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

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Pot with incised decoration and paddle-impressed design

  • Earthenware
  • 10.5 x 13.2 cm
  • 16th-17th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Chao Phraya River network, Central Thailand
  • Provenance: Ayutthaya, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.376


Pot of compressed globular form with round bottom, short neck and flared mouth.
Clay: red earthenware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: a band of paddle-impressed curve lines bordered by horizontal lines on the shoulder, an incised ring on the lip. 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.  (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, 23 May 2003) Shards with the crescent-shaped pressed decoration were excavated from the Ban Tao Hai kilns, in Phitsanulok, Thailand (Hein and Sangkhanukit 1985, 78–79, photo 13).

Earthenware pots of this type with impressed crescent design on shoulder were identified as either Thai or Burmese ceramics, dated to 15th–16th century (Nezu Bijitsukan 1993, 72–73, pls. 114–115).

Hein, Don, and Prachote Sangkhanukit. 1985. Report on the Excavation of the Ban Tao Hai kilns, Phitsanulok, Thailand. Research Centre for Southeast Asian Ceramics Papers 1. Adelaide: University of Adelaide.  

Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Institute of Fine Arts), ed. 1993. Nanban, shimamono; Nankai hakurai no chato (Nanban and Shimamono: Exported Southeast-Asian Ceramics for Japan—16th–17th century). Tokyo: Nezu Bijutsukan.

3.  (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. 1922, 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.

4.  (Louise Cort, 5 January 2007) Small unglazed earthenware pots of this size, shape, and manner of decoration (a band of paddle-impressed crescent-shaped motifs around the neck) are passed down in Japan in the context of chanoyu as wastewater jars (kensui) and are known by the name ‘hannera’. Two are published in Nezu Bijitsukan 1993, nos. 114 (h. 10.0 cm, d. 14.4 cm, Umezawa Kinenkan) and 115 (h. 11.9 cm, d. 17.8 cm, Nezu Bijitsukan; measure drawing p. 165). This context makes it likely that the date for such pots falls within the period when Japan was trading actively with Thailand, late 15th-early 17th century, although Thai goods continued to reach Japan via Chinese trading ships coming to Nagasaki.

Nezu Bijutsukan (Nezu Institute of Fine Arts), ed. 1993. Nanban, shimamono; Nankai hakurai no chato (Nanban and Shimamono: Exported Southeast-Asian Ceramics for Japan—16th–17th century). Tokyo: Nezu Bijutsukan.

5.  (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from late 15th–early 17th century to 16th–17th century.

6.  (Louise Cort, 1 July 2017) In the Southeast Asian Ceramics Newsletter vol. 7 no. 1 (2013), p. 2, assistant curator Wanaporn Khumbut reported on finds of twelve earthenware jars used for jar burials in the ancient city of Bang Klang, Sawankhalok district, Sukhothai province. The jars contained skeletal remains. The jars were buried surrounding stupas that were built over the vihan of a Buddhist temples. Most of the jars were plain, but some had stamped decoration.on the shoulder. The phase of burial activity was dated to the late 15th to 16th century.

Ms. Khumbut kindly provided images of four of the decorated earthenware vessels. One pot (diam. approx. 11 cm), with a concave lid with knob (N. 85 #443 and N. 86 #443), bore patterning closely resembling that on the Hauge pot. The pot was reddish in color, whereas the lid was a paler grayish buff.

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