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Bleu de Huê bowl with dragon decoration, Qing dynasty (1644–1911),  Export ware for Viet Nam, circa 19th century-20th century, porcelain with underglaze decoration, 5.1 x 10.9 cm. Gift of Dr John Yu & Dr George Soutter 2002, 168.2002. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (C) Art Gallery of NewSouth Wales, Sydney

Along the rim of the bowl is a dragon with bulging eyes spitting fire. Near the shallow ring foot is a band of waves from which two carps emerge, one of which is blowing a huge gourd-shaped bubble.

From the 1700s onwards, kings of the Le-Trinh dynasty in Vietnam ordered porcelain pieces from China for their court. This type is named after Hue, the 19th-century capital of the last royal dynasty in Vietnam, the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). Although Chinese artisans executed the painting, Vietnamese rulers dictated the designs. Each ruler ordered ceramics of his own liking for use in his court, as well as presentation pieces to give to members of royal families and mandarin officials.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012