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

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Jar with six vertical lugs and applied decoration

  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 49.7 x 27.5 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Central Vietnam
  • Provenance: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.152

Description

Jar of cylindrical form with broad, round shoulder tapering towards foot and flat base, tall neck with rolled rim. Six grooved loop handles on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware, smooth.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: two rows of bosses below the loop handles.

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: 66, 435–436.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, July 30, 2002) Same family as Hauge numbers 12, 14, 17 (S2005.172– 173, 177).

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 29, 2003) Compare shape of S2005.171, unglazed stoneware jar possibly made in the Tuy Hoa kilns, Phu Yen Province, in Central Vietnam.

3. (Louise Cort, 28 January 2005) Marie-France Dupoizat reproduces this jar with reference to jars of the same sort in the catalogue prepared in the 1930s by Paul Guilleminet (1888–1966) of the indigenous connoisseurship of various types of jars used by the Bahnars in the central highlands of Vietnam. (He conducted his research while living in Kon Tum.) The Hauge jar resembles his Family XIX, type 1, "dull brown in color, with a decor of pearls placed around the shoulder, six ears with three or four ridges, the height varying between 30 and 50 centimeters. The body of a form intermediate between Type 2 and Type 7, the neck nearly conical and the opening with a small rim." The value of such a jar was between five piastres and five buffaloes depending on workmanship (Dupoizat 1988, 66).

Dupoizat classified this jar (her H11) among her "Cham jars" (Dupoizat 1988, 435–436). The jar weighs 8 kg.

She pointed out a longstanding oral tradition among the ethnic minorities living in the uplands that certain jars were "Cham" (ibid., 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" (ibid., 428).

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.

4. (Louise Cort, 13 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:

Jars of this shape, with this type of lug, were found in surface collections at the kiln sites in Cay Me, near Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh province, in Central Vietnam.

5. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2005) Preparing for her talk to the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group, Morimoto Asako grouped S2005.152 (closely related in form to S2005.176), S2005.153, and S2005.154 as from related kilns.

6. (Louise Cort, 18 February 2006) According to Dr. Ba Trung 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 were used by the Jarai and the Chulung, ethnic groups living in the central highlands of Vietnam.

7. (Louise Cort, 18 February 2006) A photograph (roll 50, no. 13) taken by Peggy Sanday in a Jarai community near Pleiku in the summer of 1995 shows a jar of this type used as part of the installation for the Grave of the King of Fire. The lower half of the jar is buried in the loose earth, within an enclosure, and some empty glass bottles and porcelain bowls are grouped around it.

8. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) Dr. Luu Hung and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong Mai, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, pointed out that what appears to be a Cham phonetic syllable (or a flower?) is incised on the shoulder between two of the lugs. This should be checked with Dr. Ba Trung Phu, Cham curator at the History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

9. (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 18th–19th century to 17th–19th century.

10. (Louise Cort, 25 May 2007) A smaller jar of this unglazed type, with four lugs and two rows of applied dots around the shoulder, also bore two smaller jars attached to the shoulder opposite one another. This format is the "mother and child" jar, of great importance and value to jar-using groups in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The jar was on display in an antique shop in Ho Chi Minh City.

11. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2007) The storeroom of the Binh Thuan Museum, Phan Thiet, houses one large (h. 49 cm) jar of this type (BTBT Gm 134). It was collected from a community of the K'ho ethnic group, La Da commune, Ham Thuan Bac district.

12. (Louise Cort, 4 June 2007) A small, rather crudely formed jar of this type was in the storeroom of the Binh Dinh Provincial Museum, Quy Ngon (h. 16.5 cm, diam. of mouth 8.5 cm). The everted rim was thick. The four lugs, applied on the shoulder, were elongated and quickly shaped. They lay over two applied ridges framing a band of undulating combing. The unglazed clay was smooth on the body, but on the string-cut base many white granules and even a few larger pebbles could be seen. The color ranged from brown to orange (in a shadow where the heat had been diverted by another vessel).

13. (Louise Cort, 5 June 2007) In the Quang Ngai Provincial Museum, Quang Ngai, a jar of this shape (h. 52 cm), with long conical neck and everted rim, six vertical grooved lugs positioned around the base of the neck, and two rows of applied bosses on the upper shoulder, also bore a design of an incised dragon covering most of the body, beneath a coating of dark amber (wood-ash?) glaze. It was said to have been made by Kinh (Viet) potters but collected from a Cor ethnic community. The Cor live in Tra Bong district on the border with Quang Nam province.

14. (Louise Cort, 6 June 2007) Unglazed brown jars of this type are still made at a workshop in My Thien, Chau O village, Binh Son district, near the northern border of Quang Ngai province. The workshop is located south of the bridge over the Tra Bong River at Chau O and west along the river. The workshop is operated by a husband and wife, Deng Van Trinh, age 45, and Pham Thi Thu Cuc, age 41. The husband said he is the fifth generation in his family to operate the workshop. His son is studying to be a doctor, so he will be the last generation. His family came here from Thanh Hoa province in northern Vietnam, and her family came from Quang Ngai, although their ancestors too were originally from Thanh Hoa.

The whole area of My Thien used to be full of workshops making pots, with seven or so kilns (used cooperatively?), fired with coal and wood, but most ceased production during the French war. Products of the workshop are marketed to Hoi An, Hanoi, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and Ho Chi Minh City. Some lime-paste pots are sent to Taiwan. S2005.153 and 154 are especially close in style of decoration, with folded vertical lugs applied over raised ridges framing incised combing, to the jars made here, and Cuc identified photographs of them as "theirs."

Cuc is the potter, and her mother (Nguyen Thi Nguyen, age 62) assists by kicking the wheel, which is a ball-bearing wheel set low above the ground surface. (Older wheels were wooden wheels that turned on a pivot set in the ground and were lubricated with vegetable oil.) Cuc makes a small jar by forming the upper and lower halves separately, using a process of coiling and throwing, then joining the two halves at once. (Larger jars are made in up to five sections.) Trinh and Cuc work together to add the lugs and two rows of bosses (applied over guidelines incised on the shoulder, one line for each row).

15. (Louise Cort, 7 June 2007) Three staff members of the Hoi An Municipal Museum, Quang Nam, commented that they had found jars like this in Hoi An, although without applied bosses. They were still used by people living here.

The Museum of Trade Ceramics displayed the rim of a jar of this type, said to have been recovered from the 129 Tran Phu site (a shophouse). It was dated "17th–19th century."

16. (Louise Cort, 14 June 2007) Dr. Nguyen Dinh Chien, Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi, suggests a date of 18th century for this jar, although he is not sure of the place of manufacture.

17. (Louise Cort, 7 October 2008) During our research trip in the Central Highlands with Dr. Luu Hung, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, in March 2006, we learned that jars like this one with rows of clay bosses around the shoulder were thought of as female because the bosses were interpreted as "necklaces." (The lugs, or "ears," of such jars were decorated for festival display with copper bracelets.) In an Ede Bih household in Dak Lak province, one such jar was termed che po ne (female che po). In an Ede Kba village in the same province, one jar was termed k'tem from the verb tem, "to wear a necklace." Necklaces were important possessions of women, and men also wore them for major rituals.

18. (Louise Cort, 14 November 2014) Curators at the Khanh Hoa Provincial Museum, Nha Trang, during a visit on 31 May 2007, identified this jar as a type formerly made at kilns once active in the districts of Ninh Hoa and Khanh Vinh, to the interior from Nha Trang, as was S2005.174. S2005.170 and 171 were also identified as coming from Khanh Vinh, S2005.172, 173, and 177 as from Ninh Hoa. S2005.178 was associated with Ninh Hoa as well as Lu Cam, a kiln upriver from Nga Trang.


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