Jar with two ornamental lugs and applied decoration

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 64.8 x 51.5 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Lan Sang period or Champassak period
  • Origin: Middle Mekong River network, Probably Southern Laos
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.145

Description

Heavily potted jar with ovoid body, short neck, everted mouth, flat base and two nubs on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware.
Glaze: olive green ash glaze, mottled, runny; foot, base and interior body unglazed.
Decoration: five rope-liked bands round the shoulder and three of them round the lower body.

Published References

1. Dupoizat, Marie-France. 1988. “Recherches sur les Jarres en Asie du Sud-Est.” Ph.D. Thesis, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris: 445–446.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 7 October 2002) A large jar of this type is currently for sale at the Chao Phraya Gallery, Washington DC. The gallery owner, Sopon Geramethakul, acquired the jar in Bangkok from a dealer who said he had bought it in Ubon Ratchathani, in Northeast Thailand, and that it had come across the river from Laos. This information gives evidence for the distribution of such jars from their presumed place of manufacture in coastal central Vietnam not only into the Vietnamese central highlands but also over the mountains into Laos.

2. (Louise Cort, 12 June 2003) When the Hauges acquired these jars, they were told they were "Cham" (according to notes from my visit to the Hauges, 15 March 1984) or "attributed to Champa" (a note from Victor Hauge to me, 26 October 1990). Victor also told me (on a visit to his home, 21 August 1990), that the Vietnamese dealer Ha Duc Kan had said the jars were Cham.

3. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, June 13, 2003) Brown-glazed jars of this type were said to be found at Tung Wang, Ban Koklek, Samphuand sub-district, Muang district, Buriram, Northeast Thailand. They were burial jars containing ashes of deceased or metal fragments of copper, tin or silver (Natthaphat et al. 1989, 78, 123).

Natthaphat Čhanthawit et al. 1989. Khrư̄ang thūai čhāk lǣng taophao Čhangwat Burīram (Ancient kiln sites in Buriram Province). Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

4. (Louise Cort, 30 June 2003) I identify the jars mentioned in the note above with the kilns along the Si Songkhram River in Northeast Thailand. But indeed the physical similarities between the Hauge "Vietnamese" jars and the Si Songkhram river jars are of interest and importance.

5. (Louise Cort, 30 June 2003) Mr. Tran Ky Phuong, independent scholar, Da Nang, has seen many jars of this general type in Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese) farmhouses in central Vietnam and also in homes of upland minority people, who use them for making and serving wine or for storing treasures (such as small Chinese ceramics). These jars were made in the lowlands by Kinh potters and traded to the highlands.
  
 He also commented, however, that he could not remember seeing pots with relief bands such as these. He noted how thin the bodies were, compared to some of the other "Cham" pots (e.g. S2005.171 and 175). We noticed the similarity of the rim form to Khmer ceramics and to jars from Suphanburi and Phitsanulok.

6. (Louise Cort, 21 August 2003) According to archaeologist Miyata Etsuko, who visited the Hauge collection on 17 July 2000, archaeologist Morimoto Asako found sherds of this type of jar in Binh Dinh province in Central Vietnam. The Binh Dinh kiln is estimated to date to the fifteenth century.

7. (Louise Cort, 29 January 2004) Potter Mark Hewitt, Pittsboro, North Carolina, said that S2005.144, 145, and 146 all bear the same glaze; the difference in appearance is the result of firing. Nos. 3 and 1 are underfired. No. 3 was fired in a cool area of the kiln, to around cone 6–7; no. 3 was fired almost to the desired temperature, around cone 8–9. No. 3 is well done at cone 11–12.

8. (Louise Cort, 28 January 2005) Marie-France Dupoizat classified this jar (her H17) among her "Cham jars" (Dupoizat 1988, 433-34). The jar weighs 19.5 kg.

