• Stoneware with cobalt pigment under clear glaze
  • 9 x 9.2 x 9.2 cm
  • 15th century, Later Le or Mac dynasty
  • Origin: Chu Dau kilns or Ngoi kilns, Hai Duong province, Red River delta, Vietnam
  • Provenance: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Gift of Dorothy M. Slak
  • F1986.44


Small jar with flattened sides.
Clay: light brown stoneware.
Glaze: translucent, matt surface, large irregular crackle stained red; glaze worn off rim; foot unglazed.
Decoration: in underglaze cobalt, with some black spotting: single line around base of neck, with lotus-petal collar; body flattened into four wide and four narrow panels, the wide panels with frames enclosing identical plants, the narrow panels enclosing geometric patterns.

Curatorial Remarks

1.  (L.A. Cort, 1986) A jar with related decorative schemes, but with the large panels containing what appear to be prunus sprays, is shown as no. 147 in Kimura 1983. A similar format is also used in an enamel-decorated jar (ibid., no. 85).

The Indonesian dealer's slip, enclosed in the jar, reads "Hungwu dynasty"—the dealer dated the piece to the beginning of the Ming dynasty.

Three small jars with similar decor are shown in Young et al., eds. 1982, nos. 202–204, and dated 16th century.

Kimura Teizo. 1983. Annan tōji zufu. Tokyo: Ruri Shobō.

Young, Carol M., Marie-France Dupoizat, and Elizabeth W. Lane, eds. 1982. Vietnamese Ceramics. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society and Oxford University Press.

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

3.  (Louise Cort, 3 May 2004) A jar of this type with octagonal body, belonging to a private collection in Hanoi, is dated 15th century and is described as Ngoi and Chu Dau style, referring to two production sites in the Red River delta complex, in Bùi and Nguyễn-Long 2001, no. 189.

Title changed from "jar with underglaze cobalt decoration" to "octagonal jar."

Bùi Minh Trí, and Kerry Nguyễn-Long. 2001. Gốm Hoa Lam Việt Nam (Vietnamese Blue and White Ceramics). Hanoi: Nhà xuảt bấn khoa học xā hội (Social sciences publishing house).

4.  (Louise Cort, 30 August 2004) Several jars of this type in varying sizes were found in the Lena cargo, from the wreck of a Chinese junk excavated near a shoal northeast of Palawan Island in the Philippines. Strangely, although they are clearly Vietnamese, they are identified as "Ming dynasty, late 15th century" in Franck Gaddio et al. 2000, 26–27 (unnumbered).

"Ngoi or Chu Dau, Red River delta" added to Geography. Date changed to "fifteenth century."

Some jars of related form and design were found on the Cu Lao Cham wreck, also known as the Hoi An Hoard, which is dated late 15th–early 16th century (Butterfields 2000, lots 511–514).

Goddio, Franck, Stacey Pierson, and Monique Crick. 2000. Sunken treasures : fifteenth century Chinese ceramics from the Lena carg. London: Periplus.

Butterfields. 2000. Treasures from the Hoi An Hoard. 2 vols, vol.1. San Francisco and Los Angeles: Butterfields.

5. (Najiba Choudhury, 10/29/2014) Transferred from the Provenance text field: "Acquired by Ms. Slak in Jakarta, Indonesia, circa 1968."

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