What is a dragon kiln?
Dragon kilns get its name from its shape – it resembles a dragon with its smoky head at the base of a slope and its tail uphill. It is basically a wood fired kiln, which was in use for many centuries in China.
Burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1300°C, it also produces fly ash and volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. This glaze may show great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp.
The length of the firing depends on the volume of the kiln and may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 days or more.
Charcoal and timber were initially bought from Indonesia or surrounding kiln areas or even wood shavings from sawmills. During the Japanese occupation (1942-1945), rubber trees were chopped and burnt in the kilns to produce medicine containers, oil and fermented beancurd containers. Now, used or unwanted wood from old wooden houses, attics, or sawmills, is burnt.