Museum of Trade Ceramics, Hoi An

The Museum of Trade Ceramics is a small museum in the Ancient Town area of Hoi An in Vietnam.

  • Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00
  • Entrance fee: You need to pay a 120,000 VND fee which allows you to visit 5 attractions.

About the Museum of Trade Ceramics


The Museum of Trade Ceramics is dedicated to local archaeological finds related to two periods, one from the 7th to 10th Centuries, and the other from the 16th to 18th Centuries.

Museum Building

One of the most interesting features of Museum of Trade Ceramics is the building itself. The building was constructed in the second half of the 19th Century, possibly in 1858.

Entrance to the Museum of Trade Ceramics
Entrance to the Museum of Trade Ceramics

The building housing the Museum of Trade Ceramics is made predominantly of wood, and the carving and other detailing, is highly elaborate. There aren’t many other places in Vietnam where you can find buildings of this style. The shop house design bears similarities to some of the older buildings in Kyoto. Japanese traders came to settle in Hoi An during the 16th and 17th Centuries and they may have influenced the architecture of buildings constructed by the Vietnamese residents of the town.

Inner courtyard at the Museum of Trade Ceramics
Inner courtyard at the Museum of Trade Ceramics

The Museum of Trade Ceramics has a number of different rooms on two levels, all built around a central open courtyard. This layout was common, in one form or another, across the warmer parts of Asia in an age before electric powered cooling devices were available. Having an open courtyard in the centre of the house promotes the circulation of air around the house.

Upstairs in the Museum of Trade Ceramics
Upstairs in the Museum of Trade Ceramics

The upstairs area of the Museum of Trade Ceramics is split into two sections on either side of the central courtyard. Both sections have balconies facing towards the exterior of the property, as well as balconies overlooking the courtyard. The underside of the roof tiles are visible from the upper part of the house.

History of Hoi An

Hoi An has experienced two periods of prosperity as a trading centre. The first period when Hoi An was a busy trading port was from the 7th to 10th Centuries when the area was under the control of the Cham civilisation. The Cham are an ethnic group believed to have migrated from Java and other islands in what is now Indonesia. At the height of their power, the Cham controlled large parts of Vietnam and Cambodia. Hoi An was the Cham civilisation’s major trading port, and goods such as ceramics were imported from abroad, particularly China.

Model of a trading vessel at the Museum of Trade Ceramics
Model of a trading vessel at the Museum of Trade Ceramics

The second period of Hoi An’s prosperity was from the 16th to 18th Centuries. A commercial port was constructed and for a while foreign businessman, most significantly from Japan and Portugal, were allowed to established their own settlements in Hoi An. Towards, the end of the 18th Century, however, trade increasing to moved to Da Nang and Hoi An ceased to be trading port entirely in the 19th Century with the increasing use of steam powered ships.

Displays at the Museum

The Museum of Trade Ceramics has over 450 examples of ceramics found locally on display. Some of the artefacts are smaller fragments of plates and other glazed potteries, other artefacts are more impressive fully intact plates, cups, bowls and jugs.

Pottery recovered from a 15th Century shipwreck
Pottery recovered from a 15th Century shipwreck

The artefacts in the Museum of Trade Ceramics are displayed both by theme and grouped by where they were found. The ground floor display by the front entrance to the museum is of a collection of fragments of pottery found during archaeological digs on the nearby Cham islands. The Cham islands have a long tradition of making pottery, and this still carries on today although no longer on a commercial scale.

Display of Japanese Pottery
Display of Japanese Pottery

The other major source of the artefacts at the Museum of Trade Ceramics is from a 15th Century shipwreck found near the Cham islands in early 1990s. A total of around 250,000 well preserved pieces of pottery were retrieved from the ship wreck. 90% of these items were sold at auction in the USA in 2000. The remaining 10% is on display in 6 museums in Vietnam, one of which is the Museum of Trade Ceramics in Hoi An.

Location of the Museum of Trade Ceramics


The Museum of Trade Ceramics is located 30.7 km by road from Da Nang Railway Station.

Google Map of the Museum of Trade Ceramics

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