Vietnamese / Duck-Shaped Vessel / 15th CenturyVietnamese
Duck-Shaped Vessel
15th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Vietnamese
Creator Name-CRT: Vietnamese
Title: Duck-Shaped Vessel
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1400
Creation End Date: 1499
Creation Date: 15th Century
Creation Place: Vietnam
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware painted with underglaze cobalt blue
Dimensions: H. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); L. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.099
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The history of pottery in Southeast Asia reflects complicated relationships among the ceramics of the region's different countries and peoples, as well as with the ceramics of China to the north. This charming duck-shaped vessel attests to the internationalism of Vietnamese traditions during the 15th century. In China, the motif of a single or a pair of mandarin ducks often symbolizes marital bliss; however, duck-shaped vessels were not common in Chinese ceramics. It is possible that the impetus behind the development of this vessel comes from the Indonesian tradition of the kendi, a drinking vessel distinguished by a spherical body and the use of the neck as both a handle and for filling the vessel. Vietnamese potters often modified the kendi by transforming the spout into the head of an animal or fish and painting scales, fins, or feathers on the sides; this appealing vessel belongs to that tradition.

Duck-shaped containers such as this one are often identified as water droppers because of their small spout openings. The four lugs on this vessel are unusual. Perhaps used to secure a cover or to suspend the vessel, lugs of this type are not found on kendi, suggesting that this vessel was intended for secular rather than ritual use.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 47.
Related Document Description: Kuwayama, George. Ceramics of Southeast Asia. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1972, n.p.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.099
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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