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About the Village

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The Oegosan Onggi Village, located in Ulju-gun, Ulsan, produces over 50 % of the onggi in Korea. As a cradle of this tradition and culture, this is the largest folk onggi village nationwide, which has accumulated our ancestors’ wisdom up to the present period.

Beginning firing pottery from 1950s, Oegosan Onggi Village steadily got known as a natural onggi place. In the 1960s and 1970s, with over 350 potters gathering from all over the country, it began to sell onggi to Seoul and export it to foreign countries like the U.S. and Japan. In the 1980s, after an introduction in the form of a brochure, foreign potters began to visit the village.

Since the 1980s when industrialization resulted in the lack of the demand for onggi and awareness of traditional onggi culture declined, now only 40 of 128 households have carried the tradition by engaging in the onggi business. Despite this setback, residents in the onggi village work very hard together to reinvigorate onggi production by developing new onggi and products that meet modern people’s taste for ancient and modern beauty.

Currently the Village photo

Oegosan Onggi Village

Village picture, 1. Ulsan Onggi Museum / 2. Onggi Academy / 3. Community Information Center / 4. Education Kiln / 5. Display Kiln / 6. Parking Lot / 7. Traditional Market Bank / 8. Onggi Cultural Park  / 9. Ecological Pond  / 10. Yeonghwa Ceramics  / 11. Geumcheon Pottery / 12. Ilseong Pottery / 13. Onggigol Pottery  / 14. GayaSilla Earthenware / 15. Seongchang Ceramics / 16. Village Information Office / 17. Yeongnam Ceramics  / 18. Geumjeong Ceramics / 19. Gyeongnam Ceramics / 20. Management Office, Restroom / 21. Ulju Folk Museum

Village History

Located in Gosan-ri, Onyang-eup, the onggi village is the largest national folk onggi village. Even in the1950s, there were only 30 households in need. While suffering from the Korean War, many refugees gathered in Busan, and the demand for onggi thence increased.

Heo Deok-man, Photo

Onggi artisan Heo Deok-man, founding and running the Korean style chamber kiln (ascending kiln) in Yeongdeok in Gyeongsangbuk-do, was searching a place near Busan at that time. After leasing land here, he built a plant and kiln and began baking onggi in 1957. It was a period of springtime poverty, so many people who wanted to learn the skill of making onggi and potters from all over nation crowded into this village, resulting in the rapid growth.

In those days, Heo’s production center sold onggi to Seoul through Namchang Station and even exported it to the U.S. As the village became prosperous, it was separated from Gosan-ri into Oegosan, with over 200 households. Since industrialization swept the nation, the demand for onggi has been decreasing. After the village founder Heo Deok-man passed away, each of his pupils built a plant and now has created the top national onggi village.

Old Village photo

Origin of the Village

There is no record that demonstrates when onggi used to make in Onyang. However, according to oral tradition, there had been an onggi tube before 1910 in Taehwa-dong, Namchang (what is now near Namchang High School). It no longer exists. The current onggi business in Gosan-ri was started by Heo Deok-man who ran the onggi business in Yeongdeok in Gyeongsangbuk-do and came here to escape from the Korean War in 1950s.

  • Late 1950s
Potters gathered from all over the country. The collective onggi village rapidly developed the onggi industry.
  • 1960s-late 1970s
Zenith of the onggi industry
  • Since 1970s 
Plastic based alternative containers weakened the onggi industry.
  • In the 1980s
The onggi industry soared again due to exportation to Japan.
  • In November 2000 
The Onggi Community Hall was built in Ulju-gun.
  • Since 2000
The Ulsan Onggi Festival has been held every October.