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

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Baluster-form jar with spout

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 28.7 x 20.9 x 19.9 cm
  • 1177-1430, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Provenance: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.118

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, 147 (illus.), no. 67.

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: 165, cat. no. 67.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor  Hauge, November 1996) Baluster-form jar with pouring spout, circumferential lines and combed design around shoulder. Brown glaze overall.

2. (Louise A. Cort, August 1997, Exhibition Label, "Arts of Cambodia") Khmer vessels for liquid are as diverse as the jar with pouring spout, which exemplifies an Indian concept of jar form, and the elephant with a spout on its shoulder.  The small vessels shown here also take the forms of animals or birds and probably imitate containers made of silver or gold.  The bird- and rabbit-shaped jars held lime used in betel, a fresh leaf wrapped around various ingredients and chewed for stimulation and refreshment.  Actual conch shells were used in religious ritual as horns or for pouring purifying water, and both ceramic and bronze versions were also made.

3. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) Spouted ewers on pedestal feet of this type [S1996.118 and 155] appear in Khmer stone relief sculptures of the Buddha calling the earth to witness on view in the National Museum, Phnom Penh.  In one, a sandstone piece from the Bayon, Angkor Thom, dated early 13th century (acc. nos. B 231, B105.3, and 1710), a ewer holding five lotus buds placed side by side rests directly beneath the throne on which the Buddha is seated.  Its form with high angled shoulders and hemispherical lower body seems closely related to that of S1996.155.  The piece is published in Groslier 1931, pl. X.

Groslier, George. 1931. Les collections Khmères du Musée Albert Surrat à Phnom-Penh. Ars Asiatica, Vol. 16. Paris and Bruxelles: G. Van Oest.

4. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) A frieze on the external gallery, south side, east wing, the Bayon (ca. 1200), depicting a royal banquet, depicts a servant carrying a spouted ewer against his chest, his right wrist beneath the body of the ewer and his left wrist around the neck.  The ewer is covered by a conical cap close in shape to that of the lid that came as part of S1996.121.  Groslier suggests that the ewer depicted is a metal one (Groslier 1981, 13, 25).

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.   

5. (Louise Cort, 22 June 1999) A scene of "a ceremonial occasion" from an unidentified frieze, apparently in the Bayon, shows a view of a house on stilts, accessed by a set of steps.  Beneath the steps, next to a house pillar, on a low platform (perhaps made of laterite) slightly above the ground level beneath the house, sits a spouted ewer.  It has a pedestal foot and conical lid with knob.  It rests on a flat tray supported by elaborately detailed recurving feet:  this would appear to be made of cast bronze.  The ewer presumably is there to be used for drinking water, or for washing the hands (and feet?) before ascending the stairs (Chou 1992, 60).
Cast bronze bases of similar form, with three or four legs ending in naga heads, described as a "candle stands," are published in Groslier ed. 1921–1922, pl. XIII.

Chou Ta-kuan (Zhou Daguan). 1993. The customs of Cambodia. Bangkok: Siam Society.

Groslier, George, ed. 1921–1922. Arts et archéologie Khmères: revue des recherches sur les arts, les monuments et l'ethnographie du Cambodge, depuis les origines jusqu'á jours. Vol. 1. Paris: Augustin Challamel.   

6. (Louise Cort, 24 June 1999) A brown-glazed ewer excavated from the Sras Srang burial site was dated by B. P. Groslier to the late 11th century, reign of Jayavarman VI (1080–1107); a related ewer of unspecified provenance is given the same date (Brown 1988, pl. XXII-a, and XX-b).   Compared to them, this ewer has a fuller body and a more pronounced band at the base of the neck.   Another brown-glazed ewer excavated from Sras Srang was dated by Groslier to the "late Bayon" period, i.e. 13th century (ibid., pl. 32-d).  It stands on a very slight pedestal foot and has very little definition to the curve of the neck or the rim.

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

7. (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. 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 associates the appearance of matte brown glaze with the late 12th century (Desbat 2011, 26).

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

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