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

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Stove or lamp

  • Earthenware