Ceramic Stories

One of the joys of collecting ceramics are the stories behind the pieces we have in our collections. Many of the stories you are about to read are from real collectors, the majority of whom are members of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society, who have shared here the motivation or emotion–or knowledge gained or lessons learned–from a ceramic in their collection. Other stories are from folk tales or other literary sources where potters or ceramics have played a key role. We hope you will enjoy these stories, and do let us know if you’d like to add your own….

Qing Dynasty, Xuantong Mark and Period Pair of Wine Cups with a rare Studio Hallmark

A Ming Dynasty Jiajing Mark Imperial Yellow Bowl

A Kangxi Buckle

Contributed by Andrew Nai, SEACS Councillor and officer (2015-)

Contributed by Alvin Chia, SEACS President (2008-2011)

Contributed by Lim Yah Chiew, former SEACS Councillor and officer

A Dehua (Blanc de Chine) Seal-Paste Box

The Search for a Modern Chicken-Headed Pot

A Khmer Waster

Contributed by Dr Kenson Kwok, Founding Director, Asian Civilisations Museum and SEACS President (1990-1992)

Contributed by Patricia Bjaaland Welch, SEACS President (2017-2020).

Contributed by Dawn F. Rooney, SEACS Life Member

Contributed by Ingrid C. Hanson,  SEACS President (2012-2016)

Contributed by Lam Pin Foo, SEACS President (1991-2001).

Contributed by Marjorie Chu, SEACS President (2005-2008)

When a  tsar orders ten cart-loads of ceramics from an honest potter a lesson is learned about those who try to fleece honest men

Contributed by Alexander Shaw, SEACS member and editor of The Pleasures and Pains of Collecting: Malcolm J. MacDonald

You may have heard that Tipu’s Tiger is a large wood carving on display in the V&A, but did you know there is a ceramic version as well? Read on.

A Satchanalai Figurine in the Form of an Elephant with a Rider and Keepers

A Cretan Clay Bull

A Sankampaeng Ceramic Bowl

Contributed by Atthasit Sukkham, Asst. Curator, Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum (Bangkok, Thailand)

Contributed by Professor Keith Branigan, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Archaeology, The University of Sheffield (U.K.)

Contributed by Ruth Gerson, Freelance Writer and collector

A Short Story about a Ceramic Plate

Collecting the Contemporary

A Lotus-Leaf Longquan Bowl

Contributed by Pauline Ong, SEACS Life Member

Contributed by Bernadette Rankine, Director for  Southeast Asia, Bonhams

Contributed by Johanes H. Rizal, SEACS Councillor and officer (2015-) and serious collector

How Yixing made me even 'pottier' about Teapots

From 'Made in Malaysia' to 'Made in Singapore'?

Collected by Ed Conyngham, a career Foreign Service Officer and ‘Old Asia Hand’

Contributed by Tim Clark, SEACS Councillor and teapot collector

Contributed by Low Sze Wee, CEO Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and SEACS Life Member

A Charming Pair of Ribbed Lai Nam Thong lidded pots

A Shiwan 'Laughing Buddha'

'Freddie's Folly'

Contributed by Paul Bromberg, Contributing Editor of Arts of Asia, author of Thai Silver and Nielloware (River Books, 2019) and SEACS member

Contributed by Ng Seng Leong, SEACS member, and author of Culture in Clay: Symbolism & Iconography in Chinese Ceramics

Contributed by Freddie Oh, a career Foreign Service Officer, SEACS member and collector of Southeast Asian art and ceramics

Hunting the Bear

Kraak from the Wanli Shipwreck

Contributed by Margaret White, Overseas SEACS member

Contributed by Mathew Welch, SEACS Life Member

Contributed by Jo Groarke, SEACS Member and Singapore ACM docent 

Contributed by Mathew & Patricia Welch,
SEACS Life Members

Contributed by Margaret White,
Overseas SEACS Member

Contributed by Ann Proctor, Overseas SEACS Member

Contributed by Tim Clark, SEACS Councillor and Singapore FOM docent

An unfired pot causes a death. An 18th century tale from Shah Abdul Latif’s Risalo (a collection of poetry)

One of the more than 500 tales of previous births of Gautama Siddhartha, warning us of the danger of attachments

Contributed by Jaap Otte, a collector and ceramics researcher of European trade ceramics made between ca. 1800 and 1950 for export to Asia and the Islamic world

Contributed by SEACS member Ed Conyngham, a former resident of Mandalay, Burma in 1960-61