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Bảo tàng lịch sử Quốc gia

Vietnam National Museum of History

08/12/2013 22:55 1550
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The cobalt blue pattern ceramic jar with swan decoration belonged to the ceramics in white glazed and cobalt blue pattern type, normally called “cobalt blue pattern ceramics” is now one of Vietnam National Treasure objects preserved in VNMH.

The Vietnamese cobalt blue pattern ceramics appeared in the 14th century under Tran dynasty and increasingly developed so far. Especially, it was so flowered that could serve for both local and export demand in the 15th century. It can be found in many foreign countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine, Singapore, Japan and Middle East. The most noteworthy one is a cobalt blue pattern jar, which is being preserved and exhibited in Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, Turkey now. The jar is blue glazed and has an inscription writing the name of the craftswoman or Bui Thi Hy, made in the 8th year of Dai Hoa, Le Nhan Tong King’s empire, 1450.

The cobalt blue pattern ceramic jar with swan decoration was found as one and unique in the Cu Lao Cham shipwreck excavated in 1999 – 2000 (Quang Nam province), now preserved and displayed in the VNMH.

Cobalt blue and white ceramic jar with swan decoration - VNMH, National Treasure

The quantity of excavated objects in Cu Lao Cham shipwreck is a great number of 240,000, except thousands of broken pieces and objects in original forms that had been taken before the official archaeological excavation. The objects, which were found to be Champa, China and Thailand ceramics, are said to be the stuff belonged to crew. The others are ceramic wares made in Hai Duong and Thang Long (Red Delta).

The date of the ship has been discussed also. Most of Vietnamese researchers said it should be in the middle to the end of 15th century, during the preliminary Le dynasty but it is said to be the end of 15th century and early 16th century according to Butterfiels.

It is said that the ceramic objects belonged to Cu Lao Cham shipwreck reflects the strong development of shipped ceramics in terms of designs, glazes and patterns and it contributes significantly to the special tradition of Vietnam ceramics.

Regarding to the type of ceramics, it found that except for some few used for religious purpose including incenses, kendis (vessels), the majority is used for households, such as containers and dining wares. Many were made in traditional forms including the sphere tureen, cups, boxes, jars etc…, and some were made in modern shape like the kindis in forms of dragon, phoenix, animal, peach, vases and ewers in yuhuchun, stem cups and jars with apricot patterns, boxes in fish and crap shapes. Some designs were affected by Yuan and Ming (China) ceramics.

Decorations on Cu Lao Cham Ceramics make impression on ones in the cobalt blue patterns and various colors done in the second time of burning, they can be found in dishes, bowls, kendis, yuhuchun bottles, peach - shaped cups, human statues, boxes… Vietnamese cobalt blue pattern ceramics under 15th century was very famous for its two methods of painting, one is detailing and fragile, another is outline and bold.

Decorations of cobalt blue pattern also go along with gold-tone decorations. It can be found in Cu Lao Cham ceramics, Chu Dau, Thang Long and Lam Kinh (Thanh Hoa). Certainly, Cu Lao Cham shipwreck ceramics that made so much surprise to local and international public will be discussed and studied further.

Come back to the cobalt blue pattern ceramic jar with swans design. It is in big size of 56.5cm height and 23,8cm diameter. The jar is shaped in lotus bulb, round lip. Its body is tapered to its bottom and decorated in 7 patterns including flowers, lotus petals, cloud veins, trees, tide, scenery and bodhi leaves alternated with 4 swans flying or standing. Such swans in different actions together with scenery of bamboo, trees represent for Vietnamese countryside’s characteristics, while this decoration cannot be found in ceramics from China or Japan.

The decoration of swans in 4 kinds of actions

Except one idea (Dr. Bui Minh Tri - Royal Study Center) saying that this jar comes from Thang Long ceramics village, people said its place of origin is Chu Dau ceramics. Chu Dau ceramics village (Thai Tan commune, Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province) is the biggest ceramics production complex in Vietnam appeared in 14th century and flowered in 15th - 16th century. It has produced high quality ceramics, arts ceramics for worship, domestic usages and for export. It is a combination of technique in Chu Dau ceramics in terms of embossment, carving, coloring and gold-tone decorating. The glaze can be brown, celadon, white or golden.

The jar by its decoration entities has shown not only the independence of Vietnamese workers from Chinese classical art, but also the creativity, folk and soul of Vietnamese countryside, especially the Red Delta. Thus, it deserves to be the masterpiece and typical for Vietnamese ceramics in 15th century.

The jar has been displayed in many exhibitions locally and internationally. It has been recognized as National Treasure by Prime Minister.

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Chien - Deputy Director of VNMH

English: Tran Trang

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Need to be saved the lacquered wood collection in Thanh Den grave

Need to be saved the lacquered wood collection in Thanh Den grave

  • 12/11/2009 09:34
  • 2323

The Editors: Thanh Den grave was excavated “extinguish fire” on October 10th 2009. There are many burial things in the grave, the wooden objects are the most interested: the coffin in boat shaped, the wooden outside covering of coffin and about 20 lacquered wood works what have cultural, historical values. Hai Phong Museum conserved initially, but still have many problems set up for conservation task, then the former lessons paid a heavy price. .