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May 22, 2008

Next Meeting Monday, June 2, 3:00-5:30 pm

Wang Nua fluted celadon dish
This is a Wang Nua fluted celadon dish from Northern Thailand in the "Taking Shape" exhibition in the Sackler Gallery.

The next meeting of the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group will take place on Monday, June 2 from 3:00-5:30 pm in the Sackler Gallery of Art on the National Mall. Dr. Don Hein, the noted Australian ceramic archaeologist, will discuss S.E. Asian ceramics found in Sackler Storage and in the "Taking Shape - Ceramics in Southeast Asia" exhibition. We'll start in Sackler storage at 3:00, then move to the "Taking Shape" exhibition, where this lovely, subtle Wang Nua dish is on display. Attendees should arrive at the Sackler pavilion NLT 2:50 pm. Attendance is limited because of space considerations in Sackler Storage to the first 15 folks to reply to David Rehfuss.

Our June 2 session will follow Dr. Hein's on June 1 presentation at the annual John A. Pope lecture at the Freer where he will discuss his important ceramic archaeological work in north-central Thailand. To be selected to give this annual lecture is a signal honor to individuals who have advanced Asian ceramic studies. After the talk those interested will dine at a Washington Thai restaurant. All of the ceramics in "Taking Shape" can be seen in the Freer-Sackler website. Go to, then collections, then egallery where this image of the Wang Nua dish appears.

The next meeting of the WOCG will be on Wednesday, June 25 in Freer's Meyer Auditorium when potter Louis Katz, who spent time in Thailand working at the stoneware making village Dan Kwian in Northeast Thailand, will discuss his Thai work. Details to follow.

Synopsis of the May 18 WOCG session.

Illustrated by examples from his collection, David Rehfuss discussed Vietnamese ceramics. Vietnam's long tradition of high fired ceramics can be divided into four periods. Ceramics in the first period dating from the 1st to the 10th centuries CE closely followed Chinese ceramic technologies and styles. The classic wares of the Ly and Tran dynasties from the 11th-14th centuries form the second period. The wares reflected the blossoming of Northern Vietnamese art and culture after gaining independence from China at the beginning of the 11th century. In these four centuries beautiful and at times unique stonewares were produced with monochrome glazes of white, brown, straw and green and the wonderful inlaid-brown pots decorated with animals, warriors and floral designs. The blue and white export wares from the Hanoi-area Red River Delta were the primary products of the third period, dating from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Vast numbers of Vietnamese blue and white and monochrome stonewares in a wide variety of shapes were traded internationally and have been found from Japan to the Middle East. The final period starts in the 16th century. Here we saw a decline in quality while exports ceased. The most notable examples were elaborate confections for village and family altars.

David Rehfuss

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