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

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Bowl with inverted rim

  • Stoneware with ivory glaze
  • 8.6 x 18.8 cm
  • 13th-14th century, Ly or Tran dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Vietnam
  • Purchase — funds provided by Betty and John R. Menke
  • F1998.14


Round bowl, with an almost flat bottom, carinated shoulder and inturned rim. Creamy yellow-white-gray glaze over a gray-brown stoneware.

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. 

Strikingly elegant is the simple form of this undecorated ivory-glazed bowl; the concave curve of the inverted rim subtly counterbalances that of the base, separated by the flat, everted wall. The base has a wide, flat rim with recessed center; the bottom bears four small seed-shaped spur marks. Related pieces with incised decoration (Stevenson and Guy eds. 1997, nos. 126–28, 136–38) are dated 13th–14th century.

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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