Jar with four vertical lugs, applied and combed decoration

  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 13.4 x 17.2 cm
  • 16th-17th century, Restored Later Le dynasty
  • Origin: Central Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.138


Jar of ovoid form with short neck, wide mouth, flat base and four lugs on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: combed undulating lines alternate with two ridges on the upper body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, 13 June 2003) Jars of this type with raised bands, loop handles and combed wavy lines are in the collection of Brunei Museum. Harrison identifies these jars as Cambodian wares from the Khorat Plateau, Northeast Thailand, dated to 14th to 15th century. Fragments with similar wavy lines decoration were excavated in Ban Kruat on the Khorat Plateau close to the Thai-Cambodian border (Harrisson 1986, pls. 48–49).

Jars with raised bands and/or lug handles (molded with animal design), identified as Thai are in the collection of National Museum Jakarta (formerly Museum Pusat) dated to 17th–18th century (Adhyatman and Ridho 1984, 181, pls. 188–189).

Harrisson, Barbara. 1986. Pusaka: Heirloom Jars of Borneo. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

Adhyatman, Sumarah, and Abu Ridho. 1984. Tempayan di Indonesia (Martavans in Indonesia). Rev. 2nd ed. Jakarta: Himpunan Keramik Indonesia (The Ceramic Society of Indonesia).

2. (Louise Cort, 30 June 2003) Tran Ky Phuong, independent researcher, Da Nang, said that this jar was Vietnamese. It would have been used in a kitchen for keeping salt, salted fish, or fish sauce. It would have been covered with a banana leaf, tied in place. The four lugs would have allowed it to be suspended to keep the contents out of reach of insects or animals.

3. (Louise Cort, 6 August 2003) A squat, unglazed jar of related size (height 17.1 cm), shape, and decoration (short, inverted neck with rolled rim; two rows of combing on the shoulder, separated by a raised ridge; four vertical lugs with vertical grooves) belongs to the Mitsui Bunko, Japan, a distinguished collection of art related to the tea ceremony.  The jar is provided with a concave earthenware lid for use as a tea-ceremony water jar. Both jar and lid would have reached Japan during trade with Vietnam in the sixteenth or early seventeenth century (Chadō Shiryōkan 2002, no. 26).  Other jars of related form are also illustrated (ibid., nos. 10–12). This must have been a standard stoneware jar shape with a determined use or uses.

The jar is also published in Chadō Shiryōkan 1995, no. 75. The description mentions that the base is somewhat concave. The exhibition also includes one other Southeast Asian jar, used as a kensui (no. 80) and two brass (sawari) bowls (nos. 74, 79, one used as a water jar, the other as a kensui). All are dated 16th–17th century.

Chadō Shiryōkan, ed. 2002. Wabicha ga tsutaeta meiki—Tōnan Ajia no chadōgu [Famous objects handed down in wabi tea—Southeast Asian tea utensils]. Kyoto: Chadō Shiryōkan.

Chadō Shiryōkan, ed. 1995. Mitsui Bunkō no meihin (Famous objects in the Mitsui Bunko). Kyoto: Chadō Shiryōkan.

4. (Louise Cort, 7 August 2003) The Harrison identification of such jars as Cambodian from the Ban Kruat kiln group is incorrect, based on oversimplified association of the combed decor. The Ban Kruat kilns (see sherds in the Freer Study Collection) did not produce unglazed brown stoneware of this type.

5. (Louise Cort, 21 August 2003) It is likely that this jar would have been fitted originally with a lid.

6. (Louise Cort, 29 December 2004) The same type of neck appears on a larger (h. 59 cm), unglazed stoneware jar that bears three applied ridges on the shoulder, filled with appliquéd figures of molded fish. The jar was excavated from Hiep An, Kinh Mon district, Hai Duong province, in November, 1985, and is now in the Hai Duong Museum (HD 1). The jar is dated Tran dynasty, 13th–14th century (Bộ Văn Hóa-Thông Tin and Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam 2003, 320, no. 343). My photograph of the jar (1990) is published in 217, pl. 82. As excavated, the jar was filled with Yuan dynasty Chinese blue-and-white ceramics.

Bộ Văn Hóa-Thông Tin (Ministry of Culture-Information), and Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam (National Museum of Vietnamese History). 2003. Cồ Vật Việt Nam (Vietnamese Antiquities). Ha Noi: Viện Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam and Bộ Văn Hóa–Thông Tin.

Stevenson, John, and John Guy, eds. 1997. Vietnamese Ceramics, A Separate Tradition. Chicago: Art Media Resources.

7. (Louise Cort, 11 October 2005) Comments from Morimoto Asako, archaeologist specializing in Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics recovered from Hakata [Fukuoka], Short-term Visitor to study the Hauge collection:

She originally identified this jar and S2005.137, a larger vessel in the same ware, as from Northern Vietnam. Subsequently she noticed that the rim form is of a characteristic Central Vietnam type, like that of the vessels known in Japan as kiridame (see S2005.134 and 135). The upright neck is slightly concave on the internal surface, and the rim is flat. The ear form is also characteristic of Central Vietnam. The difference in color on the rim and neck of this jar indicates that it once had a lid, which was fired in place.

8. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2005) Preparing for her presentation to the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group, Morimoto Asako grouped S2005.134–135 and 137–138 as related. S2005.134 and 135 are more concretely identified as coming from the My Xuyen kilns, north of Hue.

9. (Louise Cort, 29 January 2007) A small jar of this type, with short upright neck and two relief ridges on the shoulder framing wavy lines incised with a comb, but without lugs, and paired with a cap-shaped lid that fits over the rim, is placed by Kikuchi Seiichi among his Jars and Bottles Type I in his classification of unglazed stoneware from Vietnam based on his excavations at Hoi An (Kikuchi 1997, 188, fig. f). He describes the body of vessels in this group as containing small amounts of white sand. Type II bears vertical lugs. He mentions that stoneware of this type was made until recently at the Phuoc Tich kilns near Hue (modern successors to the My Xuyen kilns active in the 16th–17th century). The published jar belongs to the Thanh Luong temple in Hoi An, where it was used to hold cremated human remains.

Kikuchi Seiichi. 1997. "Hoi An shutsudo no tōjiki (Ceramics excavated from Hoi An)." Betonamu no Nihonmachi—Hoi An no kōkogaku chōsa [A Japanese Town in Vietnam—Archaeological investigations of Hoi An]. Shōwa Joshi Daigaku Kokusai Bunka Kenkyūjo kiyō (Showa Women's University Institute of International Culture Bulletin) 4: 173–181 (Chapter 7, part 1).

10. (Louise Cort, 27 May 2007) On view in the Binh Duong Museum in Thu Dau Mot are pots dated to the 16th–17th centuries collected along—or within—the Dong Nai River. They include a large jar resembling S2005.155; a tall, smooth cylindrical jar with slightly curving walls and four small lugs applied just below the rim over incised lines (resembling S2004.211 and S2005.178); two shorter, wider cylindrical jars with slightly curving slides and vertical lugs applied over incised lines at mid-shoulder (resembling S2004.206 and S2004.208); a pot resembling S2005.138 but without lugs; and a cylindrical wide-mouthed pot with a band of jabbed decor using a four-toothed comb resembling the decoration on the round jar S2005.142.

11. (Louise Cort, 31 May 2007) The Khanh Hoa Museum, Nha Trang, owns five jars of this type. They were recovered from the site of Lu Cam, five kilometers upriver from Nha Trang, where ceramics dated to the 18th–20th century have been recovered from the riverbed and where pottery kilns have operated since the 19th century. One jar (h. 14.0 cm, diam. mouth 8.2~10 cm, diam. base 10.5 cm; acc. no. U10) is made of fine-grained clay, with a string-cut base, and has no lugs on the shoulder. Another jar (acc. no. U11) bears four small lugs. Some other jars have flat bases, quite similar to this jar. All the jars show "shadows" of lighter clay on the mouth rim and upper shoulder, indicating that they were partially sheltered during firing by another vessel—or by a lid. The clay is grayish-brown where exposed, reddish-brown where covered.

The museum also has a concave earthenware lid with knob, of the type used as lid on the "tea ceremony water jar" of this type in the Mitsui Bunko and associated with kilns in the Ayutthaya region of Thailand.

12. (Louise Cort, 9 January 2012) A jar is this type was in the collection of the industrialist and tea practitioner Fujita Kosetsu, founder of the Fujita Museum in Osaka, and was auctioned in the second sale of his collection in 1934, no. 156. It was described as a tea-ceremony water jar (mizusashi) and had been paired with a Southeast Asian earthenware domed lid with large knob. The price realized was 5,800 yen.

Kosetsusai zohin tenran zuroku, 1934. Collection of Baron Fujita, auctioned at Osaka Bijutsu Club, 5 April 1934.

13. (Louise Cort, 25 May 2013) A larger unglazed brown stoneware jar (height approx. 35 cm.) with related short neck, tiers of combed decoration on the shoulder, and vertical lugs was excavated in 2003 from a site in Kyoto north of Oike Street between Yanagi-no-bamba and Tominokoji streets. During the Edo period the site was a residential area. A large, flat lid of the same ware, suited to a larger jar, was also recovered. Also found in this excavation were two jars from the Maenam Noi kilns in Thailand related in form to S2005.315.

Kyoto-shi Maizo Bunkazai Kenkyujo (Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute). 2004. Heian-kyo Sakyo Sanjo Shiho Jumachi seki, fig. 40, nos. 256, 257.

14. (Louise Cort, 22 Dec 2014) According to archaeologists Kikuchi Sei'ichi and Abe Yuriko, this jar could well be a product of the Phuoc Tich kilns. The nearby My Xuyen kilns began production in the 16th century, expanded in the 17th century to Phuoc Tich, and ceased production at the end of the 17th century or into the 18th century.

A jar of this type was recovered from the early 17th century site of the residence of the Nagasaki magistrate (bugyo).

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