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

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Jar with four horizontal lugs

  • Stoneware with reddish-brown kiln gloss
  • 32.5 x 34.5 cm
  • Maenam Noi ware
  • mid 16th-early 17th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Maenam Noi kilns, Singburi province, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.315

Description

Jar with thick rounded rim and flat base; four horizontal lugs on shoulder.
Clay: dark grey stoneware.
Glaze: brown kiln gloss glaze on the upper half of the body, worn away by heavy use.
Decoration: circular ridge above broad band of combing on shoulder where four lugs attached.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 25, 2003) Jars of this type, both glazed and unglazed, were unearthed at kiln sites along Maenam (River) Noi in Choeng Sub-district, Bang Rachan District, Singburi province, Central Thailand from 1988 to 1989. These brick built kilns are horizontal cross draft kilns in ovoid shape, with a lower fire box in the front, an inclined firing chamber in the middle and a chimney at the end. Inside the kilns, the smaller jars were stacked vertically above the larger jars (Sāyan 1988, 41, 43–45, 66, 70–72; Chārưk 1990, 36–37, 39–40, 96, 113).

Jars of this type are sometimes called Wat Phra Prang pottery, as the kiln sites are closed to Wat Phra Prang in Kok Moh village, Choeng sub-district. There are plenty of jars of different sizes found in this site. Pariwat and Kritsada say that these jars were made during the 15th–17th centuries and possibly were used to hold merchandise such as honey, oil, eggs or food (Pariwat and Lertrit 1990, 63, 148, 199, fig. 85, pl. 42).

Sāyan Phraichānčhit (Sayan Phraichanchit). 1988. Rāi ngān kānsamrūat lae khutkhon Tao Mǣnam Nǭi: Tambon Chœng Klat, Amphœ Bang Račhan, Čhangwat Singburī (Report on the survey and excavation of the Maenam Noi kilns, Bang Rachan town, Sing Buri province). Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

Chārưk Wilaikǣo (Charuk Wilaykaen). 1990. Tao Mǣnam Nǭi 2 [Maenam Noi Kilns, part 2]. Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

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

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 28, 2003) Jars of this type were found in several wreck sites:

a) The Pattaya Wreck site: It lies near Pattaya in the Gulf of Thailand. Many jars of this type were found together with some Si Satchanalai celadon wares. The date of this site is yet uncertain (Green and Harper 1983, 21–27).

b) The Ko Si Chang Three shipwreck: This is the third wreck site discovered near Ko Si Chang in the Gulf of Thailand. This mid-16th century ship is possibly originated from Thailand. It carried material from Thailand, Vietnam and China. Stoneware storage jars were the main finds in this site (Green et al 1987, 70–75).

c) The Nanyang shipwreck: This wreck site was discovered 10 nautical miles from the island of Pulau Pemanggil, off the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia. Brown dates this site to be around 1380, the last decade of the 14th century. The main ceramic finds of this vessel were Si Satchanalai celadon. According to Brown, the Nanyang is currently the earliest shipwreck with celadon wares from Si Satchanalai. Spur marks are common on these celadon plates. It was a stacking method used in the early phase of Si Satchanalai production. Since brown glazed jars of this type were also found on this vessel, the Singburi kilns can be dated as early as the end of the 14th century (Brown and Sjostrand 2001, 47, color pl. 35).

d) The Royal Nanhai shipwreck: A mid-15th century vessel of South China Sea type was discovered off the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia in 1995. It was dated with reference to the find of Chinese blue and white bowls of the interregnum period. This vessel carried about 21,000 ceramics and most of which are Si Satchanalai celadon wares. A large number of Singburi jars of this type were also found. Brown claims that she mistook these jars as Si Satchanalai ware in her previous publications (Brown and Sjostrand 2001, 51, color pl. 69).

e) The Risdam shipwreck: A V.O.C. ship sank in 1727 near Mersing, off the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia was discovered in 1984. Brown identifies two storage jars of this type to be wares made in the Maenam Noi Kilns (Brown and Sjostrand 2001, 61, fig. 48).

f) The Singtai shipwreck: It lies off the north-eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia and was discovered in April 2001. Storage jars of different sizes produced in the Maenam Noi Kilns are the dominant ceramic finds, but Brown observed the difference in style from the Royal Nanhai hoards (Brown and Sjostrand 2001, 57).

Green, Jeremy, and Rosemary Harper. 1983. The Excavation of the Pattaya Wreck Site and Survey of Three Other Sites, Thailand, 1982. Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 1. Fremantle: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

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.

Brown, Roxanna M., and Sten Sjostrand. 2001. Maritime Archaeology and Shipwreck Ceramics in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Museums and Antiques.

