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

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Jar with incised and stamped decoration

  • Earthenware
  • 38.8 x 44 cm
  • 20th century
  • Origin: Kanchanaburi province, West-central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.348


Stamped, incised, and relief decoration

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 24 November 2003) According to Victor Hauge, as recorded in a note I wrote on 30 July 2002, he acquired this jar in Kanchanaburi province.

2. (Louise Cort, 23 March 2007) In his thesis on the Mon population along the Chao Phraya, Brian Foster noted that there were Mon communities all along the Mae Klong River in the provinces of Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi—just downriver from a major route of entry from Mon country in Burma (Foster 1972, 12). This confirms the probability that this pot was made by a Mon potter living in Kanchanaburi province, where Victor Hauge purchased this jar.

Foster, Brian Lee. 1972. "Ethnicity and Economy: The Case of the Mons in Thailand". Ph.D. Dissertation, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

3. (Louise Cort, 21 February 2008) The shape of this jar—compressed body, tall flaring base, tall flaring neck—bears a certain relationship to some of the jars said to be associated with Haripunchai (Shaw 1989, 238; Sāyan 1997, 152). See also S2005.367.

Shaw, John C. 1989. Northern Thai Ceramics. 2nd ed. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

Sāyan Phraichānčhit, ed. 1997. Bōrānnakhadī Lān Nā 1(Archaeology in Lanna 1) 1ed. Bangkok: Khrōngkān Bōrānnakhadī Tai Nam Ngān Bōrānnakhadī Fai Wichākān Kǭng Bōrānnakhadī Krom Sinlapākǭn (Underwater archaeology project and unit, study section, archaeology division, Fine Arts Department).

4. (Louise Cort, 17 April 2008) All of the earthenware jars in the Hauge collection with small-scale and precise stamped decoration made with repeat impressions of individual stamps bear a visual and technical relationship to metal vessels of the region. One example of a Southeast Asian (possibly Thai) bronze vessel survives in Japan, where it has been used as a water jar for the tea ceremony. It is in the Nomura Art Museum collection in Kyoto (Hayashiya 1985, no. 216).

The vessel was raised (hammer marks are still visible) and then ornamented with strikes of various metal stamps. The body shape is a compressed sphere, with a wide neck that tapers toward a mouth with horizontal everted rim. (The shape is similar to S2005.353–366.) The vessel rests on three short feet. Large pendant motifs of two alternating leaflike designs are spaced around the upper half of the body, below a narrow band of heart-shaped motifs on the shoulder. Two smaller motifs alternate around the neck. The flat rim also bears a band of ornamentation. The elaborate lid has radiating raised lotus-petals around a central calyx-shaped knob.

The vessel is dated 16th century, although the description mentions that it has been passed down as a Higashiyama gyobutsu—a possession of the military ruler Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435–1490). It is said to have belonged later to the tea masters Sen no Rikyu (1522–1591) and Yabunouchi Kenshin (1536–1627) and subsequently to the Kyoto temple Nishi Honganji. 

Hayashiya Seizo, ed. 1985. Cha no dogu (3)—kame, kogo, mizusashi [Tea utensils (3)—kettles, incense containers, and water jars]. Vol. 12, Chado Shukin. Tokyo: Shogakukan.

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