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

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Water dropper in the form of a blowfish

  • Stoneware with cobalt pigment under clear, colorless glaze
  • 3.3 x 3 x 5.9 cm
  • 16th century, Later Le, Mac, or Restored Later Le dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Provenance: Jakarta, Java, Indonesia
  • Gift of Dean Frasché
  • F1989.29

Description

Small molded vessel in shape of blowfish, with rimless mouth and flat base.
Clay: pale gray, fine-grained.
Glaze: opaque, ivory-toned, finely abraded over surface except where protected by angles of the molded tail. Base and interior unglazed.
Decoration: in underglaze blue; details of fish features, including stippling over blue wash on back.
Mark: none.
Condition: tip of tail broken and repaired.

Curatorial Remarks

1.  (L.A. Cort, 13 June 1995) "Historical Region: Annam" added to attribution.

2.  (Louise Cort, 3 May 2004) Many vessels of this shape were found in the "Hoi An Hoard" (the shipwreck—or wrecks?—excavated offshore from Hoi An, near the island Cu Lao Cham and dated late 15th/early 16th century. All were larger than this piece, ranging in length from 7 to 7.8 cm. They vary in their decor, but most use the stippling also seen on this piece. Butterfields 2000, nos. 1764 (lot of 20), 1765 (lot of 10), 1766 (lot of 23), 1767 (lot of 25), 1768 (lot of 10), 1769 (lot of 10).

Title changed from "molded vessel in the shape of a blowfish" to "water dropper in the shape of a blowfish." Object name changed from "Vessel" to "water dropper."

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

3.  (Louise Cort, 8 September 2005) Water droppers in the form of "puffer fish" from the Hoi An Hoard were also sold at Butterfields San Francisco, 3–4 December 2000, lots 6303, 6304. They seem somewhat different in form and decoration from this piece.

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

4.(R. Anderson per J. Smith, Oct 12, 2010) Transfer of remark from Provenance Field: "Collected by the donor in Djakarta, Indonesia, in 1958."


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