Jar with combed decoration

  • Stoneware
  • 21.1 x 22.2 cm
  • My Cang ware
  • 18th-19th century, Restored Later Le, Tay Son, or Nguyen dynasty
  • Origin: My Cang kiln, Quang Ngai province, Central Vietnam
  • Provenance: Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.336


Squat unglazed brown jar with sprinkles of yellow ash

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 14 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramic specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, speculated whether this jar could come from Vietnam. In any case (whether made in China, Vietnam, or Thailand), the lineage is Chinese. If Vietnam, Bien Hoa or vicinity; if Thailand; Ratchburi.

2. (Louise Cort, 16 February 2006) Jars of related form, with rolled rims, rounded shoulders, and slightly tapered bodies, made of coarse brown stoneware with brown glaze, were recovered from the wreck "Desaru," a Chinese ship that sank in the 1840s with a cargo of Chinese ceramics (www.maritimeasia.ws/desaru). The wreck was found near the town of Desaru, in the southeast of Johor in peninsular Malaysia. The jars bore cross-hatching of paddle marks on their shoulder and upper body. The three sizes were 15–17 cm high, 18–20 cm high, and 49–51 cm high. They were described as stored below deck, containing smaller pots of various types; the smallest sizes filled the spaces between larger jars. The jars were simply described as "from southern China"; the other ceramics included wares from Jingdezhen, Yixing, Dehua, Suzhou, and porcelain kilns in Guangdong.


3. (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. A jar of this type is in the collection, made of clay containing lots of coarse sand or small white stones, intermediate in apparent hardness (and related gray-brown coloration) between S2005.336 and S2005.337, with a fat rolled rim, no neck, and a single wide band of fine-tooth combing (ten teeth?) around the shoulder. The collection also includes a taller jar of the same type, with light gray surface.

4. (Louise Cort, 5 June 2007) The Quang Ngai Provincial Museum, Quang Ngai, owned a number of vessels that seemed close in shape, material, and workmanship to this jar, made of dense grainy stoneware with a thick rolled rim, almost no neck, a thick, heavy body wall, and a flat base sliced straight across with a sharp edge. They were very heavy for their size. One jar was nearly identical to this one (h. 23 cm, diam.  23.0 cm, diam. mouth 10.5-14 cm, diam. base 14.0 cm) and had a distinctive bulge below the rim and above the shoulder and a wide band of combing (8-10 teeth) just below the bulge. These vessels were said to have been made at the My Cang kiln, xa Tinh Thien, huyen Son Tinh, Quang Ngai province, across the river to the north of Quang Ngai city. The kiln was said to be active in the 18th and 19th centuries. As found still in use in people's homes, jars of this shape were used for storing water, salt, nuoc mam, and sugar, with the last use especially popular. Domed lids (h. 4.5 cm, diam. 9.5 cm) with thick rolled rims were also recovered from the kiln. The kiln also made larger barrel-shaped jars with rolled rims (h. 43.0 cm, diam. mouth 19–24.5 cm, diam. base 25.0 cm) and flat lids for such jars.

Changed Origin from South China, Southern Vietnam or Thailand to Central Vietnam, Quang Ngai province, My Cang kiln (although this kiln may have been just one of a number making similar products in the region). To period added Later Le or Nguyen dynasty. To Date added 18th–19th century.

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