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Unique Thai pottery tradition under threat

Rustic style introduced by Chinese migrants endangered as skills die out

A migrant worker from Myanmar cleans an earthen water-jar with a dragon motif at a factory in Ratchaburi. (Photo by Marwaan Macan-Markar)

BAN KHU BUA , Thailand -- As the monsoon sweeps across Thailand's flat, central plains, rivers and canals are filling up with the seasonal rain. In Ratchaburi Province, about 100km west of Bangkok, traditional earthenware water jars tucked along the sides of small Thai-style wooden homes are also getting their fill.

In Ban Khu Bua, in eastern Ratchaburi, the jars sit like knee-high garden ornaments, their distinctive brown color and yellow Chinese dragon motifs visible outside most of the village's 140 houses. Some have two, to catch as much rainfall as possible. Others stand solo, like squat earthen tubs on the sides of paddy fields.

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