Beaker with incised leaf scroll pattern, Annam, Vietnam, 16th century

Beaker with incised leaf scroll pattern, Annam; Kiln Unknown, Vietnam, 16th century, stoneware with yellow green glaze, 4 5/8 in. x 5 13/16 in. x 5 13/16 in. ( 11.7 cm x 14.7 cm x 14.7 cm ). Gift of Helmut Stern, 1991/1.95,University of Michigan Museum of Art. ©2018-2021 Regents of the University of Michigan

A finely potted stoneware beaker with a rounded bottom and a lightly incised, freely drawn leaf scroll spreading across the widest part of the body, flanked by incised double horizontal lines, all covered evenly with an yellow green glaze. Four spur markes inside.

These finely potted vessels with monochrome glaze were used locally by monks and officials, as well as exported to southern islands for burial. Vietnamese wares were admired for their fine-grained clays free from impurities and the skill with which they were worked. The advanced kiln technology of firing these fine stonewares, once known only in China, was gradually transmitted to Vietnam and Thailand as the ceramic trade market expanded and potters emigrated. Decorative techniques, such as the mottled green glaze seen here—achieved by applying small dots of wax before glazing—and the motifs of lotus petals and leaf scrolls in the two yellow-green pots, also came from China. The interior spots (called spur marks) in the beaker with leaf scroll pattern are the remnants from clay pads inserted between pots during firing to prevent fusing. The unglazed ring in the green glazed beaker is the result of a clay ring used for the same purpose.