Dragons and Lotus Blossoms

Vietnamese Ceramics from the Birmingham Museum of Art

John A. Stevenson and Donald A. Wood
With Philippe Truong

  • $45.00s paperback (9780295991627) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2011
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / Southeast Asia; Art History / Asian Art
  • Bibliographic information: 320 pp., 333 color illus., 8.5 x 10 in.
  • Published with: Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Contents

Vietnam created the most sophisticated ceramics in Southeast Asia. Though they borrowed from China, Vietnamese potters explored their own indigenous tastes and developed their own production techniques. Blessed with the smooth gray-white clays of the Red River Valley, they created pieces that are amazingly light and thin-walled, with skillfully painted, incised, and carved decoration. Two particularly popular decorative themes were dragons (from whom the Vietnamese believed they were descended) and lotuses (considered archetypal symbols of Buddhist purity, because the flower emerges unsullied from the mud).

Through a series of judicious purchases that began in the 1970s, the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, has created an extraordinary collection of Vietnamese ceramic art. Essays by three noted experts introduce the collection.
John Stevenson , co-author of Vietnamese Ceramics: A Separate Tradition, describes the evolution of Vietnamese ceramics and the contexts in which they were produced, and analyzes their aesthetic attraction. The Museum's senior curator, Donald A. Wood , explains the rich symbolism of decorative motifs found on Vietnamese ceramics. Independent scholar Philippe Truong , of Paris and Saigon, assesses the current state of the field.

"It is a splendid collection of Vietnamese ceramics and a delightful catalogue for ceramic enthusiasts, indispensable for collectors and researchers of Southeast Asian ceramics alike."
-Brigitte Borell, IIAS Newsletter, Spring 2013

"Beautifully produced and a valuable addition to the study of Vietnamese ceramics."
-Ann Proctor, Asian Studies Review