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

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Lime-paste vessel in form of a lion

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 10.1 x 5 x 6.8 cm
  • 1075-1250, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.150

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. 78.

3. Cort, Louise Allison (translated by Tabata Yukitsugu). 2002. "Kumeeru tōki—Hauge korekushon wo chūshin to shita Kumeeru tōki no kenkyū (Khmer ceramics—research on Khmer ceramics centering on the Hauge collection)." Tōnan Ajia kōkogaku [Journal of Southeast Asian Archaeology] (Journal of the Japan Society of Southeast Asian Archaeology) 22: 166, cat. no. 78.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Lime pot (?) in shape of lion, light green glaze.

2. (Louise Cort, 3 June 1999) This small vessel bears a formal relationship to large sculpted figures of lions that formed part of Khmer temple complexes, flanking the causeways, the stairways, and the doorways.  In miniature, and in abbreviated form, it replicates the walking stance, the bulging eyes and bared fangs, the thick mane and the ruff of hair on the chest.  One such figure is presented in Jessup and Zephir eds. 1997, 311–313, pl. LIV.

Jessup, Helen Ibbitsun, and Thierry Zephir, eds. 1997. Sculpture of Angkor and ancient Cambodia : millennium of glory. Washington: National Gallery of Art.   

3. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) The rabbit-shaped vessel appears to be entirely hand modeled, whereas the Hauge vessel [S1996.169] is wheel thrown. But were the zoomorphic features of this and other Khmer vessels applied by assistants in the workshop—wives, children—rather than by the experienced potters who kept busy at the wheel?  That division of labor may account for the charming, childlike quality of the decor of many such pieces.  And some of the hand modeled pieces may be entirely the work of people unable to use the potter's wheel (compare the rabbit, S1996.148, the frog, S1996.149, the lion, S1996.150, and the bird, S1996.154).

4. (Louise Cort, 19 January 1999)  A small, handbuilt lime-paste vessel in the shape of an elephant, with mottled brown glaze, is dated by Dawn Rooney to the 13th–14th century based on the "heavy features, crude potting, and limited decoration" (Rooney 1981, 54,  no. 93).

Rooney, Dawn. 1981. "Uses of Khmer Ceramics". Pp. 51–55 in Khmer ceramics 9th–14th Century, edited by D. Stock. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

5. (Louise Cort, 20 September 2007) A bronze official's seal in the shape of a palm squirrel in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (acc. no. 1973.146) is dated 12–13th century. In size and rendering it suggests a metal prototype for this type of hand-sculpted (rather than wheel-thrown) ceramic vessel.

6. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 12th-13th century to 1075-1250, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Evidence for green-glazed Buriram-type bowls (distinguished by the formation of the base) at Angkor-area sites begins in the late 12th century but may date to the beginning of the 12th century, coinciding with the end of production of green-glazed "Kulen" wares in the Angkor area (Desbat 2011, 15-16).

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

7. (Louise Cort, 16 March 2017) Changed Title from Lime-paste vessel (?) in form of a lion to Lime-paste vessel.in form of a lion.

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