She pointed out a longstanding oral tradition among the ethnic minorities living in the uplands that certain jars were "Cham" (Dupoizat 1988, 427) and were highly valued. She commented, "It seems possible that these jars had been produced by the Chams: for one, they come for the most part from the region of Binh Dinh, and they have a style that is neither Chinese nor Vietnamese. The remarkable Khmer ceramics are known; could it not be possible to argue that the Cham art, influenced by the Khmers, could have been able to produce ceramics-notably these jars-of which the production is understood to date to the 12th through 15th centuries? At Chau-re, six kilometers from Phan Rang, in the province of Binh Thuan, O. Janse recovered, among the fragments of Chinese ceramics dating from Tang through Ming, some sherds of 'red native pottery' for which he suggested a Cham attribution" (Dupoizat 1988, 428).

Regarding the group of jars of this specific type, with "braided" ribs, she notes: "An interesting observation by Mr. Hauge after he bought these jars in Saigon in 1971 is that the mottled glaze of jar no. 18 (S2005.146) is completely identical to that of a glazed work that he had seen on view in the museum in Saigon and also reproduced in Frédéric 1965, p. 348, photo no. 373.  Captioned Yang Mum Jarai, it is a torso of a dvarapala 40 cm high, dated 13th-14th century and partially covered with glaze. Even if these observations do not constitute satisfactory evidence, it is decided to class these jars as Cham by reason of their style of decor and their glaze, which make plausible a date in the 13th-14th century" (Dupoizat 1988, 437).

Dupoizat, Marie-France. 1988. Recherches sur les Jarres en Asie du Sud-Est. Ph.D. Thesis, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Frédéric, Louis. 1965. Sud-Est asiatique: ses temples, ses sculptures (The art of Southeast Asia: temples and sculpture. New York: H. N. Abrams.

9. (Louise Cort, 14 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramics specialist Morimoto Asako observed that the neck and mouth on these "Cham" jars are similar to those of brown-glazed Si Satchanalai jars. The clay is remarkably fine in texture. The string-cut marks on the flat base are parallel and nearly straight, only slightly arced, calling to mind the distinctive manner of cutting the base on jars from the Maenam Si Songkhram kilns in Northeast Thailand.

10. (Louise Cort, 27 October 2005) A smaller jar of this type, perhaps 45 cm in height, is shown in use as a jar for fermenting rice beer in the stoneware-making village of Ban Tha Hin, in Attapeu Province in southern Laos (Shippen 2005, 55 left). I have written to the author to request clarification regarding the relationship of the jar to that village. Attapeu borders central Vietnam to the east, northeast Cambodia to the south, and (beyond Champassak province) Ubon province in Northeast Thailand to the west.

Shippen, Mick. 2005. The Traditional Ceramics of Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

11. (Louise Cort, 8 February 2006) According to Mick Shippen, the jar illustrated in his book (see note 10) is a new type of jar in the village repertory, distinguished by five decorative raised bands and the use of simple ash glaze. The older type of jar is plain and unglazed and still constitutes the majority of pot production in the village. He was told that the new type of jar started to be made in response to a request from customers (location and date not specified).

12. (Louise Cort, 18 February 2006) According to Dr. Phu, a Cham curator at the History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, to whom I showed photographs of this group of jars in February, 1998, they are of the shape known as CHE, usually used for brewing rice beer. They were used by the Cham as well as the Ede and Jarai. They probably date to the 17th–18th century.

13. (Louise Cort, 24 May 2007) The dvarapala figure seen by Victor Hauge in the Museum of Vietnamese History, Saigon (note 8) is accessioned as number 1294 and is said to have come from a temple in Gia Rai province. The clay body is orange-brown and the wood-ash glaze appears yellow-green.

14. (Louise Cort, 24 August 2008) During our research trip to the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 2006, we saw quantities of jars of this type in provincial museum collections in the northern half of the highlands—the Kon Tum Provincial Museum in Kon Tum and the Gia Rai Provincial Museum in Play Cu. This area lies adjacent to northeast Cambodia to the west and not far from the lower border of Laos. Jars of this type were not evident in museums further south in the Central Highlands.

