Vietnamese ceramics


Vietnames ceramic dish

Vietnames ceramic dish

When daughter No 2 was back in England over Christmas we spent a happy afternoon unpacking a trunk and taking an inventory of pottery brought back from Vietnam over the last couple of years.  The photos give just a few examples of shapes are sizes  but these are mainly smaller items to be given as little presents (daughter No 1 has some bigger pieces including a covetable large platter in coral and green). They all looked rather splendid grouped together (shown on some Thai batik) and I thought they’d make a nice short post.

Vietnamese blue and white ceramics

Vietnamese blue and white ceramics

Like Vietnamese textiles, the ceramics are of  Chinese origin.  The technique came to Vietnam during the Tran dynasty  (1225-1400) and over the centuries a distinctive Vietnamese style has evolved. The blue is not so bright as the Chinese blue and it has a good deal of grey about it; the porcelain itself is off white and together these give the pieces a characteristic slightly flat, dampened down appearance.  I think the pottery pictured in the blog (brought back by daughter No 2) is stoneware not porcelain but it too has a similar muted look. The hand painting is characterised by elegant  sweeping brush strokes of a calligraphic dexterity and these lie flatter to the body of the vessels than the sharp thicker lines often seen in similar Chinese decoration. The pottery shown here is decorated with chrysanthemums and coiled tendrils but other designs include dragons and dragonflies.

Vietnamese ceramics: coral and green hand painting

Vietnamese ceramics: coral and green hand painting

We are especially taken with the coral and green version which is not quite so bright as it looks in the photos but which is apparently not so easy to find. I think the blue decoration is a cobalt based glaze over which a clear glaze is added before the final firing – a decoration known as underglaze blue. I can find no information about the glaze or pigment used for the coral and green pottery and hope that I may be able to set daughter No 2 to ask some relevant questions when she buys more pottery

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  1. Breanne
    Posted April 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Do you have any information on where the second set could be found? Name of town picked up in, type of dish, etc.?

    My cousin brought me back a pho set of this exact pattern, and movers recently shattered the spoon. I am crushed! Any information on where I can fine a replacement would be so helpful. Thank you!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 29, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry but I can’t help you.
      My daughter brings the pottery back from Vietnam where she lives and works. I know she has said that the pottery decorated in coral (rather than blue) is not so easy to find. It is very pretty and I’m surprised no one has yet imported it commercially – perhaps that will happen.

  2. Edmund Lee
    Posted January 18, 2021 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I like those ceramic pottery very much, can you tell me where I can purchase those?

    • Mary Addison
      Posted January 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Edmund, all the pottery was bought in Vietnam when my daughter lived there. I have no idea whether it has been exported and is available outside the country. Sorry not to be more helpful.

      • Sarah
        Posted January 23, 2021 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        I have a lot of this collection from when I travelled to Hoi An in 2005. It’s beautiful!

        • Mary Addison
          Posted January 24, 2021 at 12:22 am | Permalink

          We love it too – and we loved Hoi An. We also bought quite a few hand painted ginger jars and vases from HCMC which are a constant source of pleasure.
          It’s strange that you don’t see more of Vietnamese pottery in the UK.

  3. Selina Prager
    Posted October 23, 2023 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I know you have already answered the question but I had two of the red and white bowls until someone dropped one. They were a gift from my mother and I am desperate to find a replacement. Would you know where I could start looking?
    Thank you in advance for you help.

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