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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.”