Collecting Masterpieces
Photo of vietnam-candelabra-bat-tran-maspero-guimet-museum-galerie-golconda

 

Asia Central - South and East
LARGE CANDELABRUM WITH DRAGON
Khmer ­/ Siam ­/ Burma ­/ Vietnam

 

Object :
Nº 195
Medium :
Terracotta
Dimensions :
Height: 62 cm (24.4") - Circumference 90 cm

This large baluster vase is composed of two parts; a final cup for oil probably placed at the top of the neck is missing. Made of clay mixed with silica and turned on a wheel. White slip background painted with blue dragon motifs. The cover served to vitrify the object, it often contains quartz heavy in silica feldspar rich in aluminium oxide. A very pretty ornamentation of dragons was applied during the first firing. Good general condition. Chips on the upper part of the neck, tiny cracks from the firing and some decorative parts in relief are missing.  

The sculptural character of this candelabrum is typical of the Hanoi region and Bat Trang in particular since the 14th century. Although having inherited Chinese techniques, ceramic art of Vietnam only laid the foundations for its aesthetics once it was free from their domination, in 939. The dragon, which always represents the East, is one of the four symbolic animals used as earthly manifestations of the heavens: it remains the ideal mount for the deceased to ride to the afterlife. Invented in Northern China 5000 years ago, it appeared in multiple forms, although it always looked like some sort of reptile monster. Over time, lion’s claws and an ox’s head were added, and it was represented in an aquatic environment, like here, surrounded by scattered wavelets. Although the West very quickly transformed dragons into evil animals, they are still considered symbols of energy and good omens in Asia. The dragon on this vase is remarkable. It imparts a sense of energy, with its movement it is powerful and very decorative.