Jar with incised and combed decoration

  • Stoneware with fly-ash deposit
  • 24.3 x 23.4 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Central Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.142

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 19 May 2005) Possibly from Dan Kwian, Khorat province, Thailand.

2. (Louise Cort, 12 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramics specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, noted a relationship of the mode of decoration on this jar to that of the group of round jars found in the Mekong River delta, S2004.213–223, especially to S2004.219, although this jar is coarser in workmanship. Those round jars and this rounded jar probably were intended for the same sort of use.

The decoration on this jar also relates it to the decoration on the neck of the nuoc mam container, S2004.206.

3. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) On 10 March 2006, I saw a larger jar of this type in the household of a man in the Ma ethnic group village of Bao Lam, Loc Tan commune, Bao Loc district, Lam Dong province. The jar measured h. 30.0 cm, diam. 28.0 cm, diam. of mouth 10.0 cm, diam. of base 15.0 cm. The neck was 3.3 cm tall. The shoulder bore five horizontal incised single lines, between each pair of which were intermittent short impressions of a comb-like tool with four teeth. The jar's lower body showed clear traces of coiling. The base was flat, with traces of having been pulled rather than cut off the wheel head. The surface was brownish and somewhat lustrous from having melted at high heat. The owner told us the jar type was known as ‘rav eh’ in the Ma language. It was used to make rice wine for a few guests.

4. (Louise Cort, 2 February 2007) A similar bottle, with several horizontal incised lines around the shoulder and one row of diagonal "jabbed" pattern, was in the collection of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, when I visited storage on 24 February 2006 (acc. no. 51.02.06.224). When collected from the kitchen of the owner in a commune in Hue province, where it had been used to store black pepper and rice, the owner said it had been made thirty years earlier (circa 1970) in My Xuyen, Phong Hoa village, Phong Dien district, Thua Thien Hue province. Many jars like this were in use, in both poor and rich households. They had no role in ceremonies.

5. (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.

6. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2007) The storeroom of the Binh Thuan Museum, Phan Thiet, holds one large bottle of this type (BTBT 1697/Gm 128). A design of incised lines alternating with bands of a repeated incised pattern covers the upper half of the bottle; the marks are sloppy crescent ("smile") shapes quickly incised (seemingly with the same tool as used for the grooves) as the bottle spun on the wheel.

7. (Louise Cort, 30 May 2007) The Ninh Thuan Museum, Phan Rang, owns one jar of this type (h. 31.0 cm, diam. 30 cm, diam. mouth 10.5 cm; no acc. no.). Like the rim of this jar, the rim rolls outward. The shoulder bears eight incised grooves alternating with decor applied with a comb tool—not in neat jabs but in hasty swipes that undulate, so that the effect is almost a continuous wavy band of combing. A coating of yellow mostly-unmelted ash covers the shoulder. The dark clay body contains white granules. This jar was acquired in Bac Ai district, perhaps therefore from a Raglai community.

8. (Louise Cort, 31 May 2007) The manner of decoration on the shoulder of this jar closely resembles the decoration on a cylindrical jar with rounded sides in the collection of the Khanh Hoa Museum, Nha Trang. The jar (h. 26.5 cm, diam. 22.0 cm; acc. no. LS 5) bears two straight bands around the shoulder below the mouth rim, executed with a 4-tooth comb tool, framing a quickly-executed series of "swiped" marks made with the same tool. The body is reddish-brown and contains white granules; the upper surface is gray and dusted with ochre unmelted ash below the mouth. The jar was recovered from the site of Lu Cam, five kilometers upriver from Nha Trang, where ceramics dating to the 18th–20th century have been recovered from the riverbed and where pottery kilns have operated since the 19th century (See S2004.195–212).

9. (Louise Cort, 22 Dec 2014) According to archaeologists Kikuchi Sei'ichi and Abe Yuriko, jars like this were made at kilns in Quang Binh province.


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