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 iron glaze
  • 29.1 x 17 cm
  • Maenam Noi ware
  • 16th-17th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Maenam Noi kilns, Singburi province, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.317

Description

Narrow brown-glazed jar with thick rolled lip, four horizontal lugs on shoulder.
Clay: grey stoneware.
Glaze: iron glaze; falls short of lower body; foot, base and interior (except the bottom) unglazed.
Decoration: none.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 25, 2003) Jars of this type with four horizontal loop handles were unearthed at kilnsites along Maenam (River) Noi in Choeng sub-district, Bang Rachan district, Singburi province, Central Thailand, from 1988 to 1989. They are covered with brown glaze half way or third quarters down the body. These brick built kilns are horizontal crossdraft 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 atop the larger jars (Sāyan 1988, 35, 41, 63, 66, 70; Chārưk 1990, 37, 40, 96).

Jars of this type are sometimes called Wat Phra Prang pottery as the kilnsites are closed to Wat Phra Prang in Kok Moh village, Choeng klad 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, 199, 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 Ko Si Chang Three shipwreck: This is the third wrecksite discovered near Ko Si Chang in the Gulf of Thailand. This mid-15th 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).

b) The Nanyang shipwreck: This wrecksite 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).

c) 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 (ibid., 57).

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) Shaw assumes 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).

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, Nguyen-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, 4 September 2006) Brown-glazed jars of this form were recovered from the unexcavated shipwreck known as the Koh Kong wreck, off the southwest coast of Cambodia, of Koh Sdeck island, Kiri Sakor district, Koh Kong province. The wreck was identified in February 2006, and the recovery is being tracked by the National Museum. Images provided by Hab Touch, Deputy Director, show two black earthenware kendi of this shape; brown-glazed jars of three sizes, also brown-glazed bottle, kendi, and vat, and unglazed mortar, from the Tao Maenam Noi kilns, Singburi province, Thailand; celadon bowls and a gourd-shaped bottle from the Si Satchanalai kilns; unglazed earthenware pots with complex paddle-impressed textures; an earthenware stove; an earthenware vessel coated with white slip, with painted red rings; and a Zhangzhou-ware dish with cobalt kylin design. Cumulatively these wares suggest a date in the 16th century, and they also suggest that the ship must have loaded at Ayutthaya and was heading along the coast to the east. According to Darryl Collins, the wood recovered is charred, suggesting that the ship sank after a fire. 

7. (Louise Cort, 20 September 2006) Areca nuts ("betel nuts") were found in a jar of this type on the Ko Si Chang 3 shipwreck in the Gulf of Siam (Green et al 1987, 76 and 71[KSC3 140]). The jar was found to have a capacity of 7 liters.

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.

8. (Louise Cort, 7 January 2007) Hundreds of jars of this shape were recovered from the shipwreck of a large junk known as the Ao-Thai I or the Klang-Ao, off the coast of Chonburi province, eastern Thailand, in 1992. These and larger jars from the Maenam Noi kilns (total 3424 pieces) contained small jars and covered boxes from the Si Satchanalai kilns (6525 pieces); (Chārưk 1992, 42–43).

Chārưk Wilaikǣo (Jaruk Vilaikaew). 1992. "Cultural Heritage from Underwater—the 'Ao-Thai I' junk or the 'Klang-Ao' junk"." Sinlapākǭn (The Silpakorn Journal) 35(2): 8–33.

9. ( George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 16th–mid 17th century to 16th–17th century.

10. (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].

11. (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.


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