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February 16, 17
  Treasure or Clay?
To one person it’s just clay; to another it’s a treasure
  你我眼中毫無價值的黏土; 在他人眼中卻是珍寶
  by Rebecca Brittingham


“We’re stopping here? At this shabby old building?” Then I was told that the Sanhe Tile Kiln (三和瓦窯) was a national treasure. Seriously? My heart sank as we walked toward what appeared to be mounds of dirt. The place looked like no national treasure I’d ever seen.

  My disappointment soon melted into anticipation as we walked into the Sanhe Tile Kiln. I soon realized that this wasn’t just any old building. This place, hidden in the heart of Kaohsiung, revolutionized the production of bricks in Taiwan. The piles I had mistaken for dirt were actually clay: a key ingredient in bricks.

  Long ago, many buildings around Taiwan were made from bricks sourced from Fujian Province (福建省). But this all changed when hundreds of brick kilns popped up all over the island. Of the 130-plus brick-making kilns that once operated in Kaohsiung, the Sanhe Tile Kiln is the last one standing. This traditional brick and tile factory has been in operation for over 100 years. Considered a national treasure, the factory is part of the cultural heritage of the island.


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