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

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  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 21 x 18 cm
  • 19th-20th century, Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Northern or Central Vietnam
  • Provenance: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.139

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2005) According to archaeologist and ceramic specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, this jar is Vietnamese. The clay is like that used in the tall cylindrical vessels imported to Japan (Sakai and elsewhere) and known as kiridame (see S2005.134 and 135). The production site for those vessels has been identified as the My Xuyen-Phuoc Tich kilns, north of Hoi An, in central Vietnam.

2. (Louise Cort, 20 January 2006) A brown unglazed jar of similar form was in use for holding tea leaves in the headman's house of a village of ethnic Tai and Viet (Kinh) in Bac Thai province, northern Vietnam, when I visited in 1990 (Cort 1994, 54, fig. 14). It is more likely, however, that a jar of this sort made in central Vietnam would have reached the market in Saigon when the Hauges were there.

Cort, Louise Allison. 1994. "In Search of Ceramics in Vietnam." Asian Art and Culture VII(1): 44–61.

3. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) According to Dr. Luu Hung and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong Mai, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, this jar was made by ethnic Viet (Kinh) potters. Jars of this kind were made in Phu Lang, Bac Ninh province, and at kilns in the Red River delta. Dr. Hung remembers from his childhood in the country northwest of Hanoi that his mother used jars like this to store sesame seed and black, white, and green beans kept for use as seed. The jar full of dried beans would be sealed by filling the rest of the jar with ash (to keep out insects), then plugging the mouth with a piece of dried banana leaf. Every family owned jars like this. Dr. Hung's family owned five, six, or seven of various sizes. They were not used in cities, only in the countryside. Unlike the Tai (see note 2), Viet people did not use these jars to store tea, since they prepared tea with fresh green tea leaves rather than dried leaves. The leaves were picked fresh daily or bought cheaply in the local market. The Vietnamese name for the jar shape is ‘hu’ or ‘vo’. 

In Origin changed Central Vietnam to Northern or Central Vietnam. To Date added 19th–20th century.

4. (Louise Cort, 22 Dec 2014) According to archaeologists Kikuchi Sei'ichi and Abe Yuriko, this jar could well be a product of the Phuoc Tich kilns. The nearby My Xuyen kilns began production in the 16th century, expanded in the 17th century to Phuoc Tich, and ceased production at the end of the 17th century or into the 18th century.

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