Spouted jar with four female deities on shoulder and four garudas grasping serpents on lower body

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 19.5 x 19.9 x 19.4 cm
  • 1181-1299, Angkor period
  • Origin: Cambodia or Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S1996.174

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) Light-green-glazed jar with applied human figures holding libation vessels or in prayer facing in four directions on upper half, alternating with Garuda and cobra figures in relief on lower half. Upper section damaged and incomplete.

2. (Louise Cort, 25 September 1997) According to Dr. Elizabeth Moore, SOAS, University of London, the "apsaras" (devatas?) are more typical of Sukhothai period decoration. 

Compare this spouted vessel form with Garuda imagery to the vessel of similar form (minus the tall neck added recently) with bird-headed spout, S1996.186.

3. (Louise Cort, 21 June 1999) The apsaras on this vessel wear diadems with three low, triangular or knoblike projections above the band.  These seem related to the headdress of a "female divinity" from Prasat Srange ("end of the Angkorean period") illustrated by Boisselier (1966, fig. 63a) and are quite unlike the three tall, pointed projections on the diadem of a devata from the Royal Terrace at Angkor Thom (ibid., fig. 63b). See also S1997.133.

Boisselier, Jean. 1966. Le Cambodge. Paris: Picard.  

4. (Louise Cort, 27 March 2000) According to a paper presented by Pattaratorn Chirapravati, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting, a gold vessel with spout and long neck bearing four heads facing in the four cardinal directions was among the objects excavated from the center of the prang of Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya. The wat was built circa 1424. The depositions included an array of sacred objects from various parts of Asia, including the Angkor kingdom. It is possible that the vessel was made by Khmer craftsmen, or that it was made in Ayutthaya by craftsmen continuing a Khmer vessel form. 

5. (Louise Cort, 24 October 2000) Thermoluminescence analysis of this piece and the related object S1997.133, conducted by Oxford Authentication Ltd. in September this year (See Conservation report) showed that both pieces were last fired between 600 and 1000 years ago (i.e. 1000–1400 A.D.). 

The source of the iconography still puzzles me. In a lecture for the Smithsonian Associates on 21 October, Dr. Sarah Bekker illustrated protective images on the wall around Wat Mahathat in Si Satchanalai that included both four faces looking in the four directions and apsaras with arms spread wide. The wat was rebuilt by the Thai on Khmer foundations.

6. (Louise Cort, 8 October 2002) A stone pilaster on view in the Musée Guimet, Paris, in September, from the Terrace of the Elephants, Angkor Thom (MG26614) showed a head of a female deity wearing a headdress with three prominent points and large, round earrings or ear plugs. The piece is dated 16th century.

7. (Louise Cort, 1 September 2004) As I observed in June this year, the western gate of Ta Prohm, another Angkor monument built at the commission of Jayavarman VII, is surmounted by four faces looking in the four cardinal directions, above tep pranom figures, while a garuda with snake appears to each side of the gate.

8. (Louise Cort, 28 December 2004) In title, changed "apsaras" to "female deities." Changed medium from Earthenware to White stoneware with ash glaze.

9. (Louise Cort, 31 January 2006) Research on the iconography of this vessel and S1997.133 demonstrated a close association of both with the time period of Jayavarman VII. Date changed from 11th–13th century (as suggested by the TL test) to a more specific Late 12th–13th century.

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