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

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Head from an anthropomorphic bottle; vessel body; unrelated lid (pastiche, disassembled)

  • Stoneware with wood-ash and iron glazes
  • 5.7 x 4.8 cm
  • 1075-1250, Angkor period
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.111a-b


Upper section ("head" and bottle neck) of an anthropomorphic bottle with green glaze on neck, brown glaze on head; brown-glazed lower lobe of flattened bottle with combing on shoulder, from a separate vessel; unrelated conical lid. Formerly united in pastiche to form single vessel with lid.

All components wheel thrown with incised decoration; applied relief decoration on "head."

(1) Bottle section

Thinly thrown upper lobe ("head") and neck of gourd-shaped bottle. "Head" in the form of a tapering cylinder, slightly narrower at top than bottom.
Clay: fine-grained stoneware clay, pale gray, with some minute black specks. Interior color of clay visible where one applied ear has broken off.
Decoration: deep incised groove at lower edge, defining "head." Features aplied in relief: arched eyebrowns and short, pointed nose applied as single V-shaped piece; eyes applied as two oval pieces, with pupils indicated by short marks, either impressed individually or possibly made by impressing a circular "floral" stamp; mouth applied as short, straight piece, with incised line defining lips; ears applied as projecting crescents (left ear broken off).
Three incised horizontal lines create deep upright flange echoed by two steps above it, defining base of neck, which slopes inward and rises, ending in plain upright rim.
Glaze: on "head," translucent, mottled amber brown iron glaze, darker where pooled, flaking in some areas. Sharp line defining upper edge of brown glaze, just below flange of neck, as though vessel had been dipped upright into vat of brown glaze. On neck, pale yellow-green ash glaze, coating inside of neck and ending in straight line at curve between neck and "head," as though inverted vessel had been dipped into vat of ash glaze. Narrow band of lustrous golden-brown where two glazes overlap.

(2) Flattened bottle

The original form may have been a flattened bottle with small mouth of the same type as S1996.132. Base smooth, slightly inset in center, creating narrow "footrim" by effect if not intent; this rim worn away. Walls rise outward, then bend in, creating C-shaped profile.
Clay: fine-grained, sandy, cream-colored stoneware clay, slightly darker on surface, stained reddish in areas formerly covered by glaze; interior color visible in one gouge on body.
Decoration: wide bevel on wall above base, defined by horizontal line cut in wall; clay surface within bevel roughened by trimming. Above the line, horizontal throwing marks fainly visible in wall. Around present opening of vessel, band of scalloped combing, with narrow, regularly spaced curves.
Glaze: iron glaze, translucent reddish-brown glaze, mottled texture with small white spots, as if glaze had been applied over loose particle of dust or sand and failed to adhere. Glaze ends irregularly below edge of bevel. Glaze finely crackled; has flaked off in areas. Interior of vessel covered by thin film of brown glaze, with some thicker areas where glaze ran in through mouth.

(3) Lid

Wheel-thrown as solid piece, wide, upturned edge with conical center ending in sharp point, bevel on underside above tapered stopper (broken off). A smaller version of the same type of stopper-lid is S1996.140b.
Clay: fine-grained pale gray stoneware clay
Decoration: continuous spiral line incised from edge of lid nearly to point.
Glaze: ash glaze, translucent , thin, shiny pale green, covering all surfaces except for broken surface of stopper.

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