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

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Covered box

  • Stoneware with iron glaze and iron pigment under translucent glaze
  • 10.9 x 13.1 cm
  • Sawankhalok ware
  • 16th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Ban Pa Yang kilns, Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai province, North-central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.288a-b


Box of globular form with carved footring and a lid with a lotus bud handle. A loss on the rim of the box. A black circular scar from tubular kiln support on the base.
Clay: light grey stoneware with black specks. An orange flush on the base where exposed during the firing process.
Glaze: transparent milky glaze with bluish patches, a ring of brown glaze round the knob of the lid. The flange, the interior of the box, the underside of the lid and the base are unglazed.
Decoration: painted in underglaze iron brown with two bands of vine scrolls bordered by series of rings on the body and the lid.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 23, 2003) Thai covered boxes were recovered from Puerto Galera, Mindoro and on Verde Island in Philippines. There are burial objects dating from 10th to 15th century. The covered boxes seem to be widely used as grave goods in Philippines (Locsin and Locsin 1967, 127–131, pl. 152).

Locsin, Leandro, and Cecilia Locsin. 1967. Oriental Ceramics discovered in the Philippines. Rutland, VT and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co.

2. (Louise Cort, 20 May 2008) Based on her research on shipwrecks, Roxanna Brown dates iron-decorated boxes from the Si Satchanalai kilns to the sixteenth century (circa 1520–1570/84) and describes them as the most common shape of that period (Brown 2004).

Changed Date from 15th–mid-16th century to 16th century.

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.

3. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) Don Hein, in Washington to present the Pope Memorial Lecture, identified this Sawankhalok box as a product of the Pa Yang kiln group.

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