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

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Lime-paste jar in zoomorphic form, with lid

  • Stoneware with iron pigment under wood-ash glaze
  • 6.8 x 8.3 x 7.9 cm
  • 1075-1250, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S1996.169a-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.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Lime pot in form of a crab, light-glazed with facial features and mouth rim accented in greenish brown;  cover.

2. (Louise Cort, 7 June 1999) Could this be a rabbit-shaped vessel with the ears ground down and doctored with epoxy?

3. (Louise Cort, 10 June 1999) The original form of the "face" of this vessel may be suggested by a rabbit-shaped vessel in the collection of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Kyoto (Toyama Bijutsukan 1997, no. 51, h. 7.2 cm, l. 11.8 cm). The green-glazed vessel has a smiling mouth (with incised teeth showing) framed by small applied discs of clay suggesting cheeks, two large round applied eyes, and an applied pug nose with nostrils, directly above which rises a pair of ears (partially broken). A pair of incised lines filled with hatching defines the head. This band and the eyes are accented with brown pigment. An area around the rough round opening defined by incised lines is filled with stippling. It appears as though two small front paws may be applied to the underside of the vessel.
    
The rabbit-shaped vessel appears to be entirely hand modeled, whereas the Hauge vessel 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).

Toyama Bijutsukan (Toyama Art Museum), ed. 1997. Kamratan korekushon Tōnan Ajia kotōji ten IV (Southeast Asian ceramics from the Kamratan collection IV). Toyama: Toyama Bijutsukan.

4. (Louise Cort, 11 June 1999) The incised diamond-shaped configuration on the face of this rabbit (the V-shaped mouth mirrored by two inverted V-shaped lines incised between the eyes) is echoed in the diamond incised between the eyes of a small brown-glazed jar with rabbit features in Brown 1977, no. 54, h. 6.5 cm.

Brown, Roxanna M. 1977. The Ceramics of South-East Asia: their dating and identification. 1st ed. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

5. (Louise Cort, 11 June 1999) The small loop handle on the back of the vessel has parallels in bronze vessels; in both cases the handle presumably served to attach a lid, using a cord or chain.  A bronze bird-shaped vessel is illustrated in Guy 1992, fig. 24 (l.  l.0 cm), collection of Don and Naiyanee Petrie, Bangkok.

Guy, John. 1992. "Southeast Asian Glazed Ceramics: A Study of Sources". Pp. 98–114 in New Perspectives on the Art of Ceramics in China, edited by George Kuwayama. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.   

6. (Louise Cort, 28 December 2004) Changed Medium from Earthenware to Stoneware with iron pigment under ash glaze. Changed Title from Zoomorphic lime pot to Zoomorphic lime-paste jar.

7. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-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). Desbat dates zoomorphic vessel forms, however, from 1075 to 1430 (Desbat 2011, 26).

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


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