Lam Dong ancient land with commercial ceramic roads

Convergence of ceramic lines

Through excavations at burial archeological sites of Dai Lang, Dai Lao and Da Don.., Lam Dong Museum – Da Lat is currently keeping massive collections of ceramics with more than 3,000 objects of various types of ceramics and porcelains that attracting a lot tourists, not to mention over 400 antiques of all kinds collected by Lam Dong Museum from various sources of dealers. And there may be many other relics that were not detected yet or permanently destroyed, probably these losses account for a large amount…

In the above-mentioned collections, ceramics and porcelains came from different sources.  The majority of them have originated from the ceramic & porcelain center in central Viet Nam(Go Sanh, Binh Dinh),  which flourished in the 15-16th centuries.  The products from this ceramic&  porcelain center have come to various areas in the region.  On Lam Dong land, ceramics originated from central Viet Nam center,  accounting for about 70%  of the total products,  with various types such as large bowls,  small bowls,  cups,  jars,  vases…  Decorative patterns have main themes of flowers and leaves, especially climbing flowers.

Ceramics at Lam Dong museum

Ceramics at Lam Dong museum

Next is Ming ceramic(China),  15-16th centuries. Most of them are gem enamel,  indigo-blue ceramics,  Bach Dinh and Tam Thai…  that include types of plates,  bowls,  flower vases,  jars These products were made from famous Chinese pottery kilns such as Canh Duc Tran,  Long Tuyen (Triet Giang),  Tuyen Chau (Phuc Kien).  Additionally,  there are types of civil ceramics such as bowls,  small jars manufactured from local kilns of Southern China On these ceramic products there are all kinds of patterns with such themes as “Flower – bird”;  or “lotus – duck”  Lion playing with globe carp”.  Ceramics from this source account for 20%  of all collections.  A less ratio,  of about 10%,  are ceramics originating from North Viet Nam Centers,  such as Chu Dau (Hai Hung),  dating back to the 15-16th centuries:  Kh’mer ceramic from the 12-13th centuries and Thai ceramic From Sukhothai,  Savankhalok ceramic kilns),  from the 16-17th centuries; particularly the Hizen ceramic (Imari,  Japan),  from mid-17th century.

Chu Dau was a powerfully-developed ceramic center in the 15-16 Centuries,  and was a prestigious commercial section on Asian market.  In Lam Dong ceramic collection, this ceramic line includes types of spout teapots,  various types of bowls,  slender – waisted bowls,  lotus – shaped decorative plates…

Kh’mer ceramics in Lam Dong are mainly types of small and large jars with brownish enamel, and engraved patterns of waves or leaf veins. Kh’mer ceramic probably arrived in Lam Dong very early,  due to people’s preferences and also convenient traffic.

Ceramics exhibition at Lam Dong museum - Da Lat city

Ceramics exhibition at Lam Dong museum – Da Lat city

Thai ceramics thrived during Sukhothai period and involved in the export markets of Japan,  the Philippines,  Middle east,  China,… Thai ceramics in Lam Dong include types of bowls,  dishes produced from Savankhalok and Sukhothai kilns.  Patterns are engraved beneath enamel, consisting of concentric circles or lotus-shaped patterns.

Hizen ceramics thived at the beginning of the 17th century and quickly occupied a very important market share in southeast Asia such as Viet Nam Indonesia…  Types of Thailand,  the Philippines,  bowls,  plates dated from 1620-1650 are discovered in Lam Dong.

The commercial ceramic road on Lam Dong land

The presence of full range of ceramic types from well-known ceramic centers has shown that Lam Dong is a strongly attractive spot of ceramics and an important market share on the commercial ceramic road in Asia.

It can be said that,  a commercial network was closely set up to connect the lowland and mountainous areas and the commodity-exporting economy thived on this land in the 15-18th centuries. According to P.D.  Associate Professor Bui Chi Hoang,  probably North Viet Nam ceramic,  Chinese ceramic,  Hizen ceramic arrived in Lam Dong during the 15-16th centuries via East Sea route through Hoi An trading port (Quang Nam),  Nuoc Man (Quy Nhon)  together with ceramics from central ceramic center (Go Sanh,  Binh Dinh),  then by road to Lam Dong thanks to the transfer of Champa traders.

As for Kh’mer,  Thai ceramics,  they could go downstream of Mekong river,  and upstream to Dong Nai river to reach Lam Dong.  It is clear that in the development stage of ceramics,  the commercial ceramic road seemed to be expanded and Lam Dong becomes an extremely important road.  Lam Dong land can be considered a vibrant area of economic activities,  reflecting a community of high level of development in the course of trade between Lam Dong and other regions from the 15 through 19th centuries.

By Thanh Binh


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