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An Important Large Vietnamese Brown Jar–15th-17th Cty

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All Items: Antiques:Regional Art:Asian:Southeast Asian:Ceramics: Pre 1800: item # 1127307

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An Important Large Vietnamese Brown Jar–15th-17th Cty
This large storage jar dates from the 15th-17th century and was made in what is now Vietnam. The jar measures a substantial 12” high by 10” diameter at the widest – the top opening is 4” diameter and the unglazed base is 4 ¾” diameter. The jar is quite thick and is glazed in a somewhat mottled dark golden brown glaze with some small glaze drips. At the top shoulder, there are four looped lugs. These would have been used to string strong ropes through and then tie them at the top. Because of the weight of the jars when filled with liquid, they were then probably carried on a pole supported by two carriers. Below two of the lugs there are molded dragons in low relief - well defined. The jar is in remarkably fine condition with one ½” long chip on the top rim, no other cracks or restorations. There are a number of white spots on the bottom of the jar. As nearly as we can figure them out, they appear to be left over remnants of paper upon which the jar might have stood at some time.

In about 1465, potters migrated from Dau Khe in the Haii Duong province and established a new pottery center at Tho Ha, near the village of Bac Ninh, some thirty kilometers northeast of Hanoi. Dau Khe remained the most important provincial pottery center for several centuries. However, the new potteries in Tho Ha soon surpassed all other ceramic centers in the production of jars of unusually large size and circumference that were used for water and brine. (Materials adapted from the book “Southeast Asian Ceramic – Ninth through Seventeenth Centuries” by Dear F. Frasche, The Asia Society, 1976. – see photo # 12 for an example from that book - this one with incised design).

The standard reference book on Vietnamese ceramics is by Stevenson and Guy. In that book on "Vietnamese Ceramics", 1997, Avery Press, plates 316 through 320 show these varying amber glazed jars ranging from the 15th to 17th centuries and plates 322 and 323 a bowl and vase respectively. This large jar most closely resembles fig 371, a "Jar with six dragons modeled in relief forming strap handles on the shoulder, olive brown glaze, lower portion unglazed” that is located at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. That jar was attributed to the 16th-17th century and to have been made in central Vietnam. Even the relief dragon decorations and the dripping glaze are similar to that jar.

This is a fine and rare example of early Vietnamese pottery that belongs in any comprehensive collection of Vietnamese ceramics.

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