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

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  • Stoneware with iron pigment under milky glaze
  • 7.1 x 10 cm
  • 14th century, Tran dynasty
  • Origin: Red River Delta kilns, Hai Duong province, Northern Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.82


Beaker with straight side, carved foot and slightly recessed base. Four spur marks on interior bottom. Two cracks running down from rim.
Clay: ivory white stoneware.
Glaze: milky, translucent, finely crazed, low gloss.
Decoration: painted with iron pigment over white slip, under the glaze, with a band of calligraphic strokes on the exterior upper body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 23, 2003) Underglaze iron decorated bowls with a floral spray on the well were found in the Turiang shipwreck (+/- 1370), which carried approximately 35% Chinese ceramics, 57% Thai wares and only 8% Vietnamese wares. Sukhothai bowls with similar underglaze iron decoration were also recovered (Brown and Sjostrand 2001, color pls. 10, 12).

Brown, Roxanna M., and Sten Sjostrand. 2001. Maritime Archaeology and Shipwreck Ceramics in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Museums and Antiques.

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 23, 2003) A bowl of this type was published in May 2000, 115, pl. 58. It is identified as Tran dynasty, first half of 14th century (h. 8.9 cm, diam.12.2 cm).

May, Jochen. 2000. Hidden Treasures, 2000 Years of Vietnamese Ceramics. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

3. (Louise Cort, 15 January 2007) "Many" fragments of Vietnamese ceramics of this type, with iron pigment decoration, were recovered at the Sukhothai kilns, according to Don Hein (Hein 2001, 249, fig. 95). Hein dates the activity of the Sukhothai kilns as contemporaneous with the Transitional Stoneware period at Si Satchanalai, late 14th–15th century. That would agree well with the arrival of these "new" Vietnamese designs in the Thai market.

Hein, Don. 2001. "The Sawankhalok Ceramic Industry: from Domestic Enterprise to Regional Entrepreneur". PhD Thesis, Department of Science and Technology, Deakin University, Melbourne.

4. (Louise Cort, 26 February 2008) According to Bui Minh Tri, the Vietnamese term for this vessel type, described as a food container with vertical walls, is 'au' (Bui Minh Tri and Nguyen-Long 2001, 107).

Bui Minh Tri, and Kerry Nguyen-Long. 2001. Gom Hoa Lam Viet Nam (Vietnamese Blue and White Ceramics). Hanoi: Nha xuat ban khoa h?c xa hoi (Social sciences publishing house).

5. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) In Washington to deliver the Pope Memorial Lecture, Don Hein confirmed that this was the type of northern Vietnamese dish found at Sukhothai.

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