Pot with overall paddle-impressed texture

  • Earthenware
  • 30.5 x 40.1 cm
  • 16th-17th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Chao Phraya River network, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.385


Pot of compressed globular form with round bottom, short neck and thick rolled lip.
Clay: pinkish buff earthenware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: paddle-impressed with vertically-oriented band of decoration on shoulder. Using separate paddle, paddle-impressed with stripes of zig-zag pattern on the entire body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (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.

2. (Louise Cort, 14 October 2005) Archaeologist and ceramics specialist Morimoto Asako, Fukuoka, believes she has seen paddle-patterned earthenware sherds of the same type excavated in Hakata.

3. (Louise Cort, 7 January 2007) Ms. Morimoto was possibly remembering the well-published earthenware jar with "twining" paddle-impressed pattern recovered during the 60th excavation campaign (conducted 1990–91) in Hakata, the old port city near modern Fukuoka. The jar was recovered from a context dating to the latter half of the fifteenth century. A noticeable difference between that jar and this one is the formation of the neck: the neck of that jar is elongated in a smooth continuous curve rising from the shoulder and ending in a thin plain rim, unlike the sharp angle between the shoulder and the neck and the rolled rim of this jar.

Altogether, the majority of the 45 Southeast Asian sherds found at 12 excavation sites in Hakata as of 1993 were recovered from contexts ranging in date from the second half of the fifteenth century to the seventeenth century (Sakai-shi Hakubutsukan 1992, 54–55, 57, fig. J28).

Sakai-shi Hakubutsukan (Sakai City Museum). 1985. Sakai no iseki to shutsudohin: shunki tokubetsuten [Sites and excavated materials from Sakai]. Sakai: Sakai-shi Hakubutsukan.

4. (Louise Cort, 7 January 2007) Similar paddle-impressed neck patterns are seen on fragments recovered from the vicinity of the Ban Tao Hai kiln site in Ban Klong Tao Hai village on the eastern bank of the Nan River north of Phitsanulok, in Phitsanulok province. The site appears to have supported manufacture of both stoneware (using brick-built single-chamber cross draft kilns) and earthenware, although the only evidence of earthenware technology was one fired-clay anvil used in vessel forming. The stratigraphy of the recovered earthenware sherds was not clear. The excavators identified "several hundred designs" paddle-impressed on fragments of round-bodied earthenware vessels. Some vessels were decorated only at the neck; others had decoration over the entire body. They also found some sherds with discreet stamped designs on the shoulder. A large variety of earthenware lids was also found, of both domed and sunken forms. They also found flat-bottomed, wheel-thrown earthenware jars (intentionally underfired stoneware used as earthenware?; cf. S2005.321–322). Other earthenware products included hand built cooking stoves, roof tiles, and figurines identical to those "found in the river at Ayutthaya" (cf. S2005.416–418).

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.

All this suggests that the earthenware production at Ban Tao Hai, although undoubtedly not unique along the river system between Phitsanulok and Ayutthaya, was representative in its range and diversity of products. Women potters in their fifties and sixties I interviewed in 1995 in an earthenware-making village outside Ayutthaya, Ban Suan Phrik, were making smooth pots, but they told me they used to cover their pots with elaborate paddle-impressed decoration and could still do so, if asked. Thus, the related pieces in the Hauge collection might be seen as ranging in date, potentially, from the 15th to the 20th century.

The earthenware pots that are preserved in Japanese collections as tea-ceremony utensils sometimes have thick, rolled rims resembling the rim of this vessel. Possibly the use of rolled rims on earthenware vessels reflected the rolled rims of the stoneware storage jars made at the Maenam Noi kilns in the 15th–17th centuries.

5. (Louise Cort, 22 May 2008) This pot is given a tentative date of 16th–17th century based on the analysis presented in "Earthenware from the Chao Phraya River network," within the Place section of the online catalogue, Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia. It is classified as Group 1, Type B.


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