Jar with four vertical lugs and incised decoration

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 51.7 x 30.4 cm
  • Quang Duc ware
  • 18th-mid 20th century, Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: Phu Yen province, Central Vietnam
  • Provenance: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.176

Description

Jar of ovoid form with rounded shoulder tapered towards foot and flat base, long neck, flared mouth with rolled rim, four grooved loop handles with pressed ends on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware.
Glaze: red-brown, glossy, marred by many pinholes and seashell scars, blistering on neck and mouth; unglazed interior.
Decoration: decorated with seven bands of incised decoration begin from shoulder down to the foot: Flower heads in the first band, stylised 'bird in flight' design and undulating lines in the second band, flower head alternate with leafy spray in the central band, four bands of undulating lines on foot.

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: 76, 501–502.

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 Hauge 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. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 29, 2003) David Rehfuss (collector of Vietnamese Ceramics and president of the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group, WOCG) showed me a photograph that he took from a two-week study tour to Vietnam in October–November 1999, organized by the Asian Ceramics Research Organization, ACRO. The photograph has a gourd shaped bottle and a lime pot with a broken handle coated with plenty of sea shells. They show similar glazing technique as this vessel. These 'sea-shell glazed wares' were products of Tuy Hoa, capital township of Phu Yen province in Central Vietnam. (Tuy Hoa Town is situated on the banks of the mouth of the Da Rang River.)

I quote David's notes:

"Phu Yen Province in Central Vietnam has made ceramics with sea shells from the 18th century until 1945. The addition of calcium makes a very fine shiny glaze, a Chinese technique imported from South China. Phu Yen province is on the coast, south of Binh Dinh province. Kiln was found along a river (possibly *Da Rang River). The kiln site is well known. Professor Trinh Cao Truong (a practicing archaeologist working for the Institute of Archaeology in Hanoi) said that shells were put in kiln chamber for glaze-making. Quang Nam province and Phu Yen province are two centers making 'sea-shell' glazed large jars, yet it is the most common product in Phu Yen province. Professor Truong says that there are many examples in the Phu Yen Provincial Museum in Tuy Hoa (the capital township of Phu Yen province)."

3. (Louise Cort, 12 June 2003). The collector Jochen May owns an "Oc Eo" bowl with impressed shell marks, which I saw on a visit to his home in Neustadt, Germany, in September 1998.

4. (Louise Cort, 29 January 2004)  Potter Mark Hewitt, Pittsboro, North Carolina, said that the reddish flush in the glaze on this jar came from iron, not reduced copper, and was the result of the iron's interacting with calcium (from the sea shells amongst which the jar was fired). In effect, this jar bears a salted ash glaze, similar to the glazes that Mark produces. The jar was fired to a very hot temperature, a condition which can result in ethereal colors such as the red. Vertical streaks show that the glaze was painted on. Where thin, it interacted with the iron-rich clay underneath. Mark suggested it would be good to try to find out whether anyone is alive who knows how the kilns were stacked.

5. (Louise Cort, 28 January 2005) Marie-France Dupoizat documents this jar as her H22; it weighs 7 kg (Dupoizat 1988, 499–500). She groups jars with shell adhesions on the base and body among her Vietnamese jars but comments, "They were made in Vietnam, but we know nothing of their kilns of origin or their date of fabrication, except that they seem to me to be recent in date: 18–19th century" (ibid., 495).

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.

6. (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:

Compare the jar form and shape of the lugs to S2005.152 (which she says resembles jars found from surface finds at the kiln sites in Cay Me, near Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh province, in Central Vietnam).

This jar appears to come from the same family as S2005.153 and 154 but to be later in date. Both the ears and the shape relate this jar and S2005.152 to Guangdong. This jar was not trimmed as much as S2005.153.

This jar also bears a relationship to S2005.172.

7. (Louise Cort, 24 May 2007) Two much more elaborately decorated jars of this ware are in the collection of the Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City. Both were seized by customs and turned over to the museum. Jar 6485 (h. 32 cm) bears four lugs and a double row of applied dots around the shoulder just below the lugs. Hand-modeled figures of lizards are applied to the shoulders between the lugs. The bare body bears a design of a dragon executed with painted white slip and incised details, reminiscent of the approach to decorating water jars at the kilns in Ratchaburi, Thailand, that were established by immigrant potters from Guangdong. The glaze is shiny and black on the body but matte on the shoulder. The inside is unglazed. The flat base (diam. 12 cm) is encrusted with the remnants of small shells.

