May 23, 2010, Taiwan, a television programwasintroducing the production of Yingjing Sand . On the show, the jumping fire scared the two hoststo scream when the sand was pulling out of the furnace. And in Taipei ,a TV audience, Wang Zhenghe, a famous Taiwan ceramic artist, was also being amazed.
On camera, a worker wearing a cloak on his left-half body carried a dustpan with sawdust ,and heput the sawdust inside down into a pit. Suddenly, the large flame jumped out of the huge pit, burnt ragingly. The scene was spectacular. And then another woker covered the lid quickly, but the flamestill split out from the gap.
Wang Zhenghesaid, at that time, he looked straightly to the scream, "Not because of the sudden burning of the fire , but the insight into the production of the ancient pottery." That night, he was hard to fall asleep.He decided to go to Yingjing,and to use this oldest method of burning to make some work of art.
Hidden feast in Yingjing Sand
by Li Xiaobo
Yingjing, located in the western edge of the Sichuan Basin, middle of Ya’an, is the ancient Yan Road, which was an important post of the ancient southwest Silk Road.The history of Yingjing blackcasseroles has lasted nearly a hundred years,In Yingjing,there is a street with more than 10 plants, producing bowls and tanks.The bowl is mainly used for soup or stew, and the tank is used for boiling medicine.Its sales range all over Sichuan, Chongqing, and even throughout the country.
Yingjing casserolescan be used to cook, make tea and hold water and grain. It is also good to stew the meat, making it soft and full flavored. And it is also the indispensable cooking tool of a famous Sichuan dish called CasseroleYaFish". The sand, Shu cloth and Qiongzhanghad been sold around the worldas early as the Han Dynasty,.
An original and wildtaste
Living in a material world, people may not have any special feeling about eating.However, for those who had suffered from poverty, eating something tasty can still be impressive. In these decades,I tasted many delicious dishes with expensive ingredients or cooked with complex techniques, but there nothing can win my love beyond the Pig Feet in Casserole that I had when I was little.
The casserolelooked like a barrel. The smoked pig feetwith the golden surface, chunked into large pieces, were thrown into the stove heated by firewood , and then simmered with charcoal.Waves of fragrance floating out of the stove,even the naughtiest child became quiet for the smell and exceptionally attentive to cook. Sometimes the stewing started after dinner, people would have to wait for the next day to enjoy the dish, they fell asleep and dreamed with the expectation of the coming day. Good food in casseroles, to those who had beed through the hungry era,may be the best food which can be carved in the memory and heart.
Later, I know that dreaming cooker came from Yingjing , the local call it “Sha BO BO”which means sand bowl,also the "Yingjing casserole.”.Even I become familiar with Yingjing, it still remind me of the casserole when people talking about it. It seems like Yingjing is an another name of the casseroles or a long while.
Yingjing produce casseroles, and that place is called "ancient city". I thought it was just a small country with anindigested name before I visited there.The ancient city is the original county.It is said that is the site of the earliest "Yan Road" The country is in a big platform between mountains and rivers, Ying River rushing down from side to side, and mountains are standing behind.where the county chokethroat of the traffic. Now the place is an open field, only a few ruins can be seen to remind people the long history . People say that the history of Yingjing casserole is two thousand years as long as the exist of the earliest "Yan Road" county which is no need to doubt after the long walk in the country.
The legendary of the raging fire in the kiln
Yingjing sand was stacked up on the both sides of the road in front of the stores in the Gucheng village, Liuhe town,Yingjing country.The flow of the pottery waves float near than one kilometer ,which is spectacular.
This place is where the ancient Yandao city was .And Longmont Mountains’huge belt of folded strata located distantly. Some smoke raising from the close hillside resembles the ancient Wolf Smoke.It turned out to be the smoke of burning straw that the local burn it right there as a custom.It mixed with the smoke splitting from the kiln, making the world unreal.
Ying Jing sand is completely belong to the soil pottery.The firing process is so simple, but the result is so magical.It is said that Zhuge Liang stationed here when the troop was heading south.He designed the "eight array map”, making the cooking smoke looked like misty rain to fool the enemy.Then now the Gucheng village became the village of Yingjing sand, the smoke of making sand was exactly like the ancient misty rain.
The production process of Yingjing sand is simple and magical. The raw materials are clay and charcoal dregs. The two materials are grinned into powder,and 1:1 mixed. "Only clay from the Gucheng Village can be fired, and also the fine coal from Huatan can make it possible to reach the furnace.” the kiln workers said so. Wonderfully, the fine coal ,as a raw material, commonly known as carbon pollen produced by coal burning, is turned into treasure by the production.
