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

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Jar with combed decoration

  • Stoneware with remains of iron-ash glaze
  • 43.3 x 26.3 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Lan Sang period or Bangkok period
  • Origin: possibly Songkhram River basin kilns, Middle Mekong River network, Northeast Thailand or Laos
  • Provenance: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.329

Description

Jar with ovoid body, trumpet-shaped neck, flanged mouth, flat base with parallel grooves left by using cord to separate the jar from a static potting surface, no lugs. Flat base with parallel scars of twisted cutting cord pulled beneath the jar, with the wheel stationaary, to separate the jar from the wheelhead.
Clay: grey stoneware.
Glaze: iron-ash glaze.
Decoration: two bands of combing, one at the join between neck and shoulder and the second further down on the shoulder.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 24 November 2003) This is the type of jar made at kilns along the Si Songkhram river in Northeast Thailand and at the Si Sattanak kilns in Vientiane, Laos. These jars are distinguished by their form, by the type of glaze that sometimes appears on them (thin, watery brown, although many jars from these kilns are unglazed), and by the parallel lines left on the base by pulling a twisted cord beneath the jar with the wheel stationary in order to remove the jar from the wheelhead. At the time the Si Songkhram kilns were operating, that area of Northeast Thailand fell within the cultural domain of the Lan Sang kingdom

Dr. Sarah Bekker acquired a similar jar in Ayutthaya while she and her husband, Konrad, were living in Bangkok between 1964 and 1971. The jar was described to her as "Khom," which she understood to mean "pre-Khmer." The vendor told her the jar had come from Northeast Thailand, and it was the only jar of this type that she ever saw in the Ayutthaya market.

2. (Louise Cort, 14 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramic specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, observed that the glaze had been wiped onto the jar—races of the wiping marks are still visible.

3. (Louise Cort, 18 February 2009) In a meeting at the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Pakkret, Nonthaburi, where he is collaborating in a study of pottery production in Nonthaburi province, Mon ceramic specialist Pisarn Boonpoog said that he visited the Si Songkhram river kiln sites while he was living in Nakhon Phanom, 1979-1983. Kilns and jars came to light when the river banks collapsed during the rainy season, so many jars were scattered in villages along the river. Big jars full of cremated bones were found in the fields. Villagers collected such jars and deposited them around the shrine for the village spirit (sanphutaa). Mr. Pisarn noticed many jars in the ruins of a very old temple along the river.


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