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

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Pot with stamped decoration

  • Earthenware
  • 31.1 x 35.2 cm
  • 17th-19th century, Ayutthaya period or Bangkok period
  • Origin: Kanchanaburi province, West-central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.350a-b


Pot of compressed globular form with round bottom, short neck, flared mouth with circular grooves inside. Dome-shaped lid.
Clay: red earthenware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: dense rows of various stamped designs on the upper body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 22 January 2003) According to Victor Hauge when we collected this jar from the Hauge home on 17 July 2002, he bought this jar in Bangkok from a dealer who said it had come from Kanchanaburi Province.

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, 13 March 2003) Spinks refers this earthenware pot as ‘moh khao’ (rice-cooking pot), made at kilns along the Maenam Cao Phraya river in Ayutthaya during the Ayutthaya period (AD 1350–1763). Yet, no exact kilnsite has been reported (Spinks 1976, 188–189, pl. 2).

Spinks, Charles N. 1976. "The Ayuddhaya Period Earthenwares, some Contemporary Thai Kilns, their Wares and Potting methods." The Journal of the Siam Society 64(2): 188–201.

3. (Louise Cort, 11 January 2007) The interior of the pot bears black fernlike imprints said by Dr. Sarah Bekker to be the marks of river weeds indicating recovery from the Chao Phraya riverbed...or a freshwater body somewhere.

This pot is strikingly heavy for its size, but it appears to have been shaped with paddle and anvil rather than with a scraping ring.

4. (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, which was mentioned to Victor Hauge as the source of 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.

5. (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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