Deep in Jurong, a 10-min walk from the nearest bus stop, lies the Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle. Albeit, it is a little less like a jungle nowadays as they have cleared much of the forest around to make way for a CleanTech park. I like forests better.
Anyway, I digress. About a hundred years ago, Chinese immigrants to Singapore brought with them their special kiln making technology to make pottery. Pottery was important in a land of no plastics, expensive metal and plenty of mud to make vessels for storing water and food as well as religious items and gifts. The dragon kiln’s structure is an amazing feat of engineering, made to harness the power of heat and hot rising air.
Photo credit: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagama_kiln
A huge fire is lit at the bottom end and a chimney is at the end that is furthest from the fire. It is build on a slight gradient and unfired pottery is then placed along this long “tunnel” to be fired. As hot air rises, the temperature in the kiln remains almost consistent throughout so that the pottery is fired at the right temperature. Such simple science that even I also can understand!
Thus, the name dragon kiln is a perfect description for this type of kiln design.
At Thow Kwang, you will be able to see hundreds and possibly thousands of pottery in all manner of shapes and sizes. They are crafted in as many styles as a creativity can go using materials such as glass, acrylic paints and sand. A trip back to the past is what this is all about and it is time to admire my photography skills (or lack thereof).
And of course, we end dramatically inside the belly of the dragon itself.
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