Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia:
Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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Covered box

  • Stoneware with cobalt pigment under clear glaze
  • 4.5 x 7.4 x 7.4 cm
  • 15th century, Later Le dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Anonymous gift
  • F1978.42a-b


Round covered box; center panel of cover slightly recessed, base slightly recessed; one chip inside edge of cover.
Clay: pale putty-colored, high-fired, hard, fine texture, resonant, but without transparency.
Glaze: thin, clear, covers decoration on white slip on outside, inside of bowl and partial on inside of cover. Some deterioration on cover only, in the form of iridescent flaking over areas of heaviest concentration of blue. Both glaze and slip stop a little short of unglazed base.
Decoration: painted in underglaze cobalt blue on white slip. Cover: center panel, containing an eight-petalled flower head, lies within a border of six petal shapes filled alternately with plant and geometric forms. Sides: six lotus petal panels filled alternately with leaf and concentric wave patterns.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (J.H. Knapp, 1979) As in other Annamese blue and white boxes of this type, the design is a continuous pattern from the center of the top down the sides almost to the base, ignoring the cut division of cover from box.

For related pieces, see Lammers and Ridho 1974, 87[No. 6A12], 43[No. 5A39/1552]. Also see Centennal Museum Vancoover, ed. 1971, 59[P177]. The box is called 14th century. It has an especially close resemblance to the Freer box.

Lammers, Cheng, and Abu Ridho. 1974. Annamese Ceramics in the Museum Pusat. Jakarta: Foremost Jaya.

Centennal Museum Vancouver, ed. 1971. The Talking Jars: An Exhibition of Oriental Ceramic Folkwares Found in South East Asia. Vancouver: Centennial Museum Vancouver.

2. (L.A. Cort, August 1989) The terminology of "Annamese" is changed to "Vietnamese."

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