Produce ‘golden tiger’ for Lunar New Year
BINH DUONG – From the beginning of January, the pottery workshops in Tan Uyen town were busy producing samples of earth tigers to serve the market.
Operating all year round, but near Tet, the pottery kilns in Tan Vinh Hiep commune (Tan Uyen town) become busier when switching to producing piggy banks and earth tigers. At Mr. Le Quang Loi’s pottery workshop, the main item is still a piggy bank, but every month before the Lunar New Year, he casts a mold to make more of the year’s mascot.
On December 5, at noon, Mrs. Hop (Mr. Loi’s wife) poured earth into the mold to create the shape of tigers next to the piggy bank. This year, every day the factory makes about 1,000 tigers and 2,000 piggy banks for the upcoming Lunar New Year, an increase of 30% compared to normal.
“A few months before the epidemic, I had to stop production for 3 months straight, thinking this Tet was hungry. Now the situation is better, traders place orders regularly, so the output is still the same as last year,” the woman from Thai Nguyen said. .
This year the foundry make jade tigers. “Tigers after being baked will be taken to dealers; they will paint them with gold, paint their beards and eyes, apply glitter… they look very brave and bring good luck in the new year,” said Mien, 64, a worker. an employee in Mr. Le Quang Loi’s workshop said.
After entering the mold, the pigs and tigers will dry in the sun on the rig for about 3 hours before being placed in the warehouse to wait for firing. Every day the workshop consumes nearly a ton of finished clay.
The tiger “eating to the sun” will be peeled off the excess soil to make it smooth before being put into the kiln. “The whole factory has 10 workers, almost anyone can do all the stages after just one month of training,” said Mr. Phung Van Ton, 47 years old.
This is the first year that Mr. Ton moved from his hometown in Thai Nguyen to Binh Duong to work as a worker. Before that, his whole family was attached to tea making, but the epidemic caused a precarious income.
Inside the kiln, Nguyen Ngoc Phuc (from Dong Thap province) put the products in a basket and brought them out after more than 10 hours of baking. “Qualified products must achieve high hardness, not burn black or chip when fired,” Phuc, 17 years old, said.
Every day, 2 or two more trucks come to the workshop to pick up goods and deliver them to dealers in Lai Thieu (Thuan An City, Binh Duong) to finish painting and decorating before selling to the market.
For 20 years, Mr. Loi’s family has rented land of about 2,500 m2 to live and work as a pottery workshop. The whole commune has more than 15 households doing this profession.
About 18 km away, at Mr. Thanh Tam’s facility (Lai Thieu ward), nearly 2,000 pigs and tigers are imported every day. In addition to products taken from kilns, this year the factory also self-professed gypsum tigers with an output of 100 animals a day to diversify designs.
“Tiger plaster has a longer drying time than made of clay but does not have to be baked. Dry it and then dip it in yellow paint before painting it,” said Nguyen Nhat Hao (17 years old).
Inside the factory, employees are busy painting and decorating each product in order to deliver in time.
“Where I make all kinds of animals like pigs, dogs, and earth cats… during Tet, the mascot of that year cannot be missed. This year the market is a bit gloomier than usual. Today, I have sold about 2,000 animals. “, the factory owner said.
In a corner of the workshop, Ms. Phuong worked hard to paint each yellow-painted earth tiger. The hardest part is still the stage of drawing eyes, noses, and stripes for tigers because it requires high skill to make the product have a soul.
The golden tigers with cute faces and chubby bodies are the best-selling items, with prices ranging from 25,000 to 30,000 VND each. According to the factory owners, this year’s market is still mainly the southern and central provinces, in addition, products are also exported to Laos and Cambodia.
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