Trần Dynasty Ivory Glazed Bowl with the Chinese Character “Clean” Design


A bowl crafted during the Trần dynasty in Đại Việt (current northern Vietnam). Adorned with an incised pattern and featuring an inward lip, the vessel is glazed on the sides of the bottom. The glaze, made from wood ash containing 2% iron, lends it a distinctive cloudy hue, referred to as ivory glaze.

It is presumed that this bowl was made for use in rituals and tea ceremonies, as evidenced by the incised character “清” (sảnh, thanh in Han-Viet), meaning clean or clear, on the front—a rarity among pieces of its time, which typically feature floral or mythical creature motifs. The exterior is embellished with lotus petals, reflecting the beliefs and customs of the era.

Despite a small dent on the bottom, the bowl is in excellent condition, with only natural kiln alterations, such as unglazed spots and kiln grits, detracting minimally from its overall appeal.

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