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Culinary Ware Art – Ceramic Containers & Cooking Utensils
Amis wine pot | Tribal Name: peysektan |  Amis made ceramics by patting clay to a mold to obtain the preliminary shape. The steps of making ceramics include: collecting the clay, preparing the clay, making the semi-finished product, firing the clay during sacrificial offering in wilderness, taking the ceramic after cooling. When making pottery, they must offer rice wine in a ceremonial cup to worship the spirits of ancestors. This was done once when picking the clay (preparing the clay), and twice when firing the clay. The lime used to eat with betel nuts must also be placed inside the pottery as well. Content Description: Amis made ceramics by patting clay to a mold to obtain the preliminary shape. The steps of making ceramics include: collecting the clay, preparing the clay, making the semi-finished product, firing the clay during sacrificial offering in wilderness, taking the ceramic after cooling. When making pottery, they must offer rice wine in a ceremonial cup to worship the spirits of ancestors. This was done once when collecting the clay (preparing the clay), and twice when firing the clay. The lime used to eat with betel nuts must also be placed inside the pottery as well. To make pottery, a chunk of clay is used first and blended with a certain amount of water to mold the preliminary shape. Then another chunk of clay is used to form the base. An additional chunk of clay is used to make several clay sticks, all based on the size and width required for a specific part of the vessel. The base is then connected to the body, and the base and the sides are shaped to form a container with a wide belly and opening. After approximately 10 hours, the moisture in the semi-finished pot will have evaporated and the pot will be firm. Next, clay sticks are used to form handles on both sides of the body. The base is dampened and turned upside down with the bottom facing up to dry. After it has dried in the shade, cogon grass, straw, or rice bran is placed inside and around the vessel as firewood. It is fired outside and left to cool.
Amis wine pot | Tribal Name: peysektan | Amis made ceramics by patting clay to a mold to obtain the preliminary shape. The steps of making ceramics include: collecting the clay, preparing the clay, making the semi-finished product, firing the clay during sacrificial offering in wilderness, taking the ceramic after cooling. When making pottery, they must offer rice wine in a ceremonial cup to worship the spirits of ancestors. This was done once when picking the clay (preparing the clay), and twice when firing the clay. The lime used to eat with betel nuts must also be placed inside the pottery as well. Content Description: Amis made ceramics by patting clay to a mold to obtain the preliminary shape. The steps of making ceramics include: collecting the clay, preparing the clay, making the semi-finished product, firing the clay during sacrificial offering in wilderness, taking the ceramic after cooling. When making pottery, they must offer rice wine in a ceremonial cup to worship the spirits of ancestors. This was done once when collecting the clay (preparing the clay), and twice when firing the clay. The lime used to eat with betel nuts must also be placed inside the pottery as well. To make pottery, a chunk of clay is used first and blended with a certain amount of water to mold the preliminary shape. Then another chunk of clay is used to form the base. An additional chunk of clay is used to make several clay sticks, all based on the size and width required for a specific part of the vessel. The base is then connected to the body, and the base and the sides are shaped to form a container with a wide belly and opening. After approximately 10 hours, the moisture in the semi-finished pot will have evaporated and the pot will be firm. Next, clay sticks are used to form handles on both sides of the body. The base is dampened and turned upside down with the bottom facing up to dry. After it has dried in the shade, cogon grass, straw, or rice bran is placed inside and around the vessel as firewood. It is fired outside and left to cool.

 

Ceramics are used for different functions in indigenous lives. Among these, the most common and significant functions of all are as tools for food preservation and production. Examples of such containers include ceramic water jars and ceramic bowls for rice or soup, commonly seen in the Amis and Tao (Yami) Tribe, and ceramic steamers and ceramic pots used to steam rice in Amis and northern Pingpu Tribes.

Li Shizhen, author of Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica), once said, “Food is the source of life, and our lives depend on nutrition absorbed from food.” This means that human beings rely on food for nutrition to maintain life. Hence, among the various livelihood issues including clothing, housing, transportation, education and recreation, food will always come first and foremost. Therefore, when people no longer eat only with hands, a wide variety of utensils and dishware is developed.

Interestingly, some archeologists believe that originally people applied clay on containers or cooking utensils made out of wood or bamboo simply for holding liquids. However, it was after a fire did people realize that once clay is heated, containers and cooking utensils made from clay became so strong and useful. Although such perspective has not yet come to a definite conclusion, ceramic containers or cooking utensils are, without a doubt, an essential part of people's lives.

 

Tao (Yami) soup bowl  | Tribal Name: vahanga | Usage: To hold soup and food. Content Description: The process of making pottery is called meytanatana in Tao (Yami) language. It is the men's responsibility and expertise to make earthenware. Earthenware produced in Lanyu included ceramic pots used to cook yam and millet, basins to contain fish, soup and meat, and ceramic jars to retrieve and contain water. To produce earthenware, clay was collected from the mountains, and then pounded to remove stones. It was then blended with water to soften it, and molded by hand into a preliminary shape. To do this molding a flat stone was held in the left hand, and the clay was held with the right hand with a papalo (wood stick). It was then lightly patted inside and outside. A small metal blade or tatari (bamboo blade) was used to smooth the inside and outside of the vessel. Next, fingernails or wood chips were used to create patterns. When the molding was completed, the vessel was wrapped carefully in wild taro leaves, and placed in a well ventilated space to dry slowly. After four or five days, the pot was fired to make it firmer and less fragile.
Tao (Yami) soup bowl | Tribal Name: vahanga | Usage: To hold soup and food. Content Description: The process of making pottery is called meytanatana in Tao (Yami) language. It is the men's responsibility and expertise to make earthenware. Earthenware produced in Lanyu included ceramic pots used to cook yam and millet, basins to contain fish, soup and meat, and ceramic jars to retrieve and contain water. To produce earthenware, clay was collected from the mountains, and then pounded to remove stones. It was then blended with water to soften it, and molded by hand into a preliminary shape. To do this molding a flat stone was held in the left hand, and the clay was held with the right hand with a papalo (wood stick). It was then lightly patted inside and outside. A small metal blade or tatari (bamboo blade) was used to smooth the inside and outside of the vessel. Next, fingernails or wood chips were used to create patterns. When the molding was completed, the vessel was wrapped carefully in wild taro leaves, and placed in a well ventilated space to dry slowly. After four or five days, the pot was fired to make it firmer and less fragile.
Tao (Yami) water jar | Tribal Name: ihebet or poranom | Usage: To retrieve or contain water. Content Description: The process of making pottery is called meytanatana in Tao (Yami) language. It is the men's responsibility and expertise to make earthenware. Earthenware produced in Lanyu included ceramic pots used to cook yam and millet, basins to contain soup, fish and meat, and ceramic jars to retrieve and hold water.
Tao (Yami) water jar | Tribal Name: ihebet or poranom | Usage: To retrieve or contain water. Content Description: The process of making pottery is called meytanatana in Tao (Yami) language. It is the men's responsibility and expertise to make earthenware. Earthenware produced in Lanyu included ceramic pots used to cook yam and millet, basins to contain soup, fish and meat, and ceramic jars to retrieve and hold water.
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