Jar with incised decoration

  • Stoneware with thin iron glaze, now lost
  • 33.4 x 29.8 cm
  • Maenam Noi ware
  • 16th-18th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Maenam Noi kilns, Singburi province, Central Thailand
  • Provenance: Bangkok or Ayutthaya, Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.320

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 12 October 2005) Comments from Morimoto Asako, archaeologist specializing in Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics recovered from Hakata [Fukuoka], Short-term Visitor to study the Hauge collection:

Thailand, possibly from the Singburi kilns. The lack of lugs is unusual. The flat base was not trimmed. Heavy for its size. The lower half of the body was roughly trimmed. Band of incised combing below the neck, along with a single incised line at the join of neck and shoulder. Trumpet-shaped neck. The upper edge of the rim is "rolled up" to finish, while the lower surface of the rim is horizontal.

Is the surface incrustation lost glaze or dirt from burial? Under magnification, the surface can be seen to be covered with a network of small circular shapes, like a pattern of "fish eggs" or water weed. This probably indicates that the jar was recovered from a river. (LAC: The Hauges were interested in ceramics recovered from the river at Ayutthaya, where Singburi jars were commonly used for shipping.)

2. (Louise Cort, 18 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramics specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, noted the band of straight combing around the necks of S2005.319 and 321 and tentatively grouped the two unglazed, flat-based vessels as coming from the same unidentified source. The jars also have similar squared rims. (S2005.320 also belongs in this group.)

Both bears traces of black riverweed that, according to Dr. Sarah Bekker, indicates a recovery from the river at Ayutthaya, based on her observation of such marks on ceramics that she acquired from that source. It is unknown whether ceramics submerged in other rivers would acquire similar markings.

Following the possible association with Ayutthaya, is Maenam Noi, Singburi, a possible source of both bottles? If so, S2005.321 is made of stoneware clay fired (by accident or intentionally) only to earthenware temperature. Bottles of the same form as S2005.321, excavated from the Singburi (Tao Maenam Noi) kilns are published in Sāyan 1988, 22, 47, 50; and Chārưk 1990, 40.

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).

3. (Louise Cort, 13 January 2006) To Origin added Thailand, Singburi province, possibly Maenam Noi kiln complex. To Style added Possibly Maenam Noi ware. To Date added 16th–18th century.

4. (Louise Cort, 4 September 2006) An unglazed jar of this form was 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. 

5. (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].

6. (Louise Cort, 4 February 2008) In the course of his analysis of black-glazed jars from the Sawankhalok and Maenam Noi kilns, Mukai also notes that the other types of Maenam Noi wares—black-glazed or unglazed bottles and bowls—first appear in early 16th century contexts.

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).

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