The Vietnamese king of pottery and his 'priceless' wares

By Quynh Tran   May 29, 2017 | 02:33 pm GMT+7
The massive collection of more than 100,000 items is kept inside his Saigon home. And it's not for sale.

Dinh Cong Tuong has been dubbed the "King of Pottery" in Vietnam. Among his collection, some wares created in the 4th century are considered priceless by experts in the field.


The 50-year-old man has traveled across Vietnam and to other countries to collect more than 100,000 pottery wares over the past 20 years. His entire three-story house in Ho Chi Minh City's District 12 is filled up with antique plates, bowls, vases, teapots and the like, even in the bathroom.


Tuong said his love for antique pottery started in 1994 during a family trip to Hanoi. “My aunt gave me ceramic bowls and dishes from the 15th century. They were so beautiful and the more I learned about them, the more I fell in love with them.”


Tuong said his collection also includes a number of items from China, France, Japan that were produced between the fourth and 20th centuries.


As for Vietnamese antique, most of his items belong to different cultures: Dong Son, a Bronze Age period in the northern delta; Sa Huynh or Champa culture, which flourished between 3,000 and 1,800 years ago along the central coast, and Oc Eo, a Mekong Delta culture that dates back to between the first and seventh centuries. In this photo, a jar from in the 17th century.


Tuong holds a ceramic pillow that belonged to a prince of the Vietnamese Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). “It took me months to persuade a family in the Mekong Delta to sell it to me,” he said. Chinese and Vietnamese royal families used to have pillows like this.


The oldest item in his collection is a Vietnamese statue of Champa culture in the 4th century. “It was found at bottom in a river, and you can’t find another one in Vietnam,” he said.


This ceramic vase is another outstanding item in the collection. It is 1.5 meters high and was made in early 20th century.


Tiny bottles and containers used to prepare medicine for Vietnam's royal families centuries ago.


Tuong even collected broken pieces of pottery antique. “Many people are willing to pay high prices for my collection but I have never sold any of my wares, not even a broken piece.”

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