An image of Dragon ewer

Unknown Artist

Dragon ewer

Not on display
Further information

Associated with the aquatic aspects of creation, dragons are central themes in Vietnamese cosmology and it was believed that fish of great age transformed themselves into dragons capable of flight. The Ly dynasty named its capital Thang Long or ‘rising dragon’. The dragon has a ubiquitous presence on Vietnamese ceramics, where it appears painted in underglaze blue, applied as unglazed relief decoration and, less commonly, in moulded shapes as on this fantastic pouring vessel.

The ewer has been made from a two-piece mould with the parts luted together along a vertical seam with the dragon details realised with spirited brushwork. It was part of the important Hoi An hoard of over 150,000 ceramics, the cargo of a sunken ship found near the historic port of Hoi An near Da Nang in Vietnam and brought to public attention through controlled excavations carried out from 1997 to 1999. Interestingly a similar dragon vessel was documented (in a 1979 Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong catalogue) as having been excavated with a fine gold chain around its neck from a grave on the southern coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1972.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.302.

Place of origin
Hoi An, Viet Nam
mid 15th century
stoneware; moulded, with underglaze blue and white decoration
22.3 x 17.0 x 7.8 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 2000
Accession number