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Chu Dau ceramics

Glazed ceramics tradition represents one of the most important remaining cultural legacies of Vietnamese history, it has begun to be seriously studied and admired by a wide range of connoisseurs, collectors, and scholars throughout the world. These pieces express the abundance of a natural world – with lively depictions of animals, birds, and flowers – as well as a technical and aesthetic mastery both in terms of form and glazes. They also reveal the potters’ creativity in transforming borrowed sources into uniquely Vietnamese works of art. Chu Dau is among the production centres that brought ceramics to the pinnacle of art.

Ceramics from Chu Dau village started to be known at the end of the 14th century and became famous in the 15th and 16th centuries as high class glaze elegantly described in those eloquent words, “as pure as gem, as thin as paper, of colour as nice as ivory and sound as nice as a bell”. Products range from bowls, delightful plates, tea sets, vases, basins, lime pots, incense burners, etc. Chu Dau style is characterized by the unique combination of the fine style inherited from the Ly dynasty, and the vigorous style of the Tran dynasty. The most famous glazes of the Chu Dau age were transparent, blue, celadon, green, moss-green, light yellow, reddish yellow and tricolours (green, red and yellow).

Another specialty of Chu Dau ceramics is its decorative motifs. Most of the ancient decorations included lotus, chrysanthemum of different styles and a great variety of other stylized patterns. Artisans were inspired by the scenes of daily life – women wearing Vietnamese hat & long dress, child tending a buffalo, bird on the branch of a peach tree, or storks flying over a field. Like in many other production centres, technical expertise reached a high level: Polishing and styling on turning table, knocking out products, processing by banking, joining, designing, engraving, drawing, modeling and casting.

For more than 500 years, ceramics from Chu Dau – located at the center of the economic development triangle Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh – are exported to the Netherlands, England, France, Japan, Turkey and Southeast Asia. They are considered as valuable pieces by collectors and can be seen in national museums worldwide such as in Turkey, France, Belgium, Japan and the Netherlands. An antique ceramic pot from Chu Dau was recently sold at a bidding price of USD521, 000.

After it survived the affliction of the wars, Chu Dau ceramics village was restored due to the skilful and loving hands of potters perpetuating the skills of many generations of craftsmen. They are now working at the Chu Dau Ceramic Enterprise whose mission is to rehabilitate antique decorative motifs and glazes, and promote them on the international market under the famous Chu Dau ceramic brand name. Products currently manufactured at Chu Dau include various kinds of plant pots, flower vases, gifts, statues, as well as collection pieces. Hundred of thousands pieces are exported every month to Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, America, etc, and are highly valued by customers.

Photo: baomoi.com