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

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Jar with four ornamental lugs and combed decoration

  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 13.9 x 13.7 cm
  • 16th-18th century, Restored Later Le or Tay Son dynasty
  • Origin: Central Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.141


Jar of globular form with tall neck, flared mouth, flat string-cut base incised with large "X", and three knobs on the shoulder.
Clay: reddish grey stoneware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: a circular ridge and combed lines on the shoulder.

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 S2005.140 are the same ware. They appear to be Vietnamese rather than Chinese. The bases are string-cut in a whorl, with no additional trimming. In addition, this jar has an X incised on the base. 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.

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

3. (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, 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 (acc. no. 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 (acc. no. 71.1968.2.166, h. 17 cm, diam. 17 cm) was also used secondarily in funerary ritual.

4. (Louise Cort, 23 May 2007) An unglazed jar of reddish clay with body and neck form very close to this one, with four lugs placed over a band of wavy rather than straight combing on the shoulder at the base of the neck, is in the Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City (acc. no. 21250). The lugs are of the same sort--they rise up from their attachment point toward the neck, then fold over and down, and the tip, slightly narrower than the base, folds up again.

This jar was excavated in Cay Lay district, Tien Giang province, in the Mekong Delta.  Excavated along with it were a round bottle with short neck and horizontal bands of alternating straight and wavy combing covering the upper half of the body (see S2004.213–223), a tall slender jar with rounded body and lugs applied over two incised bands just below the wide mouth (see S2004.208), a small wheel-thrown wide-mouth bowl with thick rolled rim (see S2004.11533–156), and four small, paddle-shaped wide-mouth earthenware pots (see S2004.113–122). All those vessel types were acquired by the Hauges as "Oc Eo" wares, based on Malleret's identification.

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, without lugs, but with a defining ridge at the join of shoulder and neck (for example, LS995/G571; LS means "recovered from river"; G means earthenware [gom]).

6. (Louise Cort, 30 May 2007) The Ninh Thuan Museum, Phan Rang, owns one jar of this type (h. 29 cm, no acc. no., no information on provenance). Like this smaller jar, it has a squared mouth rim and a row of combing on the shoulder just at the join with the neck, over which are laid four minute pseudo lugs, with their ends attached to the bottom of the combed band, folded at the top of the band and slightly twisted to the right, and the tips folded down, extending a bit beyond the band onto the shoulder. These lugs associate both these jars with the cylindrical jars that bear similar lugs (S2004.195–212). The jar's dark brown clay body is similar in texture to this jar, with few white granules. The base does not show a string-cutting mark; instead, the uneven surface suggests that the jar was shaped by coiling onto a lump of clay that formed the base, then throwing. (Its larger size would make that a suitable method.) The jar's body was dented during firing.

7. (Louise Cort, 5 June 2007) The Quang Ngai Provincial Museum, Quang Ngai, owns what appears to be a larger jar (h 43 cm, diam. 36 cm, diam. mouth 20 cm, diam. base 20 cm) made at the same kiln, judging from the clay body and finish. The neck is cylindrical, ending with a small rolled rim. Four vertical, fan-shaped lugs ending in round dots sit on the shoulder above four spaced incised lines. The area between the lowest two lines is filled with diagonal "jabbing" with a combing tool. The museum bought the jar (registered as 101/01.SC) four years ago from the house of a person in Ly Son district.

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