The second jar (6431, h. 33.0 cm) is much more clumsily formed, with an elongated neck but no clear definition of the shoulder. Around the shoulder is a painted band of white slip, combined with hastily incised designs too abstract to interpret. The lower body is incised with bands of alternating straight and wavy lines. Over the white slip, the glaze appears green; over the rest of the body, it appears reddish-brown because of the color of the clay body. Shell scars appear on the lower half of the body and the flat base.

8. (Louise Cort, 2 June 2007) The Phu Yen Museum, Tuy Hoa, owns a tall, unglazed jar with six lugs and two rows of applied clay buttons (h. 56 cm, diam. mouth 18 cm, diam. base 16 cm). The dense, dark brown clay body contains numerous white inclusions. Although the surface is matte, the flat base is shiny and shows the scars of many shells. Another, larger jar of the same type (h. 68 cm, diam. 45 cm, diam. mouth 28.5 cm, diam. base 28 cm) shows no traces of shells.

The museum also owns a lime paste pot with a brownish surface and shells adhering to its slightly concave base, a small gourd shaped bottle with greenish glaze and overall shell scars, and a round bottle with shiny black surface and shell scars (diam. base 9.5 cm; acc. no. 1066).

At this museum, all unglazed stoneware was attributed to the Quang Duc kiln site in Tuy An district, 30 kilometers north of Tuy Hoa. During a visit to the kiln on 3 June, we were told by an elderly potter (age 83), that Cham potters had worked there 500 years ago; Chinese potters from Chaozhou, Guangdong province, were here in the 17th–18th century, for three generations only; ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh) potters came three hundred years ago, in the 18th century, from Binh Dinh. Two workshops still operate. According to museum staff, the products used to be shipped by coastal boat south to Nha Trang and north to Binh Dinh province. The elderly potter also spoke of making flower pots to send by boat to Hue.

The kilns also made jars; they were fired in the front of the kiln, where they would become hard, while roof tiles and other products were fired at the back. Jars were made from a green clay, to which no sand was added, while tiles and other soft wares were made from black clay. Both men and women made jars, but in the case of very large ones, women shaped while men turned the wheel. The jars were fired in huge kilns four times the size of the ones presently in use, about 2 meters high at the tallest point within the chamber. The kilns had two fireboxes and two low chimneys about 50 cm tall. Those kilns were in use until the American war (when they were damaged or destroyed by bombing). The various sizes of jars were also understood as standard measures. People came from the mountains to buy then, and local Kinh people took jars into the mountains to trade.

The potter told us he used to use shells in the kiln firing, scattering them between unglazed vessels so they would not stick. Any kind of sea shell (from the beach 4–5 kilometers away) could be used. The shells "became water" and added color to the ceramics.

Meanwhile, south of Tuy Hoa, in Hoa Vinh commune, Tuy Dong district, ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh) potters make earthenware. The potters are women. They have been here seven generations (roughly 140–150 years). The vessel forms include bowls and small jars. Round-bottom cooking pots are shaped on a turntable-like wheel, by a process of coiling onto a flat base, throwing, then scraping inside and outside with a ring-shaped bamboo tool. These pots resemble the pots recovered from a shipwreck site off Vung Tau, together with cylindrical stoneware jars with rounded walls (note above).

9. (Louise Cort, 14 June 2007) According to Dr. Nguyen Dinh Chien, Museum of Vietnamese History, Hanoi, this jar probably dates to the 18th or 19th century.

10. (Louise Cort, 18 July 2016) A jar from this kiln is in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Collection, E404544. It has two rows of bosses circling the shoulder beneath an uneven dark green translucent glaze similar to that on the bottle S2005.156. Shell scars appear on the flat base. The jar was part of a large group of Asian objects given to the NMNH by the Philadelphia Trade and Convention Center. Pending further research in the NMNH archives, it is possible that this jar and the rest of the collection could have come from the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, a component of the Center, established through purchase of items remaining from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, opened in a permanent building in 1899, and closed in 1994.

According to the Thanh Nien News, 23 March 2015 (accessed online), the potter with whom we had spoken, Nguyen Trinh (see Note 7), died in early 2014.

Changed Origin from Tuy Hoa to Quang Duc village; to Ware added Quang Duc ware.


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