Everything to know about Vietnamese ceramics

There are a few things that the Vietnamese do incredibly well and one of them is making beautifully elaborate works of ceramic.

Ceramics in Vietnam are part of a highly cultural tapestry of handicrafts which also includes embroidery, calligraphy, weaving and painting among many, many others. 

Over the course of the country’s history, Vietnamese ceramics have improved to the point of reaching international standard, gracing rooms across Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond. 

Follow Indochina Sails, one of the most trusted Halong Bay cruise companies, as we take a look at Vietnamese ceramics from their prehistoric beginnings to the present day.

A brief history of Vietnamese ceramics

Given that Vietnam’s infatuation with pottery began in the Bronze Age, it is no wonder than Vietnamese ceramics are now a huge part of the country’s identity. In some handicraft villages in present-day Vietnam, the techniques deployed in the Bronze Age (known as Dong Son in northern Vietnam) have changed little, and Vietnamese ceramics coming from here have a lot to thank their distant ancestors for.

Around the same time in south Vietnam and Borneo, Sa Huynh culture was developing its own pottery style for use in tombs and chests holding the possessions of the recently deceased. Both Sa Huynh and Dong Son cultures across modern-day Vietnam laid the foundations for the country’s deepening obsession with decorative pottery.

Everything to know about Vietnamese ceramics

During the following ten centuries, the Vietnamese ceramics of the time took a much more Chinese approach. This ended in the 11th century when the Ly Dynasty vanquished China, made Thang Long (Hanoi) the capital and inspired a period of great national pride.

Jade-glazed ceramics coming from Hanoi reached international acclaim across East Asia for the next 200 years. The Ly Dynasty was followed by the Tran Dynasty, which continued a legacy of pottery making in northern Vietnam until 1400. The centre of production was moved from Hanoi to Thanh Hoa during this time, and the style of pottery was changed from green glaze to iron brown, but Vietnamese ceramics continued a glorious golden age across the country and the continent. 

Everything to know about Vietnamese ceramics

Vietnamese ambassadors to China brought Chinese techniques back to their homeland during this period, teaching them to villages that would go on to become powerhouses of ceramics in Vietnam. Bat Trang is now internationally famous in ceramic circles, but its history stretches far back to the early 15th century. The village perfected the art of white ceramic, while the nearby villages of Tho Ha and Phu Lang created beautiful red and yellow ceramic respectively.

During this time, Vietnam found a style that it would stick with to the present day. Blue colours on a white background became a style beloved of the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s final imperial family between 1802 and 1945. 

White and blue ceramics taking on a royal tone are now referred to as Bleu de Hué, a highly sought-after style of ceramic that is produced widely today. Bat Trang is most famous for this style and it is hoped that an increase in production from this tiny village will one day be able to rival Chinese and French porcelain as the best ceramic in the world.

Everything to know about Vietnamese ceramics

Where to buy Vietnamese ceramics?

 

Ceramics from Vietnam may be tough to transport home, but this does not stop many international tourists from loading any extra space in their suitcases with handcrafted ceramics from across the country. While ceramic can be bought in the major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, we recommend heading straight to the village source, where your unique souvenirs are more authentic and usually cheaper.

Bat Trang – The majority of people looking for where to buy ceramics in Vietnam will settle on Bat Trang, a tiny village with a big reputation. Bat Trang is located in the outskirts of Hanoi and is one of the biggest centres for ceramics in Vietnam, attracting both casual browsers and serious collectors. Many utensils and decorative ceramics have made it into many homes across Vietnam due to their cheap price and durable quality, found across the ceramic markets of the village and far beyond it.

Phu Lang – Along with Bat Trang, Phu Lang was founded under the Tran Dynasty and has been producing fabulous works of art to this day. The village is located in the province of Bac Ninh, which neighbours Hanoi to the northeast and provides easy access for tourists on a daytrip. Phu Lang established its reputation in the 15th century with yellow ceramics, but now focuses on large jars and pots for household use.

Thanh Ha – This highly picturesque village matches much of the beauty of neighbouring Hoi An and captures a part of the historic port town’s enormous charm. Located on the banks of the Thu Bon River in central Vietnam, Thanh Ha produces red pottery from rustic-looking houses. The large pots and bowls created here are usually for domestic use, but smaller trinkets are also available for visitors looking to buy Vietnamese ceramics in the setting of a gorgeous red-brick village.

