Dish

  • Stoneware with white slip and cobalt pigment under clear, colorless glaze; iron wash on base
  • 7 x 36.5 x 36.5 cm
  • late 15th-16th century, Later Le, Mac, or Restored Later Le dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Provenance: Taipei, Taiwan
  • Anonymous gift
  • F1991.55

Description

Large dish with everted rim, upright glazed lip, deep cavetto, wide flat bottom slightly domed in the center, on low, beveled, unglazed footrim.
Clay: greyish-brown stoneware; long firing crack running from rim to center; another short firing crack on rim, two on footrim.
Glaze: transparent ivory-grey tone; possibly a coating of white slip under the glaze. Glaze cut away from upright edge of rim. Some pinholes and fine wear scratches on the surface. Base entirely covered by chocolate-brown slip brushed concentrically, leaving some brush marks.
Decoration: in underglaze cobalt, deep grayish-blue in color, executed with thick brush strokes without outlining, using some fine-lined fill details and some secondary lines on the cavetto vinescroll. In the bottom is a peony spray showing the blossom in profile and "cross-section," rising on a leafy stem and surrounded by three clusters of four-pointed leaves. Enclosing the floral spray is a band demarcated by two pairs of concentric circles, containing ten complete scalloped petals (or waves) and one abbreviated one interspersed with hooked lines, leaning in a counter-clockwise direction. In the cavetto, also bordered above by a pair of concentric circles, five full-face six-petaled flowers alternate with vinescrolls whose stems are attached alternately to the upper or lower edge of the band. On the everted rim is a conventional classic scroll. On the exterior are fourteen lotus panels (and one abbreviated one) enclosing pendant scrolls.
Mark: none

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Kitty Higgins, appraisal, 11 February 1992) Sotheby's New York, December 6, 1989, lots 147, 148, and 149.

2. (E. P. Nguyen, intern, and Louise Cort, 17 September 1996) Robert P. Griffing's study (1976), focusing on a proposed stylistic evolution, dates comparable pieces to the late 14th to mid–15th century.  The relaxed and exuberant rendering of the decoration seen in the Freer dish belongs to his Group III wares, contrasting with the more precisely drawn and shaded pieces seen in earlier and later pieces from groups II and IV, respectively.  The vinescrolls in the cavetto are no longer the spiky lotus type modeled after Yuan pieces. Instead they are flowing curls painted in one bold brush stroke revealing the potter's touch; thick globs of paint where the potter redipped his brush in order to fill the empty spaces with detached curlicues suggest an unhesitating hand.  The leaves surrounding the central floral spray also indicate that a thicker brush was used, allowing single brush strokes to create the form(s).

A comparable dish in Leandro and Cecilia Locsin's Oriental Ceramics Discovered in the Philippines (1967), albeit more freely painted than the Freer piece, nevertheless reveals a stylistic connection. The decoration is painted in the thick brushstroke style and the composition is modeled after a similar prototype.  In the cavetto, hints of the spiky lotus type are slightly retained with the thinner stems and more pointed and extended ends.  The Freer dish, however, has abandoned this type.  According to Griffing's study, this may indicate that the Locsin piece was made at a slightly earlier date: the vestiges of the old forms persist as the potter begins to move away from the Chinese model to experiment with new motifs.  (Does this also indicate that the Freer piece is later in date than the other comparable ones?)  The 15th century date for the Locsin dish, however, only overlaps the latter half of Griffing's dates.

Roxanna M. Brown's study (1988) reverses Griffing's sequence. She dates a dish with a more finely drawn and elaborated version of this suite of motifs to the mid-15th century (as does Griffing), based on the relationship of the drawing to the 1450 bottle in the Topkapi Museum, but she dates a dish with a related design to the sixteenth century and one with a simpler design but related brushwork to "fifteenth to sixteenth centuries."

The dating of Vietnamese blue and white ware is problematic; according to current and reliable scholarship, we are only able to ascribe a late-15th century to 16th century date to this dish.

Change subject from "Plate" to "Large dish" and add "Large dish with everted rim, upright unglazed lip, deep cavetto, wide flat bottom slightly domed in the center, on low, beveled, unglazed footrim" to Description. Change date from 15th–16th century to Late 15th–16th century. Add period, "Le Dynasty."

Griffing, Robert P., Jr. 1976. "Dating Annamese Blue and White." Orientations 7(5): 32–49.

Brown, Roxanna M. 1988. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: Their Dating and Identification. 2nd ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

Locsin, Leandro, and Cecilia Locsin. 1967. Oriental Ceramics discovered in the Philippines. Rutland, VT and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

3. (E. P. Nguyen, intern, and Louise Cort, 17 September 1996) Brown 1988, pl. 16a shows a dish that she dates to the mid-15th century; it bears the same motifs as the Freer dish but drawn more precisely and elaborately, using a combination of fine lines and wash.  Plate 16c shows a dish somewhat more simplified in execution than the Freer dish, using thick brush strokes without outlines, and dated to the 16th century.  Plate 16d shows a small dish with simpler design but related brushwork. Griffing 1976, fig. 15 displays a similar dish that is dated from the late 14th to mid-fifteenth century. Hubert and Monsel 1995, top left, page 33, is a similar dish (with similar back and base) dated to the 15th century. Locsin and Locsin 1967, fig. 147 displays a similar dish that is dated to the 15th century.

Brown, Roxanna M. 1988. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: Their Dating and Identification. 2nd ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

Griffing, Robert P., Jr. 1976. "Dating Annamese Blue and White." Orientations 7(5): 32–49.

Hubert, Jean-François, and Philippe Monsel. 1995. Le Viêt Nam des royaumes. Paris: Editions cercle d'art.

Leandro, and Cecilia Locsin. 1967. Oriental Ceramics discovered in the Philippines. Rutland, VT and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

4. (Louise Cort, 3 Feb 2015) Transfer from the Provenance field: Acquired by the donor in Taipei, ca. 1956-58.


field notes

Submit Comment 0 comments total
 

No field notes found.

main image

View larger image [994KB] > >

sample thumbnailsample thumbnailsample thumbnailsample thumbnailsample thumbnailsample thumbnail

Click to view alternate images