Hexagonal covered box

  • Stoneware with iron pigment under milky glaze
  • 7 x 8 x 8 cm
  • Sawankhalok ware
  • 16th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai province, Thailand
  • Provenance: Probably Indonesia
  • Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • F1994.18a-b


1. (Stephen P. Koob, 3 February 1992) Small, glazed pottery box, hexagonal and faceted in shape, with knobbed lid. Glazed stoneware, with floral and linear decoration with dark blue underglaze.

2. (Louise Cort, 19 July 2005) The pigment used is iron, not cobalt. The milky glaze gives the iron a blue appearance.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 20 May 2008) Based on her research on shipwrecks, Roxanna Brown dates iron-decorated boxes from the Si Satchanalai kilns to the sixteenth century (circa 1520–1570/84) and describes them as the most common shape of that period (Brown 2004).

Changed Date from 15th–16th century to 16th century.

Brown, Roxanna Maude. 2004. "The Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia." Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles.

2. (Louise Cort, 2 June 2008) According to Don Hein, in Washington to deliver the Pope Memorial Lecture, this faceted box was thrown on the wheel, then manipulated into the hexagonal form. Other faceted boxes were thrown, then cut into faceted form.

3. (Najiba Choudhury per J. Smith, September 14, 2015) Transferred from the Provenance text field: "(Ken J.J.Baars, 12 November 1991) The S.E. Asian Ceramics now under consideration have been part of my private collection, acquired from various private sources during my stay in S.E. Asia from 1966 to 1970. During this period I carried out geophysical fieldwork for the Royal Dutch Shell Co. in S.E. Asia. My Oriental Ceramics collection was shipped to Holland with the rest of my personal belongings in early 1970 when my contract with the Brunei Shell Company ended."

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