And the casserole using the unique clay found locally to make.The clay was dried and grined,mixed with fine coal cinder, made into mud, baked with high temperature, and then made the glaze layer on the surface before the cooling process.
The production process is not complicated. The fire factory, the glaze pit, in fact, are just pits.The method is quite original but very useful .The whole firing process was completed within three to five hours. What’s interesting is that actually the sand is glazed with sawdust.The glazed sand have a layer of dazzling silver-like light. From the material to the firing and glazing,the , the firing process of the artwork from the pottery eraare so simple, and the result is so magical, reallyincredible.
The sand is divided into three categories: technical art set; this type is ofhigh prices, but very choose the buyer; the second is flower pots, engraved dragon and other fornaments; the rest are day miscellaneous,likemedicine cans and so on.Although cheap,can maintain the business.
Afternoon sun scorching, the onekilometer-long sand piles looked like two narrow walls forcing the road. Thevillagers are confused when talking about the future of the sand. At present, their sand production is still stranded in the family workshop, no scale effect, marketing planning and product development and so on.
Zeng's Red Sand is the leader of Yingjing’s casserole industry, although they do not know what "sunset industry”means,they do know that the current business is harder than ever before. If men there donot have time to make sand, they can still feed themselves by working in the field to do some farming work.
When the long wooden pole lifted the lid slowly from the furnace, a pile of red sand was bornin the fire.This is also the busiest moment, the worker have to move at the fastest speed to hook the sand to another kiln to glaze.As the temperature is very high, most of the workers took off the shirt, wear a hat and put a pair of quilts on the shoulder to withstand the fire baking. If at night, the flameof the glaze pitis so beautiful that seems like it is releasing endless gorgeous of two thousand years ,making it an ancient fantasy.
Yingjing sand is not like Yixing teapot presenting visual pleasure throughout time.Teapot became one type of artwork because it combines itself with kong fu tea,good looking but not practical.
Yingjing sand is not the case, since it was cooker. So even today, the arty and elegance become common practice, Yingjing sand still maintain the ancient style, unfashioned. Some people think it should be made into the Teapot style, making comprehensive innovation from materials to production, modeling, technology and other aspects .making it as well-known as the Teapot.It may be a good suggestion. But standing at the actual situation, although the sand makers tried hard from generation to generation and made many progress ,the sand still can not change the destiny of being cookers.
From a scientific point of view, because of its materials, processes and other aspects,Yingjing casserole is heat resisting,indeformable，crack resisting. Its own does not rust or react with acid, alkali, salt and others. Casserole has a good permeability, so you can keep the food for a long time remaining its taste, which is a great advantage before the fridge was invented. The process of heating and radiation of the casseroleis gradual, people can heat it with firewood, coal and natural gas. And the most authentic way is using simmer charcoal. The heat is moderate, and the flavor of the food is easy to be fully excited out, making the the food "authentic."
And"authentic" is the hidden realm in Yingjing casserole, in fact, it is something that many people struggling to seek for a life.
Regardless the advantages of casserole itself, what makes it famous is a Ya'an dish - casserole Ya fish. Traditionally, although the fish plays a important role, but the ingredients and the furnace still can’t be ignored. In the memory if mine, the most delicious casserole Ya fish, in addition to Ya fish, there are dry shrimp, chrysanthemum, magnolia film, fungus, heart film and so many ingredients. Whether Ya fish is made into salmon fish, watercress fish, sweet and sour fish or any other fish, the taste can not be any special. Only the taste ofCasserole Ya fish is unique.making casserole and Ya fish the best partners on the dinner table. Sometimes you have to admit God's fairness, letting the delicious magic happen, otherwise, the existence of two kinds of materials would mean nothing.
People now are complaining the food is less flavored.In fact, there are less people cook with a heart of passionate and patient. Most of them want to be wealthy quickly, putting overwhelming attention on making profit instead of making things or the food better.If every cook can use the casserole to make food slowly with all his heart, how can the food become so disappointed?
Traffic: Shiyang Station,Chengdu - Yingjing, fare 54 yuan
By car: Starting along the Beijing-Kunming high-speed / G5 driving 163.9 km, Yingjing export, about 2 km to Yingjing. About 175 km, with about 2 hours.
Features: Daxiangling Nature Reserve, cattle back mountain, Sirentong mountains, tea, Yingjing sand