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

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Vessel in the form of a stupa

  • Stoneware with wood-ash glaze
  • 33.6 x 18 cm
  • Wang Nua ware
  • 14th-16th century, Lan Na period
  • Origin: Wang Nua kilns, Wang Nua, Lampang province, Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.217a-b

Description

Stupa-shaped vessel with base (a) and tower (b)
Clay: buff stoneware.
Glaze: wood-ash.
Decoration: none.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 24 August 2004)  Victor Hauge, in a conversation at his home on 17 July 2001, mentioned that the Bangkok dealer Peng Seng gave him this object, which the collector Dean Frasché had picked up in the shop—not knowing it was in two parts—and broken.

2. (Louise Cort, 13 January 2007) An earthenware vessel described as a chedi-shaped urn appears in a photograph of Haripunjaya pottery in the collection of Wat Phrathat Haripunjaya, Lamphun, Chiang Mai province (Pariwat et. al. 1996, 38). The text dates this ware to 11th–13th century and notes that many of the vessels—found for the most part in collections of monasteries in the area—were used as containers for relics or cremated bones (ibid., 182).

A "stupa-shaped Buddhist shrine" (h. 34.0 cm), with a three-tiered top ending in a point, a cylindrical body, and an opening with arched top cut into the cylindrical body and as tall as the body, is in the Osotspa collection (ibid., 269). It bears a white glaze. It is said to have been used for installing an image of the Buddha. It is dated to the 15th–16th century, like other Kalong pieces published in this publication.  It seems likely that this form once rested on a separate stand or platform.

Pariwat Thammapreechakorn, Lertrit Sawang, and Kritsada Pinsri. 1996. Sinlapa khrư̄ang thûai nai Prathēt Thai (Ceramic Art in Thailand). 2nd ed. Bangkok: Ostospa Co. Ltd.

3. (George Williams, research assistant, 29 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 14th–mid 16th century to 14th–16th century.

4. (Louise Cort, 18 January 2008) In her paper for the 35th annual meeting of the Toyo Toji Gakkai, 17–18 November 2007, Yajima Ritsuko reconsidered the dates for the activity of the Kalong kilns based on comparison of form, shaping, and decoration to Chinese ceramics, notably the popular kilns in 15th century Jingdezhen with regard to iron-decorated wares and Ming-period celadon with regard to green-glazed wares.

"It appears that the Si Satchanalai and Sukhothai kilns in central Thailand made great strides during the second half of the 14th century, and the impact of Yuan period Longquan celadon and Jingdezhen blue-and-white is evident. In contrast, the Kalong kilns, with their central role among the kilns of northern Thailand, appear to have been influenced by the forms of Ming ceramics anywhere from half a century to a century later. During the second half of the 15th century, the Lanna kingdom sent envoys to China, leading to closer connections between the two, and this may bear a relationship to the start of the influx of Chinese ceramics into northern Thailand."

She concludes that the earliest possible activity was at least 14th century (by comparison with kiln stacking procedures also used at early Si Satchanalai kilns), while the latest may have been early 17th century (based on the existence of white Kalong-ware pipe bowls, used for tobacco that was introduced into Southeast Asia from the New World circa 1600), (Yajima 2007, 3–4).

Yajima Ritsuko. 2007. "Tai no tetsu-e—Karonyō no katsudo nendai wo meguru kosatsu [Thai iron-painted decoration—a thought about the dating of activity at the Kalong kilns]". Paper read at Tōyō Tōji Gakkai dai 35 kai taikai kenkyū happyō yōshi [Outline of research reports for the 35th annual meeting of the Oriental Ceramics Society], 17–18 November, at Tokyo: Oriental Ceramics Society.

5. (Louise Cort, 27 July 2011) Hauge Research Fellow Pariwat Thammapreechakorn suggest that this stupa was made at the Wang Nua kilns, not the Kalong kilns. For comparison he offered a cylindrical box with a tall stupa-shaped lid.

Changed Ware from Kalong to Wang Nua.

6. (Louise Cort, 29 April 2014) A green-glazed multi-part model of a stupa, with a tall pedestal, jar-shaped middle section topped by an openwork "railing," and conical upper section with gourd-shaped finial, was given to the San Antonio Museum of Art by Floyd L. Whittington and identified as Sawankhalok ware of the 16th century (95.32.19). The thin gray-green glaze and sharp modeling of the contours suggests production not at Si Satchanalai but at a northern Thai kiln--if not at a kiln in Fujian province. (The openwork details call to mind qingbai ware from Fujian.)


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