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Mystery woman of the Chu Dau ceramics

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Author Topic: Mystery woman of the Chu Dau ceramics  (Read 190 times)
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« on: October 02, 2007, 01:35:28 am »

A trick of interpretation

On the blue and white vase in Topkapi Saraji Museum, the inscription Bui Thi Hy but, can be translated two ways.

Han-Chinese professor Nguyen Dinh San said it could mean that a female sculptor named Bui (last name) Thi Hy wrote this line or a male sculptor named Bui joyously (hy) wrote this line.

Many archaeologists favour the second theory saying a man likely wrote this line for fun.

In his book entitled Handbook of Vietnamese Ceramics with Inscriptions from the Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries, Nguyen Dinh Chien of the Viet Nam Museum of History listed the 1450 vase in Istanbul as the oldest inscribed Vietnamese ceramic. He also supported the idea that the inscription was made by someone whose last name was Bui. The second oldest ceramic in Chien’s book was from 1576, 116 years younger than the first.

According to Chien’s book, "The blue-and-white vase produced in the eighth year of Dai Hoa reign (1450), is considered to be the most surprising and interesting of 15th century Vietnamese ceramics. From the time it was first made public by Hobson in 1930, this vase has commanded a great deal of attention and always features in projects focused on Vietnamese ceramics.

"It should be mentioned that the long cylindrical neck and squat spherical body are not traditionally Vietnamese. Furthermore, the floral scroll designs on the vase bear a Yuan-Chinese influence. However, the Han-Chinese characters inscribed on the vase’s shoulder clearly show its Vietnamese origin as well as its date of production.

"Due to the lack of documentation, there is still no satisfactory explanation for the absence of inscribed ceramics for over a century after this phenomenon."

Chien, like many other archaeologists, was skeptical about Hoanh’s findings.

"I still believe someone joyously wrote the dateline," he said. "The family annals were copied, so it’s a problematic source." To support his opinion, Chien referred to a wide-mouthed jar dated in 149 AD currently on display at Belgium’s Royal Museum for Art and History in Brussels in the Huet Collection. He argued that inscriptions on ceramics in Viet Nam did not start with the 1450 blue-and-white vase; inscriptions began much earlier. Thus, Chien argued that the jar found in Viet Nam dates from the second century with the inscription of someone by the name of Ly.

Others, who did not have the chance to read the family annals, were also skeptical of Hoanh’s findings, feeling they were too good to be true.

In response, Hoanh referred to one of his teachers who said, "Luck only comes to those who are devoted to it." Hoanh said his findings are up for debate and should be researched further.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 01:37:57 am by Jasmine » Report Spam   Logged

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