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

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Dish with incised decoration

  • Porcelain with clear glaze
  • 8.1 x 25.7 cm
  • Dehua ware
  • 13th century, Southern Song or Yuan dynasty
  • Origin: Dehua kilns, Fujian province, China
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.27

Description

Dish with flared mouthrim, broad bi-shaped footring, and six spurmarks on the interior bottom.
Clay: porcelain.
Glaze: translucent, glossy, finely crazed; falls short of the upper half of exterior body.
Decoration: one incised ring below the mouthrim and one on interior bottom.
Inscriptions: two numbers, resembling "77," painted by brush with dark grey pigment (faded Chinese ink?) on exterior body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 4, 2003) Similar six spur-marked dishes dating to 12th to 14th century were excavated at Kota Cina in North Sumatra. McKinnon notices that dish of this type were first reported in Sarawak but he has seen some pieces from South Sulawesi as well. Some of the dishes found in Kota Cina have 'good luck' tokens written in black ink on the base, yet this piece has inscriptions resembling two numbers (77) painted on the exterior body (Edwards 1977, 69–70, pls. 36–37).
           
Dehua kiln complex in Fujian province also produced large dishes of this type with qingbai glaze and 6 spur marks. (Lam 1985, 116, pls. 245–246).

McKinnon, E. Edwards. 1977. "Oriental Ceramics Excavated in North Sumatra." Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 41: 58–119.

Lam, Peter Y. K. 1985. A Ceramic Legacy of Asia's Maritime Trade: Song Dynasty Guangdong Wares and Other 11th to 19th Century Trade Ceramics Found on Tioman Island. Kuala Lumpur: The Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

2. (David Rehfuss, volunteer, 10 May 2005) It definitely appears not to be Vietnamese.  The bi-shaped foot-rim would be unusual if it appeared on a Vietnamese dish. The rectangular spur marks likewise are not typically Vietnamese. The clay in the foot, as can be discerned from the image, does not have the classic Vietnamese irregular-sized pock-marks.  The fine, grey glaze has many relationships with the 12th–14th century Chinese bowls having incised floral designs in the interior that have often been found in Indonesia.  This bowl is much more likely to be a product of a south Chinese kiln in Fujian or Guangdong.

3. (Louise Cort, 12 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramic specialist Morimoto Asako commented that this bowl is early Dehua ware and dates to circa 13th century. The long, narrow spur marks are diagnostic.

4. (Louise Cort, 22 December 2005) To Period added Southern Song or Yuan dynasty. Changed Date from 12th–14th century to 13th century. Changed Origin from Vietnam? China? To China, Fujian province, Dehua kilns. To Style added Dehua ware.

5. (Louise Cort, 3 November 2011) According to Pariwat Thammapreechakorn, bowls of this type are found on the Jepara wreck. They date to the Southern Song dynasty, 12th century, ca. 1160–1200.


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