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Buffalo-shaped models a big hit ahead of Vietnam’s Lunar New Year

Friday, January 29, 2021, 11:40 GMT+7
Buffalo-shaped models a big hit ahead of Vietnam’s Lunar New Year
A gold-plated clay buffalo model represents wishes for prosperity, happiness, and luck in the New Year. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

As Vietnam’s Lunar New Year draws nearer, kilns in southern Binh Duong Province are working round the clock to produce buffalo-shaped pottery in honor of the New Year’s zodiac animal.

The weeks leading up to Vietnam’s Lunar New Year holiday are a busy time for the country’s artisans, with many working overtime to produce pieces honoring the New Year’s zodiac animal.

Nowhere is the holiday rush more apparent than in the pottery villages of Binh Duong Province, where thousands upon thousands of gold-plated clay buffalo are being made to celebrate 2021 – the Year of the Buffalo.

Nguyen Khai Hoang adorns a gold plated clay buffalo in Lai Thieu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Khai Hoang adorns a gold-plated clay buffalo in Lai Thieu Ward, Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

At his workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province, Tran Quoc Tuan has been producing clay buffalo since November of last year using a relatively simple process. 

First, clay is placed in a mold where it sun-dries for an hour. 

After being removed from the mold, the clay buffalo sun-dries for an additional two hours before being put in a kiln where it bakes for 10 more hours. 

Afterward, the clay buffalo is shipped to a different workshop for painting.

Workers pour clay into a buffalo mold at Tran Quoc Tuan’s workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers pour clay into a buffalo mold at Tran Quoc Tuan’s workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

In just three months, Tuan’s kiln has baked over 5,000 products for customers throughout Long An Province, Binh Duong Province, and Ho Chi Minh City.

“This year is the Year of the Buffalo so our workshop is prioritizing buffalo models," Nguyen Khai Hoang, an artisan from Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

"We also produce lots of clay watermelons, as well as other zodiac symbols. 

"We’re currently making two sizes of clay buffalo and each is either gold-plated or painted. 

"We sell them for VND20,000-30,000 [US$0.87-1.30] apiece.”

A worker pours clay into the mold to shape buffalo at Tran Quoc Tuan’s workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A worker pours clay into  molds to shape buffalo at Tran Quoc Tuan’s workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

According to workshop owners, the main markets for these product are southern and central provinces, as well as Cambodia and Laos.

Artisan Tran Quoc Tuan puts the clay models inside the furnace in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Artisan Tran Quoc Tuan puts clay models inside a furnace in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers carry finished buffalo to a truck for transport to processing factories in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province for decoration. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers carry finished clay buffalo to a truck for transport to processing factories in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province for decoration. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A clay watermelon represents wishes for prosperity in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A clay watermelon represents wishes for prosperity in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Finished buffalo models on display in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Finished buffalo models are on display in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A driver picks up the clay models at a pottery workshop in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province before transporting them to other localities. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A driver picks up clay models at a pottery workshop in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province before transporting them to other localities. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers adorn raw piggy banks at a pottery workshop in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Workers adorn raw piggy banks at a pottery workshop in Thuan An City, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A buffalo model adorned with flower in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A buffalo model adorned with flower images in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A finished buffalo emerges from the kiln after 12 hours of baking at Tran Quoc Tuan workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Finished clay buffalo emerge from the kiln after 12 hours of baking at Tran Quoc Tuan's workshop in Tan Uyen Town, Binh Duong Province. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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