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

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  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 10.9 x 11.7 cm
  • 16th-18th century, Restored Later Le or Tay Son dynasty
  • Origin: Probably Central Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.140


Jar of ovoid form with short neck, flared mouth and flat base with whorl-shaped mark left by using twisted cord to slice finished vessel off lump of clay.
Clay: red stoneware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: none.

Curatorial Remarks

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

This jar and S2005.141 are the same ware. They appear to be Vietnamese rather than Chinese. The bases are string-cut in a whorl, with no additional trimming. They are not from northern Vietnam but from Central Vietnam (or, if from the south, they are comparatively new, dating to the 18th century or later).

Compare the form and detail of S2005.206, a jar fired just to earthenware temperature. (That jar is identified as from Thailand or China; it was acquired in Chiang Mai province.)

2. (Louise Cort, 17 October 2005) Changed Origin from Vietnam? to Vietnam, Central Vietnam.

3. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2005) Morimoto Asako observed that the bases of S2005.140 and S2005.168 both show string-cutting marks turning to the right.

4. (Louise Cort, 19 October 2006) A jar of this shape, slightly larger in size (h. 19 cm, diam. 19 cm), with four lugs flattened against the shoulder just below the angle of the neck like S2005.141, in the collection of the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (acc. no. 71.1968.2.167) was collected by Daniel Leger from a Bahnar Jolong community in Kon Tum province, Central Highlands, Vietnam. Leger describes it as of "local fabrication, possibly from a Cham ceramic tradition," and states that it was a funerary jar (‘jo tokeng’).

A second jar of the same type, and of a size close to S2005.141 (h.12.5 cm, diam. 13.0 cm), was also collected by Leger (71.1968.2.168 D). He describes the use of the jar as follows: (1) "primary" use for (a) exchange (?) or (b) container for fermented rice beer; (2) "secondary" use as a funerary jar, one of the last presents offered to the deceased before the abandonment of the tomb.

A third jar of the same type collected by Leger (71.1968.2.166, h. 17 cm, diam .17 cm) was also used secondarily in funerary ritual.

5. (Louise Cort, 28 May 2007) The ceramics storeroom of the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa contains ceramics recovered within the province, primarily from the Dong Nai River, especially in the vicinity of Bien Hoa. The collection includes quite a few jars of this general size and shape (for example, LS995/G571; LS means "recovered from river"; G means earthenware [gom]).

6. (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.

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