Sanya's pottery making skill: enduring legacy of Li ethnic group

Print english.sanya.gov.cn Updated: 2023-06-14

The original pottery making skill of the Li ethnic group is popular in Hetu village, Tianya district, Sanya, and has a history of over 6,000 years. It was selected as part of the third batch of Hainan provincial intangible cultural heritage items in 2010.

Tianya Li Pottery Handmade Products Farmers' Professional Cooperative is located in Heitu village. This village still passes down the pottery-making techniques that originated from long ago.

Before making pottery, Li women use local low-temperature sandy clay and prepare it through processes such as excavation, crushing, drying, screening, and kneading. Then they rub the clay into long strips and then form their pottery piece in layers from the bottom up.

After the initial pottery piece has taken shape, tools such as wooden boards, bamboo strips, and clam shells are used to even out the texture, and then the tools are used to engrave various Li totems and patterns.

After the decorative engraving process, the pottery piece needs to be fully exposed to sunlight, and then dried in the shade for six to 15 days, before it can be fired.

As time progressed, Li pottery has gone beyond the scope of daily necessities and has become a cultural and artistic handicraft.

A Li woman makes pottery. [Photo/Sanya Daily]

Some pottery handicrafts in Sanya. [Photo/Sanya Daily]

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