​Ceramic rats a hit in Vietnam as nation prepares to welcome Lunar New Year

Ceramic rats a hit in Vietnam as nation prepares to welcome Lunar New Year
Rat-shaped ceramic figurines made in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

With the Lunar New Year 2020 just over two weeks away, a series of gold-plated ceramic rats handcrafed by artisans in the famed Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi have become sought-after ornaments as families are gearing up to usher in the Year of the Rat.

According to the Vietnamese zodiac, an animal, or ‘sign,’ and its reputed attributes are assigned to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle.

The 12 signs are the Rat, the Water Buffalo, the Tiger, the Cat, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.

The Lunar New Year 2020, which will fall on January 25, is the Year of the Rat – the animal that is widely believed to be a symbol of agility, cunning and intelligence.

It is a tradition among Vietnamese to put up decorations and buy items, including gold, shaped like the zodiac animal of the upcoming Lunar New Year during Tet holiday for good luck.

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

This year, artisans in Bat Trang, famous for its pottery and ceramic craft and located some 20km from the center of Hanoi, have introduced their own rat-shaped products to the market.

The rat-shaped ceramic products, which come in diverse styles, designs and prices, have instantly become desirable ornaments for residents in the Vietnamese capital and throughout the country.

It took about four months to turn ideas into actual ceramic rat figurines that sell, said Vuong Hong Nhat, who runs a ceramic workshop in Bat Trang.

The ornaments crafted at Nhat’s facility are distributed throughout the country, he said.

Each of these Bat Trang figurines hit the market at prices of VND50,000-100,000 (US$2.16-4.32) on average.

Some craftsmen said their sale numbers have been on a steady increase as the days before Tet dwindle.

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines made in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines made in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A person takes a photo of rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A person takes a photo of rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines made in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

An artisan makes rat-shaped ceramic figurines in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines at Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Rat-shaped ceramic figurines made in the Bat Trang pottery village in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

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