Pot with stamped decoration

  • Earthenware
  • 10.1 x 13.4 cm
  • 16th-18th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, or Nonthaburi province, Chao Phraya River network, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.366

Description

Pot of compressed globular form with round bottom, short neck and flared mouth.
Clay: light grey earthenware, smooth, blackened by reduction firing.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: a row of zig-zag pattern is stamped or impressed round the shoulder. Rest of body and base smooth.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 24 January 2003). This vessel had been kept with a collection of earthenware cooking pots in Bud and Gratia's house.

2. (Louise Cort, 21 August 2003) The Hauges acquired most of their earthenware vessels in Ayutthaya and were under the impression that they dated to the Ayutthaya period and had been pulled out of the river. In fact, however, earthenware cooking pots are still made in the vicinity of Ayutthaya, as in many other communities, and it is very difficult to date such surviving wares.

In 1922 W. R. Graham wrote: "In the museum at Ayuthia where, under the fostering care of H. E. Phraya Boran Rajdhanindr, one of the most learned archaeologists of Siam, a very valuable collection of old pottery has been got together, there are many specimens of common earthenware of variable quality and design, that have been found amongst the ruins of that city and in the neighborhood, and that are all at least 150 years old. Some are very rough in texture and workmanship, and others are of fine clay, carefully executed and of graceful design. None of the articles are quite similar to the earthenware pots of today through the differences are in many instances small" (Rooney ed. 1986, 20).

Graham, W. A. 1986. "Thai Pottery and Ceramics: collected articles from the Journal of the Siam Society, 1922–1980". Pp. 11–37 in Thai Pottery and Ceramics, edited by Dawn F. Rooney. Bangkok: The Siam Society. Original edition, Journal of the Siam Society. 16(1): 1–27.

3. (Louise Cort, 3 April 2007) The "jabbed" decoration on the shoulder of this pot, made with a comb-like tool, is more characteristic of decoration on stoneware jars.

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.

5. (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 stated that pots with stamped and painted decoration were made to hold water, whereas pots for cooking were made in the same shape but with simpler or no decoration.

Many pots of this type have been recovered from the Chao Phraya river in Pathum Thani province, near the former Mon potter-making village of Sam Khok (now defunct) and possibly although not definitely related to that site. They probably were lost when a boat transporting them turned over.


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