Bau Truc – The notable differences in ceramics from Bau Truc are a product of the alternative techniques used in the village. Bau Truc is located in Ninh Thuan province, near to the southern town of Dalat, and its beautiful works of art promote the history of the Cham people, a civilisation that succeeded the pottery-loving Sa Huynh during the Bronze and Iron ages. In Bau Truc, pottery is fired in an open space as opposed to a kiln; a truly ancient approach to Vietnamese ceramics that has yielded gorgeous results across brown jars with Cham motifs.

Bien Hoa – Another village inspired by ancient Cham traditions is Bien Hoa, located in Dong Nai on the fringes of Ho Chi Minh City. The ‘village’ has since bloomed into a full city after reaching international acclaim from places such as Japan, France and Thailand. In many exhibitions throughout the 20th century, Bien Hoa’s terracotta products and copper-speckled glaze completely sold out and the city was inundated with requests for more. Visitors can see both ancient and modern methods in use when shopping for Vietnamese ceramics in Bien Hoa.

Vinh Long – Definitely a contender for the prettiest village to buy Vietnamese ceramics, Vinh Long lies on the banks of the Co Chien River in the expansive Mekong Delta. The ceramic-making part of this town may be hard to find, but those who manage it are rewarded with stunning views of gigantic red-brick kilns and perfectly rounded pottery. Vinh Long is set right into the lush nature of the Mekong Delta and this adds very much to its charm. It is also helped by the beautiful red ceramic that takes the form of many decorative items across the village’s humble workshops.

The Gorgeous Ceramics of Indochine Cruise – The most luxurious cruise ship in Halong Bay and Lanha Bay 

Vietnam’s incredible ceramic tradition finds a home at Indochine Cruise, the newest ship to introduce luxury cruising in Lanha Bay. Our marriage of ancient Vietnamese and colonial French styles naturally led to a focus on ceramics, which feature heavily in the cultural make-up of both countries.

In many communal areas across Indochine Cruise, including the restaurant and the lounge, visitors can find incredible works of Vietnamese ceramics proudly displayed as opulently decorative touches. 

Our lounge, for example, features jars and pots handcrafted in Bat Trang across not just bleu de Hue style, but also more elaborate works of many vibrant colours. These are placed in a central display case to boost the luxury of the cruise as well as ground it in attractive Vietnamese tradition.

In the cabins, passengers will sleep under an eye-catching piece of art completely unique to Indochine Cruise. Each cabin is enhanced by the presence of an incredible lacquer artwork, starting at the head of the bed and spreading across the ceiling in beautiful fashion. 

Each design is completely individual and created by the artisans of Ha Thai, a village 30km south of Hanoi. About 650 families here are professional lacquer painters and have been since the 17th century.

Indochine Cruise - Indochina Sails

Hotline: +84982042426

 Website: https://www.indochinasails.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indochinecruise/

Pier Address: N22, Port 2, Tuan Chau Island, Halong City, QuangNinh Province

Ngọc Minh

 
 

Other News

.
Short tours in favour for National Day
Short tours in favour for National Day
TRAVELicon  01/09/2020 

People nationwide will enjoy a one-day holiday tomorrow to celebrate National Day and safe holidays are the order of the day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reeling Hanoi tourism sector plots recovery
Reeling Hanoi tourism sector plots recovery
TRAVELicon  01/09/2020 

Tran Trung Hieu, deputy director of the Hanoi Tourism Department, talks on his department’s plan to attract tourists to the city in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foreign arrivals to Vietnam down 66 per cent in eight months
Foreign arrivals to Vietnam down 66 per cent in eight months
TRAVELicon  31/08/2020 

In the first eight months of 2020, foreign arrivals into Vietnam reached only 3.8 million, down by 67 per cent compared to the figure of 11.3 million recorded in the same period last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted travel.

Vietnam to reopen air routes to RoK, Japan on September 15
Vietnam to reopen air routes to RoK, Japan on September 15
TRAVELicon  31/08/2020 

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has built a plan to resume international air routes, firstly the ones linking with the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan on September 15.

Vietnam serves nearly 3.8 million international tourists
Vietnam serves nearly 3.8 million international tourists
TRAVELicon  30/08/2020 

Vietnam served nearly 3.8 million international visitors in the first eight months of this year, a decrease of nearly 67% compared to the same period last year.

