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

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Cooking pot with paddle impressed texture

  • Unglazed earthenware
  • 14.9 x 27.1 cm
  • 15th-16th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Chao Phraya River network, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.192

Description

Pot of compressed globular form with angular shoulder, broad cylindrical neck, two grooves inside flared mouthrim and round bottom.
Clay: earthenware with white impurities, granular; smoke-blackened during firing.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: paddled with herringbone design on exterior of body. Paddled with hatching (parallel lines) on base.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 21, 2003) Similar pots of this type with long neck were recovered from a mid-16th century shipwreck, Ko Si Chang Three. This is the third wreck site discovered near Ko Si Chang in the Gulf of Thailand. It carried material from Thailand, Vietnam and China. Stoneware storage jars were the main finds in this site. Green and Harper refer to earthenware pots with pressed (paddled) decoration as rice pots and classify the finds in the Ko Si Chang Three into four groups: i) Large with long flared neck; ii) Medium and small-sized globular-shaped; iii) Medium and small-sized, square at shoulder; iv) Wide-mouthed. They were found on all shipwrecks along the Gulf of Thailand, possibly used by the crew for cooking. Pot of this type should belong to the group iii (Green and Harper 1986, 56–61).

Green, Jeremy, Rosemary Harper, and Vidya Intakosi. 1987. The Ko Si Chang Three Shipwreck Excavation 1986. Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 4. Fremantle: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 23, 2003) Spinks writes that the squat-shaped earthenware pots of this type were made at kilns along the Maenam Chao Phraya river in Ayutthaya during the Ayutthaya period (AD 1350–1763). Yet, no exact kiln site has been reported (Spinks 1976, 188–189, pl. 5).

Spinks, Charles N. 1976. "The Ayuddhaya Period Earthenwares, some Contemporary Thai Kilns, their Wares and Potting methods." The Journal of the Siam Society 64(2): 188–201.

3. (Louise Cort, 21 August 2003) According to Victor Hauge when we collected this vessel from his home on 24 January 2003, it had been acquired in Saigon. I wonder whether it might be the product of an ethnic Khmer potter working in the Mekong River delta.

4. (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 16th–18th century to 17th–mid 20th century.

5. (Louise Cort, 5 June 2007) Shown a photograph, the director and curator of the Quang Ngai Provincial Museum, Quang Ngai, did not recognize this pot as a local product.

6. (Louise Cort, 8 February 2008) In form of rim and body and in the nature of the carved design on the paddle used to shape and texture the body of this pot, it clearly belongs to the (or a) family of pots made by potters working along the Chao Phraya River. Like stoneware jars made at the Maenam Noi kilns and shipped out of Ayutthaya that sometimes made their way around to southern and central Vietnam, earthenware pots made along the Chao Phraya River network made their way there as well (for example, a pots of Chao Phraya River network type in the collection of the Ba Ria Vung Tau Museum; see S2005.391).

Other Chao Phraya River network pots of similar shape and size as this one are S2005.400 and S2005.401. The shape—with mouth almost as wide as the diameter of the body and a sharp angle between the shoulder and base of the neck—relates to pots from the Ko Si Chang Three shipwreck classified by Green, Harper, and Intakosi (1987, 60–61) as "square at shoulder" and described by Green and Harper (1987, 18, fig. 17b) as "medium, squared neck."

The pattern appears to resemble that on a pot with herringbone pattern on the lower body and a wide band of a different pattern around the neck, with a grey buff body, from the Ko Si Chang One shipwreck (Green and Harper 1987, 18, fig. 17a: KSC1 1983 49). Green and Harper add that "similar" vessels were recovered from the Pattaya, Ko Khram, Ko Si Chang Two, Ko Si Chang Three, Ko Kradat, Ko Samui, and Sha Tsui shipwrecks.  According to Brown (2004), the dates for these shipwrecks span the 15th and 16th centuries.

Changed Origin from Probably Southern Vietnam to Central Thailand, Chao Phraya River network.

Green, Jeremy, Rosemary Harper, and Vidya Intakosi. 1987. The Ko Si Chang Three Shipwreck Excavation 1986. Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 4. Fremantle: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

Green, Jeremy, and Rosemary Harper. 1987. The Maritime Archaeology of Shipwrecks and Ceramics in Southeast Asia. Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 4. Fremantle: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

Brown, Roxanna Maude. 2004. "The Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia". Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles.


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