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

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Cylindrical jar

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 48.4 x 35.7 cm
  • 1075-1430, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.115

Description

Vat with cylindrical body slightly wider in upper body in shoulder, tall angled shoulder, short neck, verted rim with flange. Wheel-thrown from coil added to flat base. Base flat, relatively smooth, one large chip from edge. Wall possibly constructed in three sections (with drying time between additions), plus shoulder and neck.
Clay: stoneware. deep reddish-brown where exposed, slightly lighter color on base.
Decoration: at base, straight upright trim at foot, above which is a series of seven evenly-spaced bevels. Main body of vessel undecorated. On upper wall below curve of shoulder, deep band of scalloped combing made with four-toothed combing tool, rounded upper arches and long spikes pointing straight downward. Just above, as wall curves inward, broad band crated by nine parallel incised horizontal lines. Shoulder undecorated. At base of neck, row of scalloped combing done with three-toothed combing tool, scallops compressed with spikes pointing dowward to right. Two incised horizontal lines around base of neck. Low neck everts to thick, wide rim with flange.
Glaze: iron glaze, mostly translucent cool brown, with thicker, darker streaks as well as streaks of ochre yellow, especially in glaze caught in bevels above foot. Glaze on shoulder and rim is thicker, uniformly darker tone. Glaze over entire interior, thicker on upper wall and ending in even horizontal line, suggesting that vessel was dipped upside down into vat of glaze. In addition, streaks and rivulets of glaze (some ochre yellow) all the way to vessel bottom.

Published References

1. 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.

2. 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, 148 (illus.), no. 74.

3. 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: 166, cat. no. 74.

4. Hewitt, Mark. 2005. The Potter's Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 132–133 (colr illus.), cat. no. 53.

Curatorial Remarks

1.  (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Large storage jar with circumferential lines on shoulder above a belt of combed design. Lustrous brown glaze dripping to ringed foot.

2.  (Louise Cort, 18 January 1999) A measured drawing of this vessel was prepared by Miyamoto Yasuharu on 12 November 1997 as part of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties survey of the Hauge collection of Khmer ceramics.

3.  (Louise Cort, 11 June 1999) A jar of this type and size (h. 45.0 cm; the mouth rim is missing) is one of the few reported to bear a Khmer inscription (Cœdès 1928, pl. XXVIII). It is said to have come from Ubon.  The inscription is incised in Old Khmer letters on the upper portion of the jar body and reads:  Vrah kamraten an Sut Stuk. (See original for diacriticals.) "Sut Stuk" is said to be a proper name. 

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

4.  (Louise Cort, 16 June 1999) The inscribed shoulder of the jar mentioned in note 3, now in the Ubon Rachathani National Museum, is illustrated in Natthaphat 1989, 85. The inscription is transcribed as "Pra Kamarateng An Sutha Sadok." The presence of this sort of dedicatory inscription gives cause for reexamining the notion (Rooney 1984, 97–98) that these are simply "utilitarian" vessels "used for storage." 

Natthaphat Čhanthawit (Natthapatra Chandavij), ed. 1986. Khrư̄ang thūai Čhīn thī phop čhāk læng bōrānnakhadī nai prathēt Thai (Chinese Ceramics from the Archaeological Sites in Thailand). Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

Rooney, Dawn. 1984. Khmer Ceramics. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

5.  (Louise Cort, 24 June 1999) According to Pamela Vandiver, the ochre streaks in the glaze are caused by crystals forming in the glaze—the result of a long, slow firing and possibly of the uneven mixture of glaze ingredients before the glaze was applied. The vessel also shows marked differences in the glaze appearance on the "hot" and "cool" sides. This jar was fired at a higher temperature than S1996.114. As a natural result of the increase in temperature, the kiln atmosphere tends to go into reduction.

6.  (Louise Cort, 25 June 1999)  According to Bernard Groslier, vessels of this shape ("large grain jars") first appear in excavated sites in the first half of the 11th century (Groslier 1981, 24). He noted that combing began to be used on the upper body of such jars in the last quarter of the 11th century (ibid., 28).

Groslier, Bernard Philippe. 1981. "Introduction to the Ceramic Wares of Angkor". Pp. 9–39 in Khmer Ceramics 9th–14th Century, edited by Diana Stock. Singapore: Oriental Ceramics Society.   

7.  (Louise Cort, 29 January 2004) Potter Mark Hewitt, Pittsboro, North Carolina, said that the ochre streaks are the result of "Jun-ing" (a process producing an effect like the Chinese glaze Jun-what Pamela Vandiver identifies as liquid phase separation). When the ash glaze is cooled rapidly it crystallizes. This is associated particularly with areas of thick glaze, which sometimes becomes so brittle that it chips off.

8.  (Louise Cort, 9 August 2004) Title and Object Name changed from "vat" to "jar," in keeping with the exhibition label usage and usage within discussion here.

9.  (Louise Cort, 10 August 2004) A similar brown-glazed jar is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (C. 65–1939); I saw it on view on 19 November 1997. The V&A jar is distinguished by large curved lines along the shoulder, filling the space between neck and horizontal band separating the shoulder and body.

10. (Louise Cort, 29 April 2016) A jar of similar shape and decoration, about 60 cm in height, identified as from the Buriram kilns and illustrated by a line drawing only, is reported to have come from the Kyo-no-uchi SK01 site at the Shuri Castle site, formal capital of the Ryukyu kingdom. The date for the SK01 site is 15 to mid-16 century; the other jars excavated come from Si Satchanalai. (Arakaki 2012:99-100; 107, fig. 2, no. 15). Possibly this is the first Angkorean jar to have been excavated in Okinawa.

Arakaki Tsutomu. 2012. "Ryukyu's Trade in the Southern Seas as Inferred from Southeast Asian and Chinese Tricolored Ceramics." Boeki Toji Kenkyu (Trade Ceramics Studies) no. 32, pp. 99-111.

11. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 12th-13th century to 1075-1430, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Evidence for vessels with "chestnut brown" (marron) glaze centers on that time span.

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


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