blue and white underglaze decoration, ca. 7th–10th century, dragon and pearl design, floral designs, Giao Chi period, Hu-shaped ewer, Johnson Museum of Art, Lê dynasty, Menke Collection, red and green overglaze enamels, Stoneware, Vietnamese
Vietnamese, Lê Dynasty (1428–1788). Plate with floral designs. Stoneware with blue and white underglaze decoration and red and green overglaze enamels. The Menke Collection. Photo Eric Zetterquist ©2013 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
The history of Vietnamese ceramic traditions reflects the complex history of Vietnam itself. Early on, during a millennium of rule by China, northern Vietnamese potters learned from China’s ceramic technology even as the region incorporated aspects of Chinese culture. With the independent dynasties of Ly (1009–1225) and Tran (1225–1400), experimentation with new forms and approaches expressed a reinvigorated cultural confidence as the Vietnamese expanded their territory southward. Commercial trade with Southeast Asia in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries flourished on the export of blue and white ceramics imbued with uniquely Vietnamese designs and flair. During all of these periods, potters incorporated elements of Vietnam’s interaction with foreign cultures but adapted them in distinctive ways based on available raw materials and their own cultural identity and vitality.
The Menke collection consists of fifty-seven objects ranging in date from the Dong Son Culture (700–43 BC) through the seventeenth century and was assembled over more than forty years by the eminent nuclear physicist John R. Menke (1919–2009). The collection is currently on long-term loan to the Johnson Museum.
This exhibition was curated by Ellen Avril, chief curator and curator of Asian art at the Johnson Museum, and Elizabeth Emrich ’04, PhD student.
Vietnamese, Giao Chi period, ca. 7th–10th century. Hu-shaped ewer with elephant head spout and taotie mask. Stoneware. The Menke Collection. Photo Eric Zetterquist ©2013 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
Vietnamese, Lê Dynasty (1428–1788). Yuhuchun-ping vase with dragon and pearl design. Stoneware with blue and white underglaze decoration. The Menke Collection. Photo Eric Zetterquist ©2013 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University