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

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Vessel with round bottom

  • Earthenware with white slip and red pigment
  • 33 x 25.5 cm
  • Ban Chiang culture
  • 300 BCE-1 CE, Ban Chiang culture, late period
  • Origin: Northeast Thailand
  • Gift of Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2004.20

Description

Earthenware vessel with wide, flaring rim.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 2 October 2001) This vessel bears the same design as S2004.19. These vessels compare to vessel no. 56 in the 1982 Ban Chiang exhibition (White 1982, no. 56). That vessel came from the well-appointed grave of a middle-aged female.
    
Has (modern?) red pigment been smeared over the rim? Was this vessel built by hand from rim to bottom?

White, Joyce C. 1982. Ban Chiang: Discovery of a Lost Bronze Age. Philadelphia and Washington: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania Press and Smithsonian Institution.

2. (Ellen Chase, Louise Cort, and Blythe McCarthy, 6 May 2003) Is this a pastiche of body and rim? At best, the body and rim are poorly aligned. Has the red on the body been retouched? Or were there simply variations in the original brush strokes? Possibly this vessel should be taken part to see whether the body and rim can be made to match better; perhaps this is just a bad repair. But the two diameters seem significantly different, and two long cracks that run down the body do not appear in the rim.
    
However, on S2004.19, there is a rim of overlap where the neck joins the body, but there is no indication of a repair. Instead, the overlap is the trace of the particular forming technique. The projecting neck edge is also found on S2004.16 and 19 (also 20); all these pots seem to belong to the same technological family. The body was thinly paddled, while the rim is a thick addition.
    
A comparable jar is shown as no. 56 in the 1982 Ban Chiang excavation catalogue. It is identified as Ban Chiang Late Period, ca. 300 BCE–1 CE. It was found in the "well-appointed grave of a middle-aged female."

White, Joyce C. 1982. Ban Chiang: Discovery of a Lost Bronze Age. Philadelphia and Washington: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania Press and Smithsonian Institution.

3. (Louise Cort, 7 November 2003) Another pot of this type was published on the cover of Arts of Asia, November–December 1973, together with an article titled "Thailand's Ban Chiang: The Birthplace of Civilization?" The vessel is described as coming from Ban Chiang.

Griffin, Robert S. 1973. "Thailand's Ban Chiang, the birthplace of civilization?" Arts of Asia 3(6): 31–34.

4. (Louise Cort, 10 November 2003) In his study of types of Ban Chiang painted pottery, Piriya Krairiksh included vessels of this type in his Type I (I-i, with both neck and round-bottomed body painted red; type I-j, with only the neck painted red). In Chart IV, he also illustrates a vessel of this type with the neck decorated with vertical strips, excavated in burial WP2B (at the Wat Po site in Ban Chiang) along with a vessel decorated like S2004.18 and a pedestal-base vessel with spiral decorations in a scheme resembling that of S2004.17.

Piriya Krairiksh. 1973. "Provisional Classification of Painted Pottery from Bân Chieng." Artibus Asiae XXXV(1–2): 145–162.

5. (Joyce White, Ban Chiang Project, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, 8 December 2003) The decoration is as expected for a Ban Chiang Late Period vessel, but vessels excavated from the site were never in this good condition—why? The neck and body possibly broke at the original forming joint. Is some of the painting possibly enhanced?

6. (Louise Cort, 18 August 2004) Title changed from "Vessel" to "Vessel with round bottom and trumpet-shaped neck."

7. (Louise Cort, 17 November 2014) In 2008 a sample taken from the neck edge of this vessel was submitted to Oxford Authentication for TL testing. The result showed that the pot was last fired 1400-2300 years ago.


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