Asia Society Home Asia Society Home
< previous  4 of 4  
enlarge image map of region
related objects
Sculpture from Burma (Myanmar)
Sculpture from Cambodia
Sculpture from Indonesia
Sculpture from Thailand
Ceramics from Thailand
Ceramics from Vietnam
Duck-Shaped Vessel
Vietnam; 15th century
Stoneware painted with underglaze cobalt blue
H. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); L. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
This charming duck-shaped vessel attests to the internationalism of Vietnamese ceramics during the 15th century. The motif of a single or a pair of mandarin ducks often symbolized marital bliss in China, although duck-shaped vessels were not common in Chinese ceramics. The impetus behind the development of this piece may have come from the Indonesian tradition of the kendi, a container originally used for pouring libations in Buddhist ceremonies. Kendi are generally distinguished by their spherical bodies and by the use of the neck as a handle as well as 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. 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 suspend the vessel, lugs are not found on kendi, suggesting that this vessel was intended for secular rather than ritual use.
Home |  South Asia |  Himalaya |  Southeast Asia |  China & Mongolia |  Korea |  Japan
Treasures |  Guided Tour |  Timeline |  Search
About the Asia Society | The Rockefellers and the Asia Society | Site Map
Credits | ©Copyright 2007 Asia Society