The jars in the Kon Tum museum had been collected in communities of Xe Dang, B'Rau, and Gia Rai. They included a jar with a shiny black glaze, like S2005.144 (museum registration number 836, h. 60 cm), and three jars with thin brown glaze (nos. 710, 671, and another). A jar with thin greenish wood-ash glaze and impressed applied bands on the shoulder, like S2005.145 (no. 3456/2032, h. 45 cm) had been collected from a Xe Dang community located between Kom Tum city and the coast.

In the Gia Rai museum, a jar with five elaborately impressed applied bands on the shoulder and watery dark green wood-ash glaze (no. 731, h. 60 cm) had been acquired from a Gia Rai household to which it had been brought at the time of marriage by the wife, whose family had owned it for over one hundred years, and it was said to be worth ten large cows in exchange. A pair of jars with wood-ash glaze (no. 732/2, h. 58 cm) had been kept in a Gia Rai household as a set of "husband" (worth five water buffalo) and "wife" (worth fifteen large cows).

In January 2007, Leedom Lefferts surveyed holdings of jars in households in Mondolkiri and Rattanakiri provinces, northeast Cambodia. He found no jars of this type in Mondolkiri, to the south (where most jars were brown-glazed jars of the Angkor period or in that style), but he recorded many in Rattanakiri, along the border with southern Laos. In some of the same households he also found jars from the Maenam Noi kilns in Central Thailand.

During a visit to Ban Tha Hin in Attapeu province (see notes 10–11), Leedom Lefferts was told by a potter making versions of this type of jar that he was filling a request from a Vietnamese customer, who had brought old jars to serve as models. Possibly that customer was just taking advantage of the nearest source of new jars—but possibly he was following local lore that associated such jars with a source in Laos.

Circumstantial evidence points to an origin in southern Laos for jars of this type. Geographically, northeast Cambodia would be a possibility, and in certain features—the applied bands on the shoulder and lower body, the pair of nubs on the shoulder—the jars continue design features of Angkor period jars. But the nearly straight parallel lines on the base, indicating that the jar was cut off a stationary rather than revolving wheel—indicate a connection to the jar-making technology of northern and central Laos and Northeast Thailand (S2005.5, S2005.238–334, S2006.1–2).

Changed origin from Central Vietnam to Probably Southern Laos. Changed Period from Later Le or Nguyen dynasty to Lan Sang period or Champassak period.

15. (Louise Cort, 10 July 2012) David Rehfuss pointed out a passage in Gerald Hickey's Sons of the Mountains (Hickey 1982, 297) illuminating the trade between Laos and the Vietnamese Central Highlands through the trading post of Ban Don, established in the mid-19th century on the Lao-Vietnam border. The leader of the post, Khunjnob, conducted a lucrative elephant trade. Most buyers were Lao, who often made their purchases with gongs and jars. Burmese traders brought excellent gongs made in Mandalay and exquisite Burmese swords to trade for elephants.

Hickey, Gerald Cannon. 1982. Sons of the Mountains: Ethnohistory of the Vietnamese Central Highlands to 1954. New Haven: Yale University Press.

16. (Louise Cort, 21 March 2016) A study of a community inhabited by people of Brou (or Brao) ethnicity in Rattanakiri province, northeast Cambodia, along the Se San River and south of the border with Laos, illustrates the use of jars of this type for drinking rice beer (Matras-Troubetsky 1983, pls. 25, 56). The study was conducted in 1966-1968. Other plates show uses of other types of jars: for an offering to the spirits along the entrance road to the village (pl. 26); in the process of consecration (pl. 29); shared by two women (pl. 36); during an agrarian feast (pl. 42); for the "anointing of the seeds" (pl. 56); being refilled with water bought through bamboo pipes befire a ritual opening of two jars in the field house (p. 70, also p. 283); being consecrated before drinking (pl. 71).

Fig. 17, p. 87, shows a house and the position of objects of value, including jars and gongs, along east wall close to the mats used for sleeping by the family members and for visitors. It also shows the location of the jar during a feast, attached to a post close to the opposite wall.

A brief description of the preparation of rice beer, using various wild plants, is given on p. 379.

Matras-Troubetzkoy, Jacqueline. 1983. Un village en for?t: L'essartage chez les Brou du Cambodge. Paris: SELAF.


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