The Chinese perfected porcelain in the 10th century, but the Vietnamese soon adopted it. Produced using kaolin, a type of white clay, and then fired at blistering temperatures, porcelain products are generally more delicate, fragile and expensive than their ceramic counterparts. Vietnam now produces high quality porcelain household items from teapots to large bowls. Often cobalt blue and white, but available in a variety of colours, pieces can be used decoratively and functionally. Make sure to include a porcelain shopping outing while you're in Hanoi.

Vietnamese porcelain is highly prized and makes fantastic gifts due to its informal design, flowing lines and animal themes. Merging indigenous and Chinese aspects, Vietnamese potters also borrowed from India, Champa and Cambodia to create unique glazed, hand painted, terracotta and ironstone pieces. Vietnamese porcelain such as jars, bowls, vases and plates are widely available for purchase throughout Hanoi. Check out Bat Trang village near Hanoi where you can buy or make your own porcelain masterpiece!

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