A trek up Vi Ba Mountain
A trek up Vi Ba Mountain
TRAVELicon  30/08/2020 

Vi Ba Mountain, also known as Lon (Big) Mountain, Vung Tau City, is ideal for trekkers. All along the trek are peaceful views with beaches on one side and cliffs on the other.

Ngo Mon square - historical site of August Revolution
Ngo Mon square - historical site of August Revolution
TRAVELicon  29/08/2020 

The last emperor of the last dynasty of Vietnam, Bao Dai, read to a large crowd an edict of abdication on 30 August, 1945 in front of the Ngo Mon gate in Hue City, Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Lai Chau develops community tourism
Lai Chau develops community tourism
TRAVELicon  30/08/2020 

The northern province of Lai Chau, situated 450km northwest of Hanoi, is not as popular a destination as Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province or Moc Chau in Son La Province. Yet it has a primitive and mysterious beauty that is well worth exploring.

Hanoi specialties during autumn months
Hanoi specialties during autumn months
TRAVELicon  28/08/2020 

While many people arrive in the capital for the purpose of studying or working, plenty decide to spend the rest of their life there just because of Hanoi’s unique specialties that make the city so special during the autumn.

A view into the unique Pa Co brocade market of Son La
A view into the unique Pa Co brocade market of Son La
TRAVELicon  28/08/2020 

Located on the way to Moc Chau district, the Pa Co brocade market in the northern mountainous province of Son La provides tourists with a special experience, with the site only open on Sundays.

The heritage banyan at a sacred temple
The heritage banyan at a sacred temple
TRAVELicon  27/08/2020 

The ancient banyan at the temple dedicated to Tan Vien Son Thanh in Quyt Hamlet, Ba Vi, Hanoi, is the green "treasure" of Doai - the cloud-covered land. It is believed that the tree has witnessed the history of a thousand years.

HCM City devises two scenarios to revive tourism
HCM City devises two scenarios to revive tourism
TRAVELicon  26/08/2020 

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Tourism has mapped out two scenarios to kick-start the tourism market post-COVID-19.

Con Dao from “hell on earth” to “tourist paradise”
Con Dao from “hell on earth” to “tourist paradise”
TRAVELicon  27/08/2020 

Con Dao has been voted one of the best “secret” and most “appealing” islands on earth by Australian Lonely Planet and US Travel and Leisure magazines.

Ren conical hat-making village in Phu Tho
Ren conical hat-making village in Phu Tho
TRAVELicon  29/08/2020 

Nestled on the peaceful Lo River, Ren Village in Gia Thanh Commune, Phu Ninh District, Phu Tho Province, is famous for the traditional craft of conical hat making.

Enjoy the unique black banh mi of Quang Ninh
Enjoy the unique black banh mi of Quang Ninh
TRAVELicon  26/08/2020 

Bread comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. There’s traditional loaves, burger buns, baguettes and of course, banh mi.

Vietnamese food: Squid cakes
Vietnamese food: Squid cakes
TRAVELicon  26/08/2020 

Ha Long Bay is not the only thing famous in Quang Ninh Province as this is also where the most ink-credible squid cakes are made. 

Cu Lao Cham through the lens of Greek adventurer
Cu Lao Cham through the lens of Greek adventurer
TRAVELicon  25/08/2020 

Cu Lao Cham, also known as the Cham islands, is a small archipelago situated off the coast of the central province of Quang Nam. It emerges as a popular destination among adventure lovers due to its pristine and romantic beauty.

Hanoi to provide free Wi-Fi at tourist sites
Hanoi to provide free Wi-Fi at tourist sites
TRAVELicon  24/08/2020 

Hanoi plans to provide free Wi-Fi at all tourist sites in four districts and one town in the city.

Tour guides forced out of work by COVID-19
Tour guides forced out of work by COVID-19
TRAVELicon  24/08/2020 

Vietnam’s tourism market had not fully recovered from the first wave of COVID-19 before the second outbreak then erupted and hit tour guides hard, especially freelance guides. 

Rice noodle specialty from northern port city
Rice noodle specialty from northern port city
TRAVELicon  23/08/2020 

Crab noodle soup is a well-known specialty of the northern port city of Haiphong. Its intriguing flavor will win the heart of food lovers.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN