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

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Commercial wine bottle

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 16.8 x 12.3 cm
  • Shiwan (Shekwan) ware
  • ca. 1970, Modern period
  • Origin: Shiwan (Shekwan) kilns, Foshan, Guangdong province, China
  • Provenance: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.81

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 24 November 2003) These two bottles (S2005.80 and 81) were part of a large group that Bud and Gratia "collected" while living in Saigon: they bought the bottles for their contents, emptied them, and saved them for the interesting variety of their glazes.

I selected two representative bottles for the Sackler collection. S2005.81 bears a schematic bat design incised into the thin glaze near the base. S2005.80 bears a molded label on the base: "Wing Fung Hung [Eternal Prosperity Company] / Hong Kong" "Federal Law / Forbids Sale or / Reuse of this Bottle." The Hong Kong source suggests that the bottles were probably made in Guangdong province.

2. (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from circa 1972–75 to circa 1970.

3. (Louise Cort, 28 May 2007) The ceramics storeroom of the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa contains ceramics recovered within the province, primarily from the Dong Nai River, especially in the vicinity of Bien Hoa. The collection includes one bottle of this type, somewhat rougher in workmanship and glazing.

4. (Louise Cort, 4 June 2007) A well-worn bottle of this type in the storeroom of the Binh Dinh Provincial Museum, Quy Nhon, bore an inscription incised into the black glaze: two characters reading "wine market" bracketed by (to the right) a two-character cyclical date corresponding to the year 1850, 1910, or 1970, 4th month, and (to the left) 21st day, as well as, below and separated, a two-character name (of a producer?).

5. (Louise Cort, 11 October 2012) Bottles of this type were displayed in the Guangdong Shiwan Ceramics Museum as representative commercial products of the Shiwan kilns. Described as "wujiapi liquor bottles," with or without side spouts, they were made by the Black-glazing Guild.

6. (Louise Cort, 30 November 2015) Bottles of this type were collected as surface finds from Pulau Saigon, a site along the Singapore River used for dumping refuse during the nineteenth century and inhabited until the 1980s (Barry 2000, figure 44 and p. 31). They were identified as Cizao ware from Jinjiang.

Jennifer Barry. 2000. Pulau Saigon: A post-eighteenth century archaeological assemblage recovered from a former island in the Singapore River. Stamford, England: The Rheidol Press.

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