Blue and white kendi painted with a four-clawed dragon. Stoneware. Probably Chu Dau kilns, Red River Delta, northern Vietnam, 1440-1460. Diameter: 19.5 centimetres. Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund. Purchased from Eric Nissen. 2009,3014.7. British Museum © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Purchased from the Nissen Collection Blue and white kendi painted with a four-clawed dragon was the subject of a thermoluminescence test, sample number C97c91, by Oxford Authentication ltd. The conclusion was the dating was consistent with the suggested period of manufacture. It was according to the present owner once owned by a Thai collector who was a lifelong collector of Asian ceramics and who, upon retiring as an aluminium company executive in Bangkok, opened an antiques shop in order to devote himself full-time to his passion. Eric Nissen met him when he was living and working in Bangkok in 1971-72 and they remained close until he passed away several years later. At that time Eric admired the kendi and was told the Thai gentleman had found the piece in Singapore in the 1950s, and was waiting for the right price. It was auctioned at Christie’s Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Thursday, September 18, 1997, lot 372 but was bought by the present owner at Sotheby’s in 1999. It has been on loan at the British Museum since 1999 and was exhibited at the British Museum as part of a display of Vietnamese Ceramics in 2001.

Exhibition: 2012 Sep – 2013 Apr, BM G91, ‘Ritual and revelry: the art of drinking in Asia'
2014 Sep-2015 Jan, BM WCEC, 'Ming: 50 years that changed China'