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

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Lime-paste jar in the form of a bird, with lid

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 8.4 x 8.2 cm
  • 1075-1430, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.143a-b

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) Brown-glazed bird lime pot, beak and round eyes and ruffled tail applied. Triangular motif lines around body.

2. (Louise Cort, 28 December 2004) Changed Title from Bird lime pot with lid to Bird-shaped lime paste jar with lid.

3. (Louise Cort, 16 February 2006) The identity of the bird represented in this type of container is discussed in Choulean 2000, 17–19. The bird is the ak, and in popular lore it is know for its fidelity to its mate. Upon the death of its mate, the bird left behind kills itself by flying at full force into a rock or a tree. In ancient Cambodia the lime pot executed in silver or ceramic so typically took the form of this bird that the vessel is known as "ak kambor" (lime ak). Ang Choulean charts the relationship between the ak in nature, which feeds on shellfish, and the ak-shaped vessel filled with lime made from burnt shells.

Ang Choulean. 2000. "Une petite touche de mélancolie: le ak à Angkor." Cambodia Bird News: Special Angkor Issue 5: 17–19.

4. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-12th 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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