Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

3.02.2011

Clouding the Issue

 [Dish with Recumbent Elephant Surrounded by Clouds, Vietnam, 15th–16th century,
Stoneware with underglaze cobalt-blue decoration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.]


Clearly more alert than me last Thursday, Emile de Bruijn noticed what appears to be a blue cloud motif used as the 'roof' of an embroidered pagoda pictured in one of my posts. (He actually commented that the form might also be the auspicious lingzhi fungus motif, but I wanted to run with the cloud idea.) Sifting through pictures of Chinese porcelain, I came across something that made me shift gears --  a very old Vietnamese stoneware dish.

The Met says it's among the finest of the fine, based on Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) blue-and-white pieces, but executed in a thoroughly Vietnamese style with the relaxed elephant and abstracted clouds. I love the Vietnamese interpretation and think it makes a nice follow-up to this post.


BTW: This dish may have been recovered from a shipwreck. For more on "shipwreck china," see these links from a past post: Sultan's Lost Treasure and Sotheby's podcast about the the Ca Mau shipwreck, circa 1725.

6 comments:

meenal @ maison marigold said...

what a coincidence...it's been drizzled all night here in Delhi...and I woke up to an overcast sky....and now this gorgeous stoneware from Vietnam with clouds!! Beautiful! thanks for sharing, Courtney!! xx meenal

Emile de Bruijn said...

I love those Vietnamese blue and white wares - both the blues and the whites tend to be softer than their Chinese or Japanese cousins, and the designs also have a certain mellowness, like this trippy elephant. Japanese tea masters sometimes used these dishes in the tea ceremony, and you can see how they would appeal to wabi aesthetic.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Shipwreck china, so romantic somehow! Charles Deering had just ordered an amazing set of Minton that went down on the titantic and had to be remade. The new set he placed at Vizcaya and is known as the 'titantic china' (even though it never was on the titantic!).

Paul Gervais de Bédée said...

When a work of art truly sings and you sense in unlimited ways that's when you know you're seeing beauty!

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I agree with AD about shipwrecked china... and, the clouds are wonderful, too!

Julie Grant Weiss said...

I was just in Hoi An, Vietnam and enjoyed visiting the Museum of Trade Ceramics. Their pieces aren't in such good shape (mostly shards) but there is a definitive Chinese influence. (The house the museum is in very interesting.) Hoi An was a major trading port and so there were many Chinese families who lived in the town. Hoi An itself is known for it's lovely ceramics. Of course when visiting the shops it's difficult to tell the authentic pieces from the fakes. They had this lovely faded blue coloring as well.