Champa ritual bowls with delicate decoration

Silver alloy
Kingdom of Champa, Vietnam
17th century
Big bowl: H. 7 cm or 2¾ in. / D. 14 cm or 5½ in.
Small bowls: H. 5 cm or 2 in. / D. 9,5 cm 3¾ in.

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This beautiful set of tableware consists of a large bowl and two small bowls. All are spherical in shape and the two smaller ones have a narrowed base with a break point, a carina, above which the body rises. They each have different decorative registers, all of which have been worked using the repoussé technique. This means that they are hammered from the inside out to reveal the composition in relief. The details are chiselled on the outside.

The large bowl has three decorative registers. The one at the foot consists of stylised cloud motifs. The body is composed of zoomorphic interlacing motifs representing dragons with bodies covered in scales. Finally, the rim of the lip shows a repetition of geometric floral motifs.

The two small bowls are decorated with a succession of four registers.

The first small bowl has a frieze that extends around the foot in a repetition and superposition of semi-circular motifs. The same frieze is repeated on the base of the body. The latter is decorated with zoomorphic interlacing motifs resembling dragons. The rim of the lip is decorated with a band of geometric floral motifs.
The second small bowl has a foot decorated with a grid, topped by a frieze of non-figurative geometric motifs. The body is also decorated with zoomorphic interlacing in which dragons appear. The rim of the lip of the bowl is decorated with a wolf’s tooth frieze.
Dated to the 17th period of the late Champa kingdom (5th – 19th).

They are identified as offering bowls. They would have been used on the occasion of the Katê festival, the most important in Cham culture and which is still celebrated today. Arranged on trays they would have contained foodstuffs, intended for the deities.


Condition report:

These three Cham bowls are in good condition. One of the smaller ones shows slight nicks at the junction of the different parts that were assembled when it was crafted.