Dish with combed decoration

  • Stoneware with celadon glaze and iron wash on the base
  • 7 x 25.4 cm
  • 15th-16th century, First Toungoo dynasty
  • Origin: Irrawaddy Delta kilns, Lower Burma
  • Provenance: Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.210


Dish with shallow curving sides, everted rim, broad footring, recessed base.
Clay: buff stoneware.
Glaze: grassy green, glossy, translucent, finely crazed; pooled at medallion; footrim glazed, brown wash on perimeter of unglazed base.
Decoration: four groups of combed vertical lines on cavetto.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 21 August 2003) Victor Hauge described this dish as Wang Nua ware. According to Dean Frasché, the Wang Nua kiln site was discovered in the late 1960s. A Fine Arts Department survey of 1972 identified twenty-five kilns, of which eleven were excavated. The kiln construction resembles that of San Kamphaeng. Frasché thought the complex probably dated to the early sixteenth century (Frasché 1976, 53). John Shaw included Wang Nua in the Kalong kiln complex because of its geographic proximity (Shaw 1989, 41). He mentioned that the kilns were constructed from clay slabs; one kiln was reconstructed on the grounds of the Chiang Mai National Museum (ibid., 142). Wang Nua celadon wares were found in the burials at Tak along the Thai-Burmese border in the 1980s (ibid., 149).
The treatment of the base of this glazed dish, with the rounded foot rim glazed and the base unglazed to allow placement of a cylindrical firing support, indicates close observation of the conventions of the bases of Longquan celadon bowls and dishes of the Ming period. This suggests a date no earlier than the fifteenth century.
The base is marked by a circular swath of brown slip. Shaw noted that "chocolate-colored bases" are characteristic of celadon-glazed wares found at the site of Pa Dong, along the road between Kalong and Wang Nua and closely associated in Shaw's interpretation with Wang Nua (Shaw 1989, 36(map), 41, 48–49) as well as at Payoom, north of Kalong (ibid., 40 and map). Shaw does not illustrate an example, but it is possible that the present dish was made in the Pa Dong or Payoom kiln complex.

Frasché, Dean. 1976. Southeast Asian Ceramics Ninth through Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Asia Society.

Shaw, John C. 1989. Northern Thai Ceramics. 2nd ed. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

2. (Louise Cort, 14 April 2005) The possibility that this dish is from a Burmese kiln should also be considered.

3. (Louise Cort, 15 February 2006) This bowl is very heavy for its size. Iron wash appears around the edge of the base of the bowl, wiped on with a brush or cloth. Iron wash similarly applied appears on the bases of bowls identified as Burmese, 15th–16th century, in the catalogue Toyama Satō Bijutsukan ed. 2004, nos. 3–6 (diams. 30.5–32.8 cm).

Toyama Satō Bijutsukan (Sato Memorial Art Museum Toyama), ed. 2004. Tōnan Ajia kotōji ten IX—Myanmaa to sono shūhen (Special Exhibition; South-east Asian Ceramics vol. 9) [Burma and environs]. Toyama: Tōyama-shi Kyōiki Iinkai (Toyama City Board of Education).

4. (Louise Cort, 25 January 2007) Extensive photographs of celadon-glazed dishes from kilns in the Twante complex are published in Sasaki et al 2003, 106–123. It appears highly likely that this dish is a product of the Twante kilns.

Changed Origin from Burma, Rangoon district, Twante kilns or Thailand, Chiang Rai province, Wang Nua kilns to Burma, Rangoon district, Twante kilns. Changed Ware from Twante ware or Wang Nua ware to Twante ware.

Sasaki points out that Burmese celadon is more abundant than Chinese wares in the upper levels of his excavation at Julfar on the Arabian Peninsula. The date for such dishes seems to center on the 15th century, with uncertainty about production in the late 14th century or into the 16th century, based on excavated evidence. He tentatively identifies two celadon dishes from the Lena Shoals shipwreck (Philippines) as Burmese, and they are in association with Chinese ceramics dating to the late 15th–early 16th century. He emphasizes that research at the Twante kiln site itself has just begun (ibid., 111–112).

Sasaki Tatsuo, Kira Fumio, and Sasaki Hanae. 2003. "Myanmaa tōji no hakken (Discovery of Myanmar green ware)." Bōeki Tōji Kenkyū [Trade Ceramics Studies] 23: 106–123 (Japanese), 161–162 (English summary).

5. (Louise Cort, 27 September 2007) Sasaki Tatsuo, in Washington to attend the Forbes symposium, saw this dish on exhibition in Taking Shape (the base was not visible) and said he felt that it was probably not Burmese but northern Thai. The sherds of similar design he saw at Burmese kiln sites were coarser in quality.

6. (Louise Cort, 7 March 2008) Recent discoveries of kiln sites for glazed stoneware scattered at various sites in the lower Irrawaddy River delta suggest that production was widespread and it is no longer appropriate to identify this dish specifically with Twante. In Origin, deleted Twante kilns, Rangoon (Yangon) division, added Irrawaddy Delta kilns.

7. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) Don Hein, in Washington to present the Pope Memorial Lecture, commented that he has not seen dishes of this type at Twante kiln sites but did find similar pieces at Lagyumbee and more broadly in Pegu (Bago) province.

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