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Bảo tàng lịch sử Quốc gia

Vietnam National Museum of History

26/05/2015 16:02 2131
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The final furnace of the brown yellow glazed earthenware in Hai Duong province (North Vietnam) died at the end of 14th century but revived by early 16th century in two other places or Phu Lang commune (Bac Ninh province) and Tho Ha commune (Bac Giang).

According to scholars, Phu Lang ceramic appeared by early 14th century in Tran dynasty from a village called Phuc Khe. However, the name Phu Lang was only known about by 15th-16th century in Le dynasty. Among earthenware villages in the Red Delta region, Phu Lang was the only one that produced the glazed products.

Plate of incense burner with decoration of four sacred animals, Phu Lang brown yellow glazed earthenware

Phu Lang village borders Cau river into 3 directions, East, North and West; 4km to the South is Luc Dau Giang river and 10 km far away Bac Ninh town. This geography is very convenient for transportation and trading products, especially the waterway.

The appearance of earthenware was an advance to terracotta. Earthenware has more advantages as it is more durable, tough and has a rough bone and can be made in big size. It was an important step in the pottery technique of Vietnamese craftsmen. Thus, it met the social demand and used broadly in daily life.

The material to make Phu Lang earthenware is red clay, very fine and plastic. It can be fired in high temperature, from 10000C-12000C. Basically, Phu Lang earthenware is decorated by glaze as mainly. The brown yellow enamel can be called "eel- skin". The eel-skin glaze is ash glaze type including rice ash, mud and rock dust. This type of ash made the glaze from yellow to brown or dark brown as the skin of the eel.

The Phu Lang pottery usually used the embossment technique but sometimes stuck to molded objects for decoration. Main products include worshiping items (incense burner, censer, vase...), house ware (basin, vessel, urns and jars...). Fine arts pottery has a variety of statues. Architectural pottery includes dragon statue, phoenix figurine, bodhi-leaf on ridge tile and on globular tile... Shape of Phu Lang earthenware is raw and rough. Decorative subject of Phu Lang pottery include: four sacred animals, dragon, phoenix, fire-clouds, lotus, bodhi-leaf... and character longevity on the worshipping items.

Now, we would like to introduce some collections of brown yellow glazed earthenware hold by Vietnam National Museum of History:

1. Incense burner

LSb. 17253

Size: 39,5cm (H); 19, 5cm (dia)

Date: Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th – 18th century

Rectangular mouth, body in three parts, four zoomorphic legs, relief decoration with dragons, Nghe, egret and clouds on body, embossed lotus petals, geomatric and floral patterns on base. Brown yellow glazed.

2. Incense burner

Gmk: 3601

Size: 44,3cm (H); 14cm (dia)

Date: Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th – 18th century

Rectangular mouth, body consisting of three section, four zoomorphic legs, relief decoration with four Nghe, lotus flower, the character longevity on body. Embossed lotus petals and dragon head on base. Brown yellow glazed.

3. Lidded censer

LSb.17255

Size: 35,5 (H); 15,2 cm (dia)

Date: Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th- 18th century

Lid with Nghe knob censer with bulbous body, high ring-foot, two curved handles, embossed bodhi-leaf band and the character longevity on body. Brown yellow glazed.

4. Vase

LSb.17273

Size: 48,5cm (H); 10,8cm (dia)

Date: Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th- 18th century

Flattened rim, cylindrical neck, ovoid body, flat unglazed botton, keyfrets band carved on neck, molded bodhi-leaf band applied on shoulder, four sacred animals, flowers and waves on body. Brown yellow glazed.

5. Statue of Nghe

LSb.13575

Date: Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th - 18th century

Nghe crouching on a rectangular slab, decorated in relief with fire-clouds. Brown yellow glazed.

6. Statue of Nghe

LSb.13576

Height: 19,5cm

Lê Trung Hưng dynasty, 17th-18th century

Nghe crouching on a rectangular slab, decorated in relief with fire-clouds, brown yellow glazed.

The existence of Phu Lang pottery was an evidence of the prosperity and development of Vietnamese ceramic in a long history. It has gone through history and overcome challenges of market competition to exist and develop till now. At present, Phu Lang earthenware has a broad market across Vietnam and exported to overseas. The traditional products are developed together with modern ones to meet the market demand and create a stable and long term future for Phu Lang pottery. Obviously, it appears as the best collection of ceramic in museums, in religious architectural buildings and also private collections.

Đinh Phương Châm (Collection Management Dept)

EN: Tran Trang

VNMH

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The grey-blue ceramic - a special ceramic of Mac Dynasty (16th century) preserved in Vietnam National Museum of History

The grey-blue ceramic - a special ceramic of Mac Dynasty (16th century) preserved in Vietnam National Museum of History

  • 20/04/2015 13:26
  • 2094

Mac dynasty (1527-1593) lasted for a short time but leaving impressive records in many aspects: economy, military, education and foreign affairs. Mac dynasty took Confucianism as its official ideology but did not restrict other ones. Thus, Buddhism and Taoism and folk rituals were recovered. Together with the growing up of the architectural buildings, the traditional villages specialized at producing ritual and worshipping items (lamp stand, incense burner...) were developed. The most famous worshipping collection was the grey-blue glazed one of Dang Huyen Thong - a craftsman who is said to be the father of Chu Dau ceramic (Hai Duong village).