• Stoneware with ivory glaze; iron wash on base
  • 10.6 x 14.6 cm
  • 14th century, Tran dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Purchase — funds provided by the Docents of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
  • F1998.12


1. (Stephen P. Koob, 10 February 1998) Round bowl, with almost straight sides, tapering slightly to a simple, sharply cut ring base. Glazed inside and out with a creamy white-green glaze. The base appears to have been cut down after firing, resulting in the loss of chips and glaze around the edges. The base is unglazed and the recessed center has a small amount of an orange-brown wash. The shape of the bowl is slightly irregular, and the mouth is slightly oval or elliptical. Gray-white stoneware.

2. (Louise A. Cort, 3 March 1998) A concave curve appears at the base of this deep, cylindrical beaker-shaped bowl with cool, grayish-ivory glaze. The undecorated surface is enlivened by considerable temperature differentiation between glossy "front" and matte "back," as well as irregular glaze flows. Similar shapes occur with underglaze-iron decoration and are dated 14th century (Stevenson and Guy 1997, p; 37, fig. 14). Inside a narrow, carved footrim is a pale swirl of iron pigment, related to the unexplained "chocolate bases" of many 14th century and later Vietnamese ceramics. Five small spur marks appear in the bottom.

Published References

1. Lawton, Thomas, and Thomas W. Lentz. 1988. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 212–213.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 3 March 1998) These five vessels (F1998.10–14) were made at workshops in the Red River Delta ceramics complex of northern Vietnam and their dates span the 12th through 14th centuries, during the Ly (1009–1225) and Tran (1225–1400) dynasties. They represent the sensitive, subtle forms of wares glazed with ivory or celadon-colored glazes that are viewed by many connoisseurs as the finest products of Vietnamese kilns (Stevenson and Guy eds. 1997, 23). These wares, made prior to Vietnam's active engagement in international trade from the mid-14th century onward, which resulted in the deposition of Vietnamese ceramics in Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, are said to embody indigenous taste more explicitly than the blue-and-white ceramics that were the main trade cargo. Presumably the customers for such ceramics were local rulers, nobles, and temples.

Stevenson, John, and John Guy, eds. 1997. Vietnamese Ceramics, A Separate Tradition. Chicago: Art Media Resources.

2. (R. Anderson per J. Smith, Oct. 29, 2010) transfer of remark from Provenance Field: "1. (Louise Cort, 19 December 1997) The Chao Phraya proprietors explained that this came from the collection of an Australian ambassador to Vietnam around 1982."

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