Singapore's last dragon kiln breathes fire

Ms Stella Tan, 27, stokes the fire at the last operational dragon kiln in Singapore, while family members Yulianti Tan, 59 (in pink), and Tan Teck Yoke, 61, look on. The kiln, located in the family-run Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle in Jalan Bahar, was bu
ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO

Ms Stella Tan, 27, stokes the fire at the last operational dragon kiln in Singapore, while family members Yulianti Tan, 59 (in pink), and Tan Teck Yoke, 61, look on.

The kiln, located in the family-run Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle in Jalan Bahar, was built in 1940 and is 36m long.

It is fired over two days at 1,260 deg C and contains a few thousand pieces of pottery.

Offerings are also burnt for the kiln god.

The kiln engulfs pots in "a river of fire" and the ashes react with the glazes to produce unpredictable colours and textures, resulting in pottery that has a blush of flame not found in firing by gas and electric kilns.

Over 10 artists are involved in the firing, which started yesterday and will continue until early tomorrow morning.

The firing is open to the public. The kiln is an icon of local Teochew and Chinese heritage, says Ms Stella Tan, studio director at Thow Kwang, adding: "It's important to cherish the legacy and spirit of crafts, industry and endeavour that were passed down from the first generation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore's last dragon kiln breathes fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe