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

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Baluster-form bottle with a long neck and everted flanged rim

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 34.1 x 18.9 cm
  • 1177-1430, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.116

Description

Bottle with pedestal foot, ovoid body, elongated neck, and everted rim with flange.

Wheel-thrown from flat disk and coils; assembled from separate body and foot; neck probably thrown from coil added to shoulder of vessel. Base flat, slightly wrinkled; trace of seam where coil joined around circumference. Neck broken and reattached, but appears to be original to piece. Vessel is heavy in proportion to size.

Clay: stoneware, medium gray where exposed, lighter gray where revealed by deteriorating glaze.

Decoration: On flattened shoulder, band of loosely scalloped combing with points facing downward. Horizontal row of individually applied buttons of clay, pressed into place with hollow cylindrical tool, creating raised central "dot" and circumference. Some buttons overlap where they were squeezed together.

Glaze: iron glaze, opaque, nearly black, with dull luster; very thick on shoulder, concealing combed design; extensively deteriorated over ornamental ridges and applied buttons; flaking especially on body; kiln debris adhering to shoulder. Glaze once extended to very edge of pedestal base. Runs only slightly into narrow neck.

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.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor  Hauge, November 1996) Baluster-form jar with long flared neck and high foot.  Brown glaze overall.

2. (Louise Cort, 18 January 1999) A measured drawing of this vessel was prepared by Miyata Etsuko on 11 November 1997 as part of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties survey of the Hauge collection of Khmer ceramics. See media.

3. (Louise Cort, 18 January 1999) A brown-glazed bottle with dish mouth, pedestal base, and similar distribution of decor at the shoulder and base of neck was excavated from the Sras Srang burial site at Angkor and was dated circa 1080–1107 by Bernard Philippe Groslier, Conservation d'Angkor, height 24.0 cm (Brown 1988, pl. 28-b). 
    
Another bottle, with neck broken off, found at the same site, also dated circa 1080-1107, has rounded shoulders closer in shape to the Sackler bottle (ibid, pl. 28-a).  On both these bottles, the decor on the shoulder is limited to combing.
    
A bottle of this shape, with the same sort of full-faced flowers sprigged on at the lower edge of the decoration at the base of the neck, is dated late 12th–early 13th century in Stock ed. 1981, no. 83 (height 32.0 cm.).

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

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

4. (Louise Cort, 22 June 1999) A sample of sherds of vessel shoulders showing varieties of applied "dot" and/or "teardrop" decoration is shown in Tharapong and Amara 1989, fig. 15, center right and lower left and right.

Tharapong Srisuchat, and Amara Srisuchat. 1989. "Introducing Buriram Ceramics and Kilns." Sinlapākǭn (The Silpakorn Journal) 33(2): 52–55.

5. (Louise Cort, 13 July 1999)  A brown-glazed bottle of this form, in the Seattle Art Museum (h. 33.3 cm.), is dated twelfth-thirteenth century in Hasebe 1984, pl. 188.  He describes it as a "classic baluster-form bottle."

Hasebe Gakuji. 1984. "Kumeeru no tōki (Khmer Ceramics)". Pp. 151–164 in Nankai (Southeast Asia), edited by Mikami Tsugio. Sekai Tōji Zenshū (Ceramic Art of the World), vol. 16. Tokyo: Shogakukan.

6. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-12th century to 1177-1430, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Evidence for baluster-form jars centers on the 12th-13th centuries, although Desbat proposes that their production probably continued into the 14th and 15th centuries (Desbat 19-21). He also associates the appearance of matte brown glaze with the late 12th century (Desbat 2011, 26). A bottle of related shape, with constructed long neck, was excavated from the Terrace of the Elephants in Angkor Thom, from the level dating oto the end of the 12th century (Desbat 2011, 21, fog. 9).

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

7. (Louise Cort, 25 January 2017) This vessel form is essentially a basic water bottle (S1996.113) placed on a pedestal. Does this eleboration of form represent a different context of use, base on difference of class, or sacred versus secular?


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