Jar with moulded panels painted with different forms of the lotus flower. Decorated in underglaze blue. Red River Delta, northern Vietnam, 1450-1480, stoneware. Height: 16.5 centimetres. Diameter: 22.5 centimetres. Purchased from Bluett & Sons. 1928,1016.1. British Museum © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Although they were never shipped to Europe on the grand scale of Chinese porcelain, from the 16th century rare Vietnamese blue-and-white reached the collections of the royal houses of Europe. This jar testifies to the high regard Vietnamese ceramics were held in 16th century Europe. A similar jar to this British Museum example was presented in 1590 by the Grand Duke Ferdinando Medici of Tuscany to Prince Christian I Elector of Saxony ( r. 1586-1591). It was part of a gift of 16 ceramics all the others are Chinese. Eight ceramics from this gift survive, including the Vietnamese piece, in the Dresden Porcelain collection. This jar is listed in the Dresden inventory as “an octagonal porcelain bowl on the inside painted with white and on the outside with blue leaves”.