Gourd-shaped bottle in the form of a worshiper

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 29.1 x 16.7 x 17.2 cm
  • 1075-1250, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.110


Gourd-shaped bottle with head and arms of worshipper. Wheel-thrown from disk and coil, with applied, incised and impressed decoration. Base smooth, undulating and wrinkled texture from original impression of flat clay dish on turntable, center slightly recessed from flat "rim." Impression of somewhat disporportionate weight from extra thickness of lower walls. Lower body tapers upward from narrow base to widest diameter at "waist" of figure. Hemispherical "head" tapers upward into elongated neck with concave profile, ending in everted rim.
Clay: stoneware, light gray on interior, slightly warm orange flush on exposed surface of foot, with minute black specks.
Decoration: on base, trimmed rounded edge of foot beneath sequence of three bevels of approximately equal width.
On torso, thin arms indicated by incised lines beginning at upper edge of "torso," ending at wrists bearing incised bracelets; clasped hands applied in relief as single knob tapered to vertical ridge, with fingers indicated by parallel lines incised on each side. Sharp flange at join of "torso" and "head"; just below, a "necklace" indicated by a band of closely-spaced impressed marks above a shallowly incised horizontal line. Most marks have pointed upper edges, but some are squared, as though a pointed thin stick used to make the marks grew gradually blunted.
On the head, applied and incised features concentrated at front of hemisphere: eyebrows indicated by parallel incised lines in shallow horizontal S-shape; ridge of applied nose separating eyebrows and ending in upturned triangle; eyes applied as flattened circles with impressed trianglular marks (pointed tip of stick?) indicating pupils; mouth applied as short horizontal bar with incised line defining lips; applied shallow C-shaped ears near "cheeks." Around rest of "head," beginning just outside ears, widely spaced sets of three incised vertical lines indicating hair.
At base of bottle neck, two incised horizontal lines creating flange.
Glaze: ash glaze, translucent, lustrous, crackled, pale green on most surfaces, slightly deeper green where pooled, extending inside bottle neck and ending at second lowest or lowest bevel of base, with one small overrun. Diagonal lower edge of glaze suggests that vessel was dipped into vat of glaze. Two hemispherical marks in glaze edge are outlines of glazer's fingers. Unglazed clay on bevel of base (not bottom) bears traces of blackish substance, perhaps soot. Dirt deeply imbedded in crackles of glaze.

Published References

1. Brown, Roxanna M. 1977. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: their dating and identification. 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pl. 22, fig. 75. (Private collection.) Dated second half 11th century.

2. Lawton, Thomas, and Thomas W. Lentz. 1988. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 208–211.

3. Cort, Louise Allison, Massumeh Farhad, and Ann C. Gunter. 2000. Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts. Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 146 (illus.), no. 54.

4. Cort, Louise Allison (translated by Tabata Yukitsugu). 2002. "Kumeeru tōki—Hauge korekushon wo chūshin to shita Kumeeru tōki no kenkyū." Tōnan Ajia kōkogaku [Journal of Southeast Asian Archaeology] (Journal of the Japan Society of Southeast Asian Archaeology) 22: 164, cat. no. 54.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Tall vessel with human facial features appliquéd under an elongated tubular top, arms incised on the body with appliquéd hands in the attitude of prayer.  Straw-white glaze finely crackled.

2. (Louise Cort, 18 January 1999) A tall, gourd shaped bottle with features of a bearded male devotee, glazed in pale yellow glaze, is illustrated in Stock ed. 1981, no. 46 (height 25.0 cm). It is dated to mid-12th century, based on comparison with a piece illustrated in Groslier 1966, pl. 144.  The head of the bottle has prominent protruding ears, appliquéd "forelocks" in front of the ears on each cheek, two incised lines framing the mouth, and an appliquéd goatee.  A "necklace" formed by several horizontal lines crossed by hatching creates the impression of beads or metal links. The arms, like those of the Sackler vessel, are incised rather than applied in relief. The elongated lower lobe of the body and narrow base are similar in proportion to the Sackler bottle. The neck is shorter, but it has a similar concave profile.

Stock, Diana, ed. 1981. Khmer Ceramics 9th–14th Century. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

Groslier, Bernard P. 1966. Indochine. Paris and Geneva: Nagel.
3. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) A gourd-shaped anthropomorphic bottle quite close in profile and arrangement of features to the Hauge bottle (but neck broken off) is in the Kamratan Collection of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Kyoto. The face corresponds to the upper lobe and is defined by incised horizontal lines above and below. The eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hands are applied with bits of clay; the eyebrows and arms are simply incised. (Rather than hands, the applied clay may be meant to represent something held by the worshipper).

Toyama Bijutsukan (Toyama Art Museum), ed. 1995. Kamratan korekushon Tōnan Ajia Kotōji ten II (Southeast Asian ceramics from the Kamratan collection II). Toyama: Toyama Bijutsukan.   

4. (Louise Cort, 11 June 1999) The representation of the face on the ceramic vessels-prominent eyebrows, bulging eyes with both lids outlined, straight nose, full lips, elongated ear lobes, horizontal creases around the neck-reflects the rendering of a face on a bronze torso of a woman in the National Museum, Bangkok (Cœdès 1928, pl. XXIII, h. 35 cm).  His piece of unknown origin seems to represent a somewhat folkish level of metal working.

Cœdès, George. 1928. "Les collections archéologiques du Musée National de Bangkok." Ars Asiatica XII: 1–36, Planche VII.

5. (Louise Cort, 5 April 2005) An anthropomorphic bottle of this type—most closely resembling the squared upper edge of S1996.111—was published in Institut Indochinois pour l' Étude de l'Homme Bulletin et Travail pour 1943, Tomb VI. Paul Levy presented a Khmer bottle acquired by l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient "so far unique in Indochina. Mr. Levy proposed that this and similar funerary vessels from cultures in the Americas, the Pacific, East Asia, and the Mediterranean all expressed a concept of the return to the "Mother" after death. The bottle is illustrated by a line drawing.

Cœdès, George. 1944. "Réunion du 28 Décembre 1943." Bulletin de l'Institut Indochinois pour l'Étude de l'Homme Bulletin et Travail pour 1943 6: n.p.

6. (Louise Cort, 24 August 2005) At my request, Blythe McCarthy examined the brown coloration around the foot of this vessel and determined that it was not iron wash but organic accretion.

"Under the low power binocular microscope the form of the deposit appeared characteristic of deposits from biological activity.  XRF confirmed the presence of significant manganese as well as iron in this area supporting the conclusion that it is not the remains of a slip, but of a burial accretion."

See the Conservation report. Compare the intentional application of iron slip around the base of the jar S1996.153.

7. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-12th century to 1075-1250, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Evidence for excavated anthropomophic vessels is based on the single Srah Srang piece, but Desbat proposes that their dating corresponds to that for two-color glazing, centering on the 12th-13th centuries (Desbat 22-23). Desbat's dating for "Buriram stoneware"--the green glaze that supplanted the Kulen style green-glazed ware--is 1075-1250.

Armand Desbat. 2011. Pour une revision de la chronologie des gres khmers. Aseanie 27 (juin), 11-34.

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