Lime-paste jar in form of a bird, with lid

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 11 x 11.3 cm
  • 1177-1430, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S1996.172a-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, 147 (illus.), no. 60.

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: 164, cat. no. 60.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Victor Hauge, November 1996) Large bird lime pot in dark brown glaze, ringed conical cover. Incised wings with stippled feathers.

2. (Louise A. Cort, August 1997, Exhibition Label, "Arts of Cambodia") Khmer vessels for liquid are as diverse as the jar with pouring spout, which exemplifies an Indian concept of jar form, and the elephant with a spout on its shoulder. The small vessels shown here also take the forms of animals or birds and probably imitate containers made of silver or gold. The bird- and rabbit-shaped jars held lime used in betel, a fresh leaf wrapped around various ingredients and chewed for stimulation and refreshment. Actual conch shells were used in religious ritual as horns or for pouring purifying water, and both ceramic and bronze versions were also made.

3. (Louise Cort, 18 January 1999) A measured drawing of this vessel was prepared by Nishimura Yasushi on 10 November 1997 as part of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties survey of the Hauge collection of Khmer ceramics.

4. (Louise Cort, 23 July 1999)  A vessel of this form, with iron glaze, h. 9.5 cm, found in the Angkor region, was dated mid-late 11th century by Bernard Groslier (Mourer 1986, pl. 36, fig. 5).

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

5. (Louise Cort, 16 February 2006) The identity of the bird represented in this type of container is discussed in Ang Choulean 2000. The bird is the ak, and in popular lore it is know for its fidelity to its mate. Upon the death of its mate, the bird left behind kills itself by flying at full force into a rock or a tree. In ancient Cambodia the lime pot executed in silver or ceramic so typically took the form of this bird that the vessel is known as "ak kambor" (lime ak). Ang Choulean charts the relationship between the ak in nature, which feeds on shellfish, and the ak-shaped vessel filled with lime made from burnt shells.

Ang Choulean. 2000. "Une petite touche de mélancolie: le ak à Angkor." Cambodia Bird News: Special Angkor Issue 5: 17–19.

6. (Louise Cort, 16 January 2017) Changed Date from 11th-12th century to 1177-1430, following Desbat's revised chronology based on excavations in the Angkor area over the past two decades (Desbat 2011, 26). Evidence for vessels with matte brown or black glaze centers on that time span.

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


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