All news

Ceramics craftsmen introduce ancient technology of the Hainan aborigines

The Li people have preserved many customs and traditions rooted in the Neolithic era

HAIKOU, September 2. /TASS/. Ceramics craftsmen from Hainan showed the local community the unique production of tableware dating back to the Neolithic era. According to the Hainan Daily newspaper, the technology was invented by the indigenous population of the province — the Li people.

According to the newspaper, Hainan craftsmen have preserved their traditions and still make ceramic objects in a handicraft way using basic tools from wood, stone, bamboo and sea shells — materials that are found everywhere on Hainan. Specialists pay the closest attention to searching for special types of clay, which is dried and crushed to a powdery state, and then stored in a slightly damp state in large jugs, where it becomes viscous.

"It takes time and quite a lot of effort to make ceramics using the technology of a small ethnic group. Besides, if one works carelessly, immediately after firing, the product can crack," said master Dong Fusheng, who has been making ceramic dishes since he was eight years old.

As he clarified, the probability that the product will turn out to be successful is usually only 50%. Small items take three to four days to produce, while items larger than 50 cm take about a week. Recently, however, this process has become less hard and time-consuming: despite the fact that specialists still create cutlery by hand, they purchased a more convenient auxiliary equipment that helps to facilitate production and even improve the visual appeal of the product.

One of the small firms making ceramics using the Li technology is located in Sanya on the south coast of the island. Recently, its products are in high demand among tourists and the locals. This made it possible to increase the number of the group by 15 times, up to 80 people, nine of them are masters who know ancient technologies. In order to promote the product, the company opened courses on teaching the art of ceramics.

"With the help of new machines, we are able to significantly reduce the percentage of flaw, eliminate such defects as uneven color, insufficient strength, increased fragility and lack of gloss," said Dong Fusheng. "At the same time, we preserve ancient technology, and I am sure that we will do a lot better". 

A major center for culture and tourism

Sanya is a leading Chinese resort with more than a million people, according to the 2021 census. The average annual air temperature in this city is 25.4 degrees Celsius, and the length of the coastline exceeds 200 km. In the adjacent water area, there are 19 bays and about 40 islands suitable for recreation. All this allows the local administration to successfully develop yacht and beach tourism.

A significant part of Sanya's population are representatives of the Li people, who inhabited the island more than 3,000 years ago. This ethnos has preserved many customs and traditions rooted in the Neolithic era.