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

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Jar with four ornamental lugs and combed decoration

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 52.3 x 41.1 cm
  • Sawankhalok ware
  • 13th-14th century, Sukhothai period or Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai province, North-central Thailand
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S1996.160

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) Large brown-glazed jar with encircling bands of combed wavy lines at waist and on shoulder, four vestigial ear loops. Glaze and combing relate to Khmer, shape relates to early Thai wares. From unidentified kiln in Thailand.

2. (Louise Cort, 24 June 1999) Pamela Vandiver noticed that the bottom of this vessel has been trimmed smooth—a feature not shared with the Khmer jars. The base also appears to show scars of large setters:  the heavy jar settled over them, suggesting that it was put into the kiln while still damp, and the fired base is uneven and wobbly. The surface of the glaze is weathered and degraded, causing the odd milky, bluish color. A little saliva applied to the glaze reveals the original color.

3. (Louise Cort, 29 November 2001) A measured drawing of this vessel was prepared by Miyata Etsuko in July 2000, while she was in Washington on a Short-term Visitor Grant with my sponsorship. She sent the final ink tracing to me in September this year.

4. (Louise Cort, 30 April 2002) Cataloguing of this object was changed to reflect the understanding of its probable origin, as indicated in Victor Hauge's original notes:  from "Khmer" to "Thai"; from "Angkor period" to "Sukhothai or Ayutthaya period"; from 11th–13th century" to "13th–15th century"; from "Buriram Province, Thailand" to "Probably Northern Thailand"; "earthenware" to "glazed stoneware."

5. (Louise Cort, 23 January 2007) In form, decoration, weight, clay body, and runny dark-green glaze, this jar appears to be related to the jars described by Don Hein as coming from the MON level of kiln activity at Si Satchanalai, and dating sometime before the late 14th century. Hein illustrates a number of such jars recovered by looters from the vicinities of Buddhist monasteries, where they had been used for burial of cremated remains (Hein 2001, figs. 22i–j, 23f–g, 24d).

Changed Origin from Probably Northern Thailand to Sukhothai province, Si Satchanalai. To Ware added Si Satchanalai. Changed Date from 13th–15th century to 13th–14th century.

Hein, Don. 2001. "The Sawankhalok Ceramic Industry: from Domestic Enterprise to Regional Entrepreneur". PhD Thesis, Department of Science and Technology, Deakin University, Melbourne.

6. (Louise Cort, 28 January 2008) Ware changed from Si Satchanalai to Sawankhalok, to follow usage by Don Hein and others. Two of the MON glazed stoneware burial jars discussed by Hein are also published in Hein 1999, 153, figs. 2–3.

Hein, Don. 1999. "The First Underglaze Painted Decoration at Sawankhalok: identification of a key influence?" Guoli Taiwan daxue Meishushi yanjiu jikan (The Taida Journal of Art History) 7: 137–158.

7. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) Don Hein, in Washington to present the Pope Memorial Lecture, noted that the glazes on most Sawankhalok ceramics are smooth, not irregular as on this jar. This jar seems close to a Sawankhalok product but an exact source does not immediately come to mind. He noted the non-functional lugs on the shoulder. This jar is not from the outlying Nong O kilns (possibly associated with Lao or Northeast Thai production), because glaze was not used there. Most big jars were made at kilns in the Pa Yang cluster. The pattern runs down to the base, and that treatment is not common at Sawankhalok. The jar is more likely Sawankhalok than anything else, but is not part of the group of kilns that Hein has worked on. There's nothing about this jar that is not "Sawankhalok" except the glaze.

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