• Stoneware with iron pigment under translucent, gray-green glaze
  • 10.8 x 18.6 cm
  • late 13th-14th century, Tran dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Purchase — funds provided by Betty and John R. Menke
  • F1998.13


1. (Stephen P. Koob, 10 February 1998) Large glazed bowl, almost hemispherical in shape, with a small, flat, unglazed ring foot. The bowl is slightly uneven and slopes to one side. Light gray-green glaze inside and out, with floral decoration in a dark green-brown underglaze.

2. (Louise A. Cort, 3 March 1998) This deep bowl with inverted rim bears swiftly-sketched decoration of three floral sprays between to horizontal bands, with additional sprays in the bottom, that is a later version of the "Thanh Hoa"style, with the iron pigment applied before the glaze, which fired to a pale gray-green. Bowls and ewers of this type are dated late 13th-14th century (Stevenson and Guy 1997, nos. 201-203; cover and 155). The bottom bears five triangular spur marks. The flat base is unglazed.

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. (Dr. Jochen May, private collector, Germany, 13 October 1998) The date for this bowl falls within the Tran dynasty (1225–1400) alone.

3. (Louise Cort, 12 February 2002) Changed Ly or Tran dynasty to Tran dynasty (1225–1400).

4. (Louise Cort, 9 March 2008) Fragments with sketchy iron drawing under an ivory-toned glazed were recovered from the Tuc Mac kiln complex, in Loc Voung commune on the outskirts of Nam Dinh, ninety kilometers south of Hanoi (Bùi and Nguyễn-Long 2001, 116–118, 203, fig. 56). This area, the old Thien Truong division, also houses the Con Che kilns (My Thinh commune). Tuc Mac was the homeland of the Tran, and the city is said to have been second only to Thang Long (Hanoi) in importance. A ewer with a related "bamboo leaf" design is dated 14th century (ibid., 242, pl. 1).

A bowl of this type is published by Nishimura as excavated in Hoa Binh province, southwest of Hanoi (Nishimura 2001, 26, fig. 11).

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).

Nishimura Masanari. 2001. "Kinnen no Buetonamu tōji kenkyū—kōkogaku kara no shintenkai [Recent research on Vietnamese ceramics—new developments from archaeology]." Tōsetsu 577: 20–29.

5. (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 bowl came from a collector who had acquired it in Indonesia around 1976."

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