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

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Ewer with two-color glazing (pastiche; foot, neck, and lid do not belong)

  • Stoneware with iron and wood-ash glazes
  • 31.2 x 19 cm
  • 1177-1250, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
  • S1996.155a-b

Description

Ewer with vertical spout and strap handle, brown-glazed body and remains of green-glazed neck (repaired); lid does not belong

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) Two-color ewer on high foot, with vertical spout and short strap handle. The mouth and lid light-glazed, the body dark-brown-glazed. Dust adhesions in firing.

2. (Victor Hauge, letter to Louise Cort, 17 November 1996) We sent along the cover that came with the purchase of ewer #49, which has a Sawankhalok head stuck onto an original Khmer cap.  In photography I substituted another, proper cap; if this ewer is displayed I suppose such a proper cap should be used—though the other is kinda fun.

3. (Louise Cort, 9 June 1999) A ewer of similar form in the Yokota Nampo Minzoku Bijitsukan, Japan, has a tall neck and wide, flanged mouth, of white clay with green glaze, that may represent the form of the original neck on this ewer also (Mikami ed. 1984, pl. 198). The ewer appears to have been formed with dark clay, over the neck of which a layer of white clay was applied to form the details of the neck and mouth (as in S1996.112). The brown-glazed body of the ewer has a cylindrical handle, but the spout is in the form of a brown-glazed bird head that must be a dealer's addition, as is the "bird tail" described beneath the handle (but not visible in the photograph—could it be the same sort of upturned end to the handle as appears on this ewer?). The pedestal base is quite similar in structure to the one on this ewer—and awkwardly narrow in proportion to the diameter of the vessel body, as is this one—giving reason to accept the foot on this ewer as original. The overall height of the ewer is 25.3 cm.  It is dated 12th–13th century.

Mikami Tsugio, ed. 1984. Nankai (Southeast Asia). Vol. 16, Sekai Tōji Zenshū (Ceramic Art of the World). Tokyo: Shogakukan.

4. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) Spouted ewers on pedestal feet of this type (S1996.118, 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.

5. (Louise Cort, 30 April 2001) The V-shaped line incised around the upright spout of this vessel probably indicates a detail of a seam in the metal prototype for such a ewer. A similar line appears around the base of a bird-headed spout on a pedestal-footed ewer represented in a stone relief of Brahma, from central Java, that belong to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M2000.30). The ewer represented in the Javanese relief is presumably metal.  It appears at the based of the deity's throne, alongside a pedestal-footed incense burner (cf. S1996.164). The ewer and the incense burner presumably represent a standard set of ritual objects.

6. (Louise Cort, 30 April 2001) The technical examination (12/16/1996) noted that the green "neck" of this vessel is a fragment from a different vessel. It was not noted then, but it appears that the brown-glazed pedestal base is also a fragment of yet another vessel.  The body of the ewer bears extensive, disfiguring deposits of kiln debris that accumulated during firing. That debris, if not some other sort of damage, presumably led to its being discarded after firing. All three fragments must have been recovered from kiln-site debris and reassembled in a dealer's workshop.

7. (Louise Cort, 30 April 2002) A ewer of this form, apparently in a museum collection in Thailand, with a brown-glazed body and green-glazed neck, is published in Rakchanok and Sathāphǭn 1996 (21, color plate adjacent to p. 23). The green-glazed neck, with bottle spout, may be a pastiche, since the bottle-shaped neck is unexpected and the join between the two glazes is sharp and clean. The spout on the piece is unbroken and shows the original length and rim shape.

Rakchanok Tōsuphan (Rachanok Toosuphan) and Sathāphǭn Thīangtham (Saphaaporn Thiangthaam). 1996. Khrư̄angthūai Burīram læ khrư̄angthūai Sukhōthai (Buriram and Sukhothai Dishes/Jars). Bōrānnakhadī wikhro̜ (Archaeological Analysis). Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

8. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) Don Hein, in Washington to present the Pope Memorial Lecture, said that the lid that came with this vessel is not Sawankhalok ware, as I had suspected it might be.

9. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-13th century to 1177-1250, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Desbat dates the finds of two-colored glazed vessels to 1075-1250, but questions whether that format does not continue to a later date. He dates the use of matte brown or black glaze to 1177-1430. The period of overlap for two-color glazing and matte brown or blac glaze is 1177-1250.

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

10. (Louise Cort, 22 January 2017) Changed Title from Ewer with vertical spout and strap handle, brown-glazed body and remains of green-glazed neck (repaired); lid does not belong to Ewer with two-color glazing (pastiche; foot, neck, and lid do not belong).

The basic ewer shape is based upon a qingbai ewer.


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