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

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Lidded container

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 8.6 x 7.5 cm
  • 880-1177, Angkor period
  • Origin: Angkor, Siem Reap province, Cambodia
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S1996.165a-b


Light gray stoneware

Published References

1. Frasché, Dean. 1976. Southeast Asian Ceramics Ninth through Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Asia Society, 33, no. 3 (Lent anonymously). Attributed to Phnom Kulen, dated 10th–12th century (p. 39).

2. 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.

3. 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. 52.

4. 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. 52.

5. Hobbs, Salome, and Vieth. 2004. The Visual Experience. 3rd ed. Worcester: Davis Publications.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Straw-colored box with cover, the body material similar to that of shards found on the Kulen Plateau in Cambodia. Cover has foliar band and twig handle suggestive of mangos teen.

2. (Louise Cort, 31 October 1997) According to Yagi Akira, Kyoto ceramic artist, this piece was thrown on a wheel turning counter-clockwise. The petals on the lid were formed freehand, by first impressing the vertical lines representing the sides of the petals, using some sort of sharp blade, then pressing the pointed tip of the blade against the lower end of each live to form the inverted V-shaped line defining the tips of two adjacent petals. In some places the soft clay can be seen to have been pressed out by this latter process. 
The box and lid appear to have been thrown separately, but they may have been joined while soft for trimming to make a smooth seam, then separated.

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

4. (Louise Cort, 28 June 1999) A lid of similar design, with lotus pod knob and radiating petals, but shallower than this one (diameter 6.9 cm), was found on Phnom Kulen by M. de Flacourt and given to the National Museum in Phnom Penh in March, 1920 (Catalogue numbers 39, H. 421,3).  Altogether seventeen pieces were found and donated at the same time (nos. 33–50); some are illustrated in Silice and Groslier 1925–1926, pl. 10, nos. 9–13.  A larger covered jar (no. 43, h. 18.2 cm) has a deep cap with radiating petals similar to those on this vessel lid and a foot trimmed in a similar fashion, with low bevel and rounded, projecting base.

Other urn covers of the same type are now in the Conservation d'Angkor, Siem Reap (Brown 1988, 43, fig. 30), as is another covered jar of the same type (h. 18 cm) (ibid., pl. 25-d).  A covered vessel with a lotus-flower knob and radiating petals (h. 14.6 cm.) is now in the Art Gallery of South Australia (pl. XIX-a). Brown dates these pieces 10th–11th centuries.

A covered urn with domed cap and "stupa" knob (h. 16 cm) is said to have a "fabrication mark" (string-cut mark?) on the base (Stock ed. 1981, no. 40, dated late 12th–Early 13th century).

An urn with "stupa" knob and ridged band on the shoulder (h. 18 cm) is in the Musées d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels (Rooney 1986, pl. 73).  The ridges on that lid seem closer in feeling to those on the lid of a qingbai porcelain covered vessel dated Northern Song (960–1127), excavated in the Philippines (Tan et. al. 1993, pl. 59). The Brussels piece is dated 12th century.  It is said to have an incised mark on the base.

The Hauge urn is noticeably smaller than these other published examples of similar appearance.

Silice, A., and G. Groslier. 1925–1926. "La céramique dans l'ancien Cambodge." Arts et archéologie Khmers: revue des recherches sur les arts, les monuments et l'ethnographie du Cambodge, depuis les origines jusqu'á jours II (pt. 1): 31–64.

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

Stock, Diana, ed. 1981. Khmer Ceramics 9th–14th Century. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

Rooney, Dawn. 1984. Khmer Ceramics. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

Tan, Rita C., Li Zhiyan, Rosemary E. Scott, Allison I Diem, Roxanna M. Brown, and Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines. 1993. Chinese and South-East Asian White Ware Found in the Philippines. Singapore and New York: Oxford University Press.

5. (Louise Cort, 29 June 1999) Another urn of this type, with "stupa" knob (h. 22 cm), is in the collection of Khmer ceramics preserved by Vat Bo in Siem Reap (memo and measured drawing dated April, 1996, from Nishimura Yasushi, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties).  According to Brown 1988, 45, fig. 32, covered urns with simpler sorts of domed lids, ribbing, and "stupa" knobs, and plainer body profiles, are also found in lower Northeast Thailand.

Brown, Roxanna M. 1988. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: Their Dating and Identification. 2nd ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
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, and who visited the kiln site on the Kulen plateau last August, examined this piece today and confirmed that it seems close to pieces they observed at the Kulen site.  In particular, Mr. Nishimura pointed out the square cut of the rim of the lid, the carefully articulated flower petals (compared tot he rough lines on Tani pieces), and the character of the glaze (compare S1996.152, which they thought was close in character to pieces recovered from the Tani kilns).
We observed that the base of this vessel appears to have been formed as a flat slab, judging from the texture of the center of the base. Only the outermost 1 centimeter of the base was subsequently trimmed, leaving tiny concentric lines in the smoother clay.

7. (Louise Cort, 25 April 2000) A jar of this general type was found as a container for an Angkorean period gold necklace.  The lid of that jar was subjected to TL testing at Oxford that did no more than confirm the authentic antiquity of the jar (Stock ed. 1981; and Bunker 2000, 111 (1st paragraph), and fig.14). 

Stock, Diana, ed. 1981. Khmer Ceramics 9th–14th Century. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

Bunker, Emma C. 2000. "Splendor and Sensuality in Angkor Period Khmer Jewelry." Orientations 31(3): 102–113.

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 the Tani kiln group, said that the decor on this vessel suggests that the vessel probably comes from the kilns associated with Phnom Kulen—either Anlong Thom on the plateau or Sar Sey at the foot of the plateau.

To Context, added Siem Reap province; under Locale, changed Phnom Kulen to Kulen-area kilns.

9. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26) gives the dates 880-1177 for production of Kulen-type green-glazed ware (Desbat 2011, 26). However, his footnote (11, n. 2) notes the revised date for the Bakong at Roluos from late 9th century to late 8th century, based on recent excavations. He illustrates a Kulen-type bottle from Prei Monti, associated with Tang ceramics dating to the early 9th century (14, fig. 1) and a small jar associated with Bakong, end of the 9th century (11, fig. 2). Desbat notes that the excavation of the hospital of Ta Muong, founded by Jayavarman VII in 1180, yielded no Kulen type ceramics but only green-glazed ceramics from Buriram (16).

Changed Date from 10th-11th century to 880-1177.

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

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