Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia:
Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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Jar

  • Stoneware with clear glaze
  • 4.1 x 4.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Kalong ware
  • 16th century, Lan Na period
  • Origin: Kalong kilns, Chiang Rai province, Northern Thailand
  • Provenance: Jakarta, Java, Indonesia
  • Gift of Dean Frasché
  • F1989.24

Description

Small jar with long straight neck, high shoulder, and tall splayed foot.
Clay: chalky, off-white.
Glaze: clear, ivory-toned, crackled and flaking, especially on lower body. Interior glazed; base unglazed.
Decoration: none.
Mark: none.

Curatorial Remarks

1.  (Louise A. Cort, April 1991) Bob Retka, 28 August 1990, asks whether this jar might be from the Kalong kiln complex in northern Thailand.

2.  (L.A. Cort, 13 June 1995) "Historical Region: Annam" added to attribution.

3.  (Louise Cort, 18 April 1998) When a group of Southeast Asian ceramics collectors, including Jack Lydman, studied this jar yesterday, they concurred in attributing it to the Kalong kilns of northern Thailand, on the basis of shape, clay, and ivory-toned glaze—all different from the small Vietnamese pieces also given by Dean Frasché. Frasché’s 1976 exhibition of Southeast Asian ceramics did not include any small, undecorated Kalong ware pieces of this type, although he must have been familiar with them from visits to the area, including one in 1974 (Frasché 1976, 50–51, 53).
   
Praya Nakon Prah Ram, who discovered the Kalong kilns in 1933, attributed to Kalong a small jar of this type that he had acquired in Tung Yang in Uttaradit (Praya Nakon Prah Ram 1936, 63, pl. XIV). John Shaw, who has studied the Kalong kiln sites extensively, illustrates jars of this type (Shaw 1989, 56 [upper left], 185 [upper right, h. 4.5 cm]). He includes such jars in his Group I, "the largest group, the classic wares of Kalong," which he states were made at kilns throughout the Kalong complex in the Wiang Kalong valley (ibid., 43). Roxanna Brown illustrates measured drawings of Kalong monochrome wares (Brown 1988, 85).
   
The dating of Kalong wares remains unresolved.  Dean Frasché used the dates 14th–16th century (Frasché 1976, 82). Although Praya Nakon Prah Ram mentioned finding a Kalong vase with a thirteenth century inscription (Praya 1936, 80), some of the underglaze black-decorated as well as the recently-identified green lead-glazed wares (Shaw 1989, 51) relate, in my opinion, to Swatow wares dated to the 16th–17th century.  Such iron-decorated pieces, with overall "dot" motifs, include small jars similar in shape to this one (Shaw 1989, 56, h. 6 cm).  Thus it appears that Kalong kilns were active over some five centuries (at least) as the source of glazed ceramics in the immediate region.  Judging from Dean Frasché’s purchase of this jar in Indonesia, it appears to have been one of the relatively small number to have been exported (probably through Ayutthaya).

[Attribution is changed from country: "Vietnam" to "Thailand"; historical region: from "Annam" to "Lanna"; date: from "14th–15th century" to "16th–17th".  The following attributions were added: Region: "Chiang Rai Province"; county/subdivision: "Wiang Papao District"; Site: "Kalong kiln complex"; ware: "Kalong"; and period: "Ayutthaya".]

Frasché, Dean. 1976. Southeast Asian Ceramics Ninth through Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Asia Society.

Praya Nakon Prah Ram. 1986. "Tai Pottery in Siam." 59–82 in Thai Pottery and Ceramics: collected articles from the Journal of the Siam Society, 1922–1980, edited by Dawn F. Rooney. Bangkok: The Siam Society.

Shaw, John C. 1989. Northern Thai Ceramics. 2nd ed. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

Brown, Roxanna M. 1988. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: Their Dating and Identification. 2nd ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

5. (Louise Cort, 18 January 2008) In her paper for the 35th annual meeting of the Toyo Toji Gakkai, 17–18 November 2007, Yajima Ritsuko reconsidered the dates for the activity of the Kalong kilns based on comparison of form, shaping, and decoration to Chinese ceramics, notably the popular kilns in 15th century Jingdezhen with regard to iron-decorated wares and Ming-period celadon with regard to green-glazed wares.

"It appears that the Si Satchanalai and Sukhothai kilns in central Thailand made great strides during the second half of the 14th century, and the impact of Yuan period Longquan celadon and Jingdezhen blue-and-white is evident. In contrast, the Kalong kilns, with their central role among the kilns of northern Thailand, appear to have been influenced by the forms of Ming ceramics anywhere from half a century to a century later. During the second half of the 15th century, the Lanna kingdom sent envoys to China, leading to closer connections between the two, and this may bear a relationship to the start of the influx of Chinese ceramics into northern Thailand."

She concludes that the earliest possible activity was at least 14th century (by comparison with kiln stacking procedures also used at early Si Satchanalai kilns), while the latest may have been early 17th century (based on the existence of white Kalong-ware pipe bowls, used for tobacco that was introduced into Southeast Asia from the New World circa 1600). (Yajima 2007, 3–4)

Yajima Ritsuko. 2007. "Tai no tetsu-e—Karonyō no katsudo nendai wo meguru kosatsu [Thai iron-painted decoration—a thought about the dating of activity at the Kalong kilns]." Paper read at Tōyō Tōji Gakkai dai 35 kai taikai kenkyū happyō yōshi [Outline of research reports for the 35th annual meeting of the Oriental Ceramics Society], 17–18 November, at Tokyo.

6. (Louise Cort, 24 October 2011) Pariwat Thammapreechakorn thinks this piece should be dated 16th century, not 16th-17th century.

Changed Date from 16th-17th century to 16th century.

7. (Najiba Choudhury, 10/28/2014) Transferred from the Provenance text field: "Collected by the donor in Djakarta, Indonesia, in 1958."


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