3. (Candy Chan, May 1, 2003) Jars of this type were excavated in the Sakai-kango-toshi site in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, from the layer of the 16th–early 17th century. Sakai was a wealthy metropolitan city, as the merchants there monopolized the foreign trade with China, Korea and Southern Asia. Morimura identifies those jars were produced in Thailand (Morimura 1989, 134–151).

Shaw classifies a glazed storage jar of this type to be Singburi ware and suggests that the Singburi kilns began operation from 17th century and ended no later than in 1767, the second invasion of Ayutthaya by the Burmese (Shaw 1987, 47–49).

Morimura Kenichi. 1989. "16–17 seiki shotō no Sakai kangō toshi iseki shutsudo no Tai shijiko—Tai de no yōseki, chimbotsusen no shutsudōretsu (The jars with four loop handles (with two ears) which were produced in Thailand of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th Century—From kilnsite in Thailand, the wrecks which sank near the Thailand Bay)." Bōeki Tōji Kenkyū [Trade Ceramics Studies] 9: 134–151 (Japanese), 134 (English summary).

Shaw, John C. 1987. Introducing Thai Ceramics; also Burmese and Khmer. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

4. (Candy Chan, May 5, 2003) Singburi jars of this type are also found in the Philippines (Valdes, Long, and Barbosa 1992, 168–171, pls. 144–150).

Valdes, Cynthia O., Kerry Nguyen-Long, and Artemio C. Barbosa. 1992. A Thousand Years of Stoneware in the Philippines. Makati, Metro Manila: Jar Collectors (Philippines) with the support of Eugenio Lopez Foundation Inc. and in cooperation with the National Museum and the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines.

5. (Louise Cort, 19 January 2006) These wares are commonly discussed as "Singburi ware," after the province where they were made, but the kiln group that produced them is known more specifically as the Maenam Noi kiln group, after the river along which the kilns were located. Changed Ware from Singburi ware to Maenam Noi ware.

6. (Louise Cort, 5 September 2006) A jar of this type (h. 47.2 cm) was recovered from the Ko Si Chang One shipwreck (1982), which was dated A.D. 1570 plus/minus 90 (16th century). It was said to have contained fish vertebrae and to have been fitted with a wooden stopper once sealed in place with resin (Green and Harper 1983, 56, G50 [jar] and 64, G51 ["roughly carved wooden bung" with "resin on the rim of largest diameter"]; Sāyan et al eds. 1990, 36–37, 54, nos. 77–78).

Green, Jeremy, and Rosemary Harper. 1983. The Excavation of the Pattaya Wreck Site and Survey of Three Other Sites, Thailand, 1982. Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Special Publication No. 1. Fremantle: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology.

Sāyan Phraichānčhit (Sayan Prishanchit), Siriphan Yapsanthīa (Siriphan Yapsanthea), and 'Atcharā Khǣngsārikit, eds. 1990. Khrư̄angthūai čhāk thalē (Ceramics from the Gulf of Thailand). Vol. 2, Bōrānnakhadī sī khrām (Underwater Archaeology in Thailand). Bangkok: Krom Sinlapākǭn (Fine Arts Department).

7. (Louise Cort, 24 March 2007) Fragments of Maenam Noi ware jars with four lugs, basins, and small mortars, together with necks of underfired stoneware jars (identified as earthenware), were recovered from shallow water about 100 meters off the shore of Ojika island, at the northern end of the Goto island chain west of Kyushu. (The islands belong to Nagasaki prefecture.) The site, named Karamisaki, is a promontory protecting the harbor located just below the former castle site on the island. From 1152 through 1868, the island formed part of the domain of the Matsuura warrior house, based in Hirado. According to a map dated 1718 in the Matsuura History Museum in Hirado, Ojika island lay along the route of Chinese merchant ships bound for Nagasaki. Six Chinese-style stone anchors have been recovered on the island. The Maenam Noi jars correspond in mouth form to such jars recovered from other Japanese sites dating to the second half of the 16th century or early 17th century. Mixed with the Maenam Noi ceramics were Thai earthenware lids and portable stoves, a Chinese stoneware jar and Chinese blue-and-white porcelain (types dating to the second half of the 16th century), and 19th century Hizen porcelain from Hasami. The ceramics were recovered from a shallows made treacherous by swift tides and probably represent the remains of one or more shipwrecks.   

Hayashida Kenzo, and Tsukabara Hiroshi, eds. 2002. Yamamioki kaitei iseki (Yamamioki underwater site), Ojika-cho bunkazai chōsa hōkokusho 16. Fukuoka and Ojika-cho: Kyushu-Okinawa Suichū Kōkogaku Kyōkai [Kyushu-Okinawa Underwater Archaeology Association] and Ojika-cho Kyōiku Iinkai [Ojika Town Board of Education].

