This vessel is a water dropper and was manufactured in the Red River Delta of Hai Duong Province. It would have been used to drop small amounts water onto an inkstone to prepare ink for calligraphy. In the 16th century, when this water dropper was made, Vietnamese ceramics were traded widely across Southeast Asia. The porcelain and stoneware ceramics made in Vietnamese workshops are less well known than those of their contemporary Chinese counterparts. The Museum is fortunate to have a significant collection of Vietnamese ceramics donated by Dean Frasché (1906–1994). Frasché worked for the Union Carbide Corporation and spent much of his career in Southeast Asia. Although not trained in archaeology, he became a well-respected specialist in Southeast Asian ceramics. He formed a warm friendship with UMMA curator Kamer Aga Oglu and donated objects to our Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.