Khmer Stoneware Ceramics, by Louise Allison Cort

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Louise Allison Cort is Curator for Ceramics, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.





Production of Khmer stoneware ceramics was closely related to the growth and livelihood of the Khmer Kingdom, centered at Angkor (802-1431). Illustrated by selections from the eighty Angkorian stoneware ceramics in the Hauge Collection at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, this essay considers the historical and cultural setting of Khmer stoneware, its relationship to the older and more enduring production of Khmer earthenware, and the repertory of vessel shapes and their uses. It also examines the technology of forming, decorating, glazing, and firing developed by Khmer potters. While there is diversity in the shapes of Khmer stonewares and their relationship to Indian or Chinese models, methods of shaping and decoration and the uses of individual forms were standardized across time and place within the Khmer Kingdom.

This essay first appeared in Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts, by Louise Allison Cort, Massumeh Farhad, and Ann C. Gunter (Washington D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2000), pp. 91–150. Reproduced with permission.