History of Dragon Kiln
What is the Dragon Kiln? Despite the name, the Dragon Kiln is actually a very big wood-fired oven! It is what our ancestors used to traditionally fire up and create beautiful pieces of pottery.
The Dragon Kiln gets its name due to its shape - the kiln is actually a long tunnel resembling a dragon with a smoky head at the base and its tail at the chimney. It even produces roaring and hissing sounds when in use, just like a real dragon!
The process of firing up clay into ceramic work starts with pieces of pottery being placed into the body of the Dragon. The doorways to the kiln are then sealed with bricks, sand, and clay. To get to the ceramic works after the firing, we would have to break open the sealed doors. Firewood is then fed into the mouth of the Dragon, where it will remain burning for up to a week. The body of the Dragon is sloped upwards for the rising hot air to pass through, and eventually get pushed out through the chimney at the "tail". The resulting products are beautiful pieces of pottery with a unique glaze finish formed from the interaction of firewood ash and the ceramic works, giving each piece of pottery a unique and distinctive look.
In the last century, Singapore used to be the proud owner of more than 20 dragon kilns. The decrease in demand for wood-fired ceramic pieces (due to the expensive and tedious nature of wood-firing), as well as the need for land space has greatly reduced their numbers. Today, only two Dragon Kilns are left, surviving the rest of their brothers and sisters - Guan Huat Dragon Kiln and Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln, both located in Jalan Bahar.
Don't miss this chance to get a closer look at one of Singapore's most unique heritage sites as deemed by the National Heritage Board (NHB). Join our special excursion tours filled with endless wonders and joy! Our dragon kiln excursion programmes are absolutely hands-on, from getting our hands into the clay and differentiating clay from playdoh to going into the kiln and feeling the spot filled walls to finally glazing (painting) a piece of pottery.
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