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

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Covered box

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 10.5 x 14 cm
  • 10th century, Angkor period
  • Origin: Angkor, Siem Reap province, Cambodia
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.152a-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.

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, 146 (illus.), no. 50.

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: 163, cat. no. 50.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Cylindrical box with leaf design incised on cover. White body with straw-colored glaze.

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

3. (Louise Cort, 3 June 1999) The design of the lid of this vessel, with flat central disk surrounded by incised flower petals, resembles that of a lid recovered from Phnom Kulen in Cambodia and kept in the Conservation d'Angkor (Brown 1988, fig. 30).The iron specks in the clay body also suggest a relationship to the Kulen area kilns. 

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

4. (Louise Cort, 7 June 1999) Incised on the flat base is a "star" consisting of three intersecting short straight lines-one of the typical marks that appear on pieces from kiln sites in the Angkor region, including those on the Kulen plateau. 

5. (Louise Cort, 23 July 1999) A box base of related form was excavated by Bernard Groslier at the Thommanon site in Angkor and dated to the end of the 9th century, h. 6.3 cm (Mourer 1986, pl. 29, fig. 3). The vessel was said to be unglazed.  A domed lid also found at Thommanon, with ash glaze, was dated to the beginning of the 10th century, h. 2.6 cm (ibid., fig. 4)

Mourer, Roland. 1986. "La Poterie au Cambodge, vol.1". Ph.D. Dissertation, l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

6. (Louise Cort, 20 January 2000) Nishimura Yasushi and Sugiyama Hiroshi of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, who are currently engaged in excavation of a kiln site in Tani village, near Angkor, examined this piece today and confirmed that its design and its thin, easily-flaking glaze made it similar to ash-glazed pieces recovered from the Tani kilns (more so than from the Kulen plateau), although this piece is larger than any of the ash-glazed lidded vessels recovered so far from Tani.  (Compare S1996.165, which they thought probably was made in the Kulen kilns.)

7. (Louise Cort, 6 December 2002) "Siem Reap Province" added to Geographical origin based on catalogue entry for Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts. (ATJ, Curatorial Asst.)

8. (Louise Cort, 8 October 2004) Ea Darith, Cambodian archaeologist working for the APSARA Authority with a specialty in ceramic archaeology, and participant in the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties excavation of Tani, suggested that this box is too big for the repertory of green-glazed wares recovered from Tani. It is probably from the Kulen-area kilns of Anlong Thom (on the plateau) or Sar Sey (at the base of the plateau). Those kilns yielded wares rich in decor, especially lotus motifs, whereas such variety does not appear on wares from Tani. Examining the box, we noticed that the glaze on the exterior and on the edges of the interior of the lid was oxidized, but that the reduced glaze at the center of the interior of the lid resembled that on the box S1996.165.

To Context, Locale, added Kulen-area kilns.

9. (Louise Cort, 27 August 2009) A close resemblance to this lidded box in shape and decor is seen in a large Yue-ware circular box with a ring on the lid defined by a bow-strong border. Inside the ring are impressed circles suggesting the seeds of a lotus pod, while the rounded sides of the lid outside the ring are carved in low relief with encircling overlapping lotus petals. On the base of the box is incised, under the glaze, the Chinese character da (big). The Yue ware lidded box is dated Five Dynasties period (907-960). It is described as exceptionally large (diam 17.8 cm), although it is not much larger that the Angkorian box (diam 14.0 cm). It is offered at Christie's New York, 14-15 September 2009, lot 321.

10. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) 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.

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