8. (Louise Cort, 7 April 2007) Two Maenam Noi jars of forms related to this jar have been handed down as heirloom pieces in Bungo province (modern Oita prefecture) and are now in the Oita City History Museum (Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan ed. 2003, nos. 263–264). Jar no. 263 (h. 25.0 cm) comes in a wooden box labeled "Namban vase," indicating that its source was identified as Southeast Asia and showing its use, made possible because of its small size. The other jar (no. 264) is larger (h. 42 cm).

Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan (Oita City History Museum), ed. 2003. Bungo Funai—Namban no irodori; Namban no bōeki tōjiki (Manifestations of Southern Barbarians in Bungo province; Southeast Asian trade ceramics. Oita: Ōita-shi Rekishi Shiryōkan.

9. (Louise Cort, 25 May 2007) A number of larger jars of this late type, with glaze largely abraded and encrusted with marine material, were on view at antique dealers' shops in Ho Chi Minh City and were described as having come from shipwrecks. (Shipwreck seems to be a popular category. Those shops contained large quantities of fake "shipwreck" ceramics of Red River Delta type, with fake coral and shell incrustation. They presented Zhangzhou ware lead-glazed boxes and blue-and-white vessels as "from a shipwreck off Ninh Thuan").

10. (Louise Cort, 26 May 2007) Many Maenam Noi four-lug jars of varying shapes and sizes (both large wide-shouldered jars and short cylindrical jars, cf. S2005.316–318) are in the collection of the Ba Ria Vung Tau Museum. Their condition—glaze abraded, incrustation of marine growth—indicates shipwreck contexts, although they were not excavated but simply rescued. A tall jar (h. 69 cm) with short neck (resembling S2005.308 or 309) and a medium-sized jar (h. 45 cm) without neck (cf. S2005.315) were both recovered near Long Son island, offshore from Vung Tau. 

11. (Louise Cort, 28 May 2007) The ceramics storeroom of the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa contains ceramics recovered within the province, primarily from the Dong Nai River, especially in the vicinity of Bien Hoa. In this large collection, the absence of Maenam Noi jars is notable.

12. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2007) The Binh Thuan Museum, Phan Thiet, houses 14 medium-size Maenam Noi jars of the neckless type (BTBT Gm 141 etc). They were found in the sea, all at the same place, although the museum does not have details of the location.

13. (Louise Cort, 14 July 2007) A jar of related shape, with a rolled rim directly above sloping shoulders rather than a distinct neck, but larger in size (height 45 cm), was excavated from the Imayashiki Karoyashiki site on the island of Tsushima, in the central administrative town of Izuhara (Nagasaki-ken Kyoiku Iinkai 2004, 33 and pl. 29-10). The site was that of the gatehouse of a house belonging to the Furukawa family, senior advisors (karo) for the So daimyo, rulers of the Tsushima domain.

The site revealed nine strata. Stratum III, where the jar was found, was the base for rebuilding of the neighborhood after two devastating fires in 1659 and 1661. Along with the jar were found Chinese porcelain (Ming blue-and-white, Qing enameled ware and white ware), a Mino ware Yellow Seto dish dating to the second half of the 16th century, and a decorated Karatsu ware basin (17th century) (ibid., pls. 28–29).

Nagasaki-ken Kyoiku Iinkai [Nagasaki Prefecture Board of Education]. 2004. Imayashiki Karoyashiki seki [Imayashiki retainer's mansion site]. Nagasaki-ken bunkazai chosa hokokusho 178 [Nagasaki Prefecture cultural properties investigation report 178] Nagasaki: Nagasaki-ken Kyoiku Iinkai.

14. (Louise Cort, 27 January 2008) A taller (h. 36 cm) Maenam Noi jar of this type, with four thick lugs, no neck, and a thick rolled rim, was recovered from one of the plundered grave along the Thai-Burmese border (Sumitr 1992, 35 and pl. 141). The jar is unglazed and is said to be reddish, suggesting that it was underfired and the poorly-fused glaze probably flaked off in the course of use.

Sumitr Pitiphat. 1992. Ceramics from the Thai-Burma Border. Bangkok: Thai Khadi Research Institute of Thammasat University and Osothsapha (Teck Heng Yoo) Co., Ltd.

15. (Louise Cort, 31 January 2008) Mukai Kou has presented the most thorough study to date of the morphology and chronology of black-glazed jars with four lugs from the Sawankhalok and Maenam Noi kilns, based on evidence from the kiln sites, shipwrecks, and excavation sites in Japan (Mukai 2003). He classifies this type of jar as neckless jar with four lugs and finds that it was made only at the Maenam Noi kilns. It was made in three standard sizes: large (height around 60 cm), medium (height around 45 cm), and small (height around 30 cm). This jar is a small size.

Neckless jars are typically thicker than the two other types of Maenam Noi jars (short neck with four lugs types I and II) and often bear white slip. They appear later than the other two types, which in turn appear later than Sawankhalok jars with four lugs. They first emerge on shipwrecks and in sites in western Japan (Nagasaki, Oita) and in Sakai in to mid-16th century. They continue to appear in Sakai layers datable to the late 17–early 18th century, and on the shipwreck Risdam, which sank in 1727 (ibid., 101, 21, 102, figs. 22–23).

Tsuzuki Shinichiro prepared an earlier morphological study of this type of neckless jar as found mainly in datable levels of the Sakai site and proposed a sequence of five types (I-V), with the neck growing progressively less defined (Tsuzuki 1989, 125, fig. 2). Mukai associates dates in the mid-16th through early 17th century with Tsuzuki's types II and III, and dates in the late 17th through early 18th century with Tsuzuki's type IV.

In formation of the neck this jar most closely resembles Tsuzuki's types II and III. Changed the Date from 15th–17th century to mid 16th–early 17th century, in accordance with Mukai's dating.

Mukai Kou. 2003. "Tai kokkatsuyū shijiko no bunrui to nendai (The Study on Brown Glazed Storage Jars, exported from Thailand)." Bōeki Tōji Kenkyū (Trade Ceramics Studies) 23: 90–105 (Japanese), 161 (English summary).

Tsuzuki Shinichirō. 1989. "Sakai kangō toshi iseki shutsudo no Tai sei shijiko (The Sawankhaloke jar (made in Thailand) with four handles excavated from The "Sakai-Kango-Toshi" Site during the 15th and 16th century)." Bōeki Tōji Kenkyū [Trade Ceramics Studies] 9: 123–133.

16. (Louise Cort, 22 October 2010) A wide-mouthed Maenam Noi jar of a type related to this one (although somewhat taller and less rotund, with faint remnants of glaze on the upper two-thirds of the body) was excavated from a large trash pit in the city of Kyoto at the intersection of Oike and Tominokoji streets. The inner wall of the jar was coated with glossy black lacquer, and numerous drips of black lacquer streaked the outside. Analysis of the lacquer revealed that it was thitsiol, the primary ingredient in lacquer from Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma. Since traces of tree bark were mixed with the lacquer, seemingly the jar had been used to transport the raw material. Dutch East India Company records show the import to Japan of large quantities of lacquer from Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam during the 1620s and 1630s. By comparison with similar jars excavated from Sakai, Osaka, and Nagasaki, the jar dates to the first half of the seventeenth century. The same trash pit also yielded fragments of a Central Vietnamese jar similar to S2005.154 containing remnants of lacquer. It also held various Japanese wooden and ceramic containers, wooden tools, and brushes, suggesting that a lacquer workshop had operated in the vicinity (Kyoto-shi Maizo Bunkazai Kenkyujo 2010, 51).

Kyoto-shi Maizo Bunkazai Kenkyujo (Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute). 2010. Kyoto—Hideyoshi no jidai—Tsuchi no naka kara [Kyoto in the Age of Hideyoshi—From the Earth]. Kyoto: Kyoto-shi Maizo Bunkazai Kenkyujo.

17. (Louise Cort, 30 April 2013) The prototype for this type of Maenam Noi jar may be represented by five Chinese storage jars recovered from the Turiang shipwreck, a Chinese-built ship (Brown and Sjostrand 2000, 34, plate 33). The short (range of heights 22.0 cm to 37.0 cm) are ovoid in form, with shoulders sloping directly upward into a rolled rim and little or no definition to a neck. Four horizontal lugs are positioned on the shoulder, over a horizontal incised line guiding placement. The jars once bore olive-brown glaze, most of which is lost. One jar contained fifty-two brown-glazed covered boxes (ibid., 32, plate 27).

Brown and Sjostrand dated the Turiang wreck to the early 14th century, but subsequently Brown (2009, 172) proposed a date of c. 1370-1400.

Brown, Roxanna, and Sten Sjostrand. 2000. Turiang: A Fourteenth-Century Shipwreck in Southeast Asian Waters. Pasadena, CA.: Pacific Asia Museum.

Brown, Roxanna Maude. 2009. The Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia: Towards a Chronology of Thai Trade Ware. Bangkok: Siam Society.

18. (Louise Cort, 25 May 2013) Two Maenam Noi jars of this type (heights 45.0 and 40.8 cm) were excavated in 2003 from a site in Kyoto north of Oike Street between Yanagi-no-bamba and Tominokoji streets. During the Edo period the site was a residential area. Also found was an unglazed jar from central Vietnam related to S2005.138.

Kyoto-shi Maizo Bunkazai Kenkyujo (Kyoto City Archaeological Research Institute). 2004. Heian-kyo Sakyo Sanjo Shiho Jumachi seki, fig. 40, nos. 258, 259.


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