Jar with four vertical lugs, combed, applied, and incised decoration

  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 43 x 27.5 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Central Vietnam
  • Provenance: Saigon, Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.153


Jar of cylindrical form with broad, round shoulder tapering towards foot and flat base, tall neck with rolled rim. Four loop handles on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware, smooth.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: alternating bands of incised wavy lines and combed decoration around the shoulder; 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: 433–434.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, July 30, 2002) Compare S2005.114. According to Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Dao, who helped collect this jar from the Hauges' home, a jar like it in the Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City, was purchased from someone who did not know the source of the jar but who lived in Central Vietnam.

2. (Louise Cort, 28 January 2005) Marie-France Dupoizat classified this jar (her H9) among her "Cham jars" (Dupoizat 1988, 433–434). The jar weighs 5 kg. She compared the decor on her jar no. 147, which is similar to S2005.114.

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.

3. (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:

The jars S2005.153 and S2005.154 come from the same place, as shown by the clay, the shape of the neck and lugs, and the decor. Both jars were shaped in two stages, with a seam at mid-body. In addition, the body of S2005.153 was trimmed from the base all the way to the shoulder. She is now certain that they are from Central Vietnam. The body shape (in relation to Chinese jars) suggests a date in the 18th or 19th century.

4. (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.

5. (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 were used by the Jarai and the Chulung, ethnic groups living in the central highlands of Vietnam.

6. (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.

7. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) Dr. Luu Hung, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, noted that we had seen jars with applied ridges like this one during our research trip to the Central Highlands in March. (See S2005.154.) Applied dots of clay as decoration are popular only in the Central Highlands and the south of Vietnam, not in the north.

8. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2006) A long neck of an unglazed brown stoneware jar was excavated from the My Son G group, outside the enclosing wall to the east and north (if I recall correctly), together with Chinese qingbai boxes dating (TL) to 12th–13th century and Longquan ware celadon-glazed lotus bowls, according to a report by Federico Barocco at the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeology meeting in September.

9. (Louise Cort, 14 January 2007) A jar of related ware and form, with three applied ridges around the shoulder interspersed with wavy combing, with four ornamental lugs attached below the lowest ridge, and with incised images of birds, bears an inscription giving the date corresponding to 1637 along with the name and residence of the owner (Bộ Văn Hóa-Thông Tin and Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam 2003, fig. 350). The use of the Duong Hoa reign name (1635–1643), associated with the Later Le dynasty, suggests a source in the north.

Bộ Văn Hóa-Thông Tin (Ministry of Culture-Information), and Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam (National Museum of Vietnamese History). 2003. Cồ Vật Việt Nam (Vietnamese Antiquities). Ha Noi: Viện Bảo Tàng Lịch Sử Việt Nam and Bộ Văn Hóa–Thông Tin.

10. (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.

11. (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).

12. (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).

13. (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."

14. (Louise Cort, 14 June 2007) Dr. Nguyen Dinh Chien, Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi, suggests a date of 18th or 19th century for this jar. The form is similar to that of glazed jars dated to that period.

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