zheng, a disciple under the late Master Lin Zhai Xing saw a decline in the artistry of making ceramics and koji pottery for temple decorations as well as the shift of an era. He infused creative industry with traditional art by establishing Bantao Yao in the green farmlands of Xingang in hopes of preserving the traditional crafts as well as promoting the culture of temples in Taiwan.
The name a�?koji pottery,a�? refers to a color glazed pottery baked in low temperature, originating in the 17 th century. When tradesmen brought the colorful ware from Lingnan, South of the Nanling Mountains in China, to Hirado, Nagasaki, the vibrant colors of the pottery became a favorite among the masters of tea ceremonies. As Lingnan used to be called a�?Jaozhia�? during early times, the pottery from this region became known as a�?Jiazhi pottery.a�?
Koji pottery was introduced to Taiwan around the end of Qing Dynasty, under the Daoguang Emperor. The most well known potter during that time was Ye Wang. Respectfully called a�?The father of koji potterya�?, he was a native from Chiayi and was committed in promoting this traditional craft, hence a�?koji potterya�? is also called a�?Chiayi potterya�?, Chiayi became the center hub for koji pottery. During early times, koji pottery was once heavily utilized in decorating of the pillars and walls of temples. The images were based on folklore and myths in filial piety and created to signify luck and blessing. These folklores greatly influenced and enlightened the thought and belief of people in early Taiwan. When you read about its history at Bantao Yao, it is evident that there is a strong connection among koji pottery, Chinese folklore and temple culture.
Expressing the beauty within koji pottery
In 2006, the Ministry of Economic Affairs supported the establishment of the Bantao Yao Craft Studio of Jiaozhi Pottery & Chien Nien after Bantao Yao was admitted into the a�?Taiwan Crafts Workshopa�? by the Council of Cultural Affairs. As Chiayia��s first tourism factory offering guided tours, Chen Zhong Zheng reinvented the role of koji pottery as a part of the temple culture by introducing the cultural and creative concept, adding real life events as new elements in the creation of koji pottery to not only reflect the modern life but also modernize the art of koji pottery.