Gift of Melanie Grant
This stoneware bowl was one of 250,000 pieces recovered in 1999 from the Hoi An shipwreck, a ship believed to be from Thailand. When the Ming dynasty banned maritime trade in 1368, Vietnamese potters created their own blue-and-white ware to fill the market gap in Southeast Asia. Although not of the same quality as the Chinese export ware, the Vietnamese pieces were still highly sought after and exported to the Philippines, Indonesia, and other regions in Southeast Asia. After the Ming court lifted the maritime ban in 1567, the market for Vietnamese blue-and-white ware shifted back to Chinese porcelains, and production in Vietnam declined.
This dish was recovered from the Hoi An shipwreck archaeological site in Vietnamese waters in 1999. From the approximately 250,000 objects recovered from the site, all unique pieces recovered from the site were retained by the Vietnamese government. Ten percent of the remaining recovered objects were sent to various Vietnamese museums. The contracted excavating organization, Saga Horizon (a Malaysian salvage company), received another forty percent of the recovery. The remainder was authorized for sale through Bonhams on October 11-13, 2000. Pieces officially released to Bonhams for sale were marked with sale stickers and lot numbers, which this piece possesses, clearing its provenance for acquisition.