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

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Jar with lid

  • Stoneware with white slip and cobalt pigment under clear glaze
  • 24.1 x 22.6 cm
  • 19th-20th century, Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Cholon, Ho Chi Minh City, Southern Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.105a-b


Jar of globular form with a knob on a dome-shaped lid, short carved footring and deep recessed base.
Clay: grey stoneware.
Glaze: white slip covering lid and body, including inside of lid and base; clear glaze with yellowish tinge (similar to raw egg white), crazed, glossy; flange of the lid, mouthrim and footrim of the jar unglazed.
Decoration: painted in underglaze blue with a tiger, bamboo plant, and rock on one side of the body, a dragon enclosed by a notched rectangular panel on the other side, separated by a five-character Chinese inscription "wan fu cong lai ji" (ten thousand blessings come from everywhere). Tendrils and rosette-type flower on lid and shoulder of the jar.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise 1. (Louise Cort, 6 August 2003) A jar of related shape, made at a kiln in northern Vietnam and dated by context to the 17th century, is in the collection of the Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya, having entered the collection of the Owari Tokugawa ruling house in the 17th century as a tea ceremony utensil (Stephenson and Guy 1997, 72, fig. 7).

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

2. (Louise Cort, 22 August 2003) A pair of Vietnamese jars in the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi, are dated to the Gia Long reign (1802–1819). They have high domed lids with lion-dog finials and are decorated in cobalt with designs of birds, bamboo, and blossoming plum.

3. (Louise Cort, 5 November 2003) A large bowl attributed to Bat Trang, in the collection of the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi, is painted in cobalt of an intense blue tone with a bamboo design and inscribed on the side with a seven-character Nom poem (in Chinese characters). On the base it bears a four-character mark "Made under Quang Trung reign" (1788–1792) (Trí and Nguyen-Long 2001, no. 329).

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).

4. (Louise Cort, 13 January 2007) On basis of above information, changed Date from 17th–18th century to 18th–19th century.

5. (Louise Cort, 24 May 2007) On view on the third floor of the Fine Arts Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, were cobalt-decorated jars that reminded me of this one, raising the possibility that this jar is a product of a Saigon-area kiln rather than Bat Trang in the north.

6. (Louise Cort, 12 May 2014) Archaeologists Yajima Ritsuko, Abe Yuriko, Morimoto Asako, Suzuki Yuko, and Nakano Mitsumasa agreed with my hypothesis that this jar comes from a kiln in southern Vietnam. They noted the use of white slip over the clay body. The strong blue color of the pigment may indicate chemical rather than natural cobalt. It is not of Chinese manufacture, but it may well be a product of a kiln of Chinese lineage in the Cholon area. They proposed a date of 19th-20th century. The Chinese kilns now decorate with transfers, but this is hand painted. The tiger has strange dragon-like claws.

Changed Period from Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty to Nguyen dynasty. Changed Date from 18th-19th century to 19th-20th century. Changed Origin from Northern Vietnam, Hanoi province, Gia Lam district, Bat Trang, Bat Trang kilns to Southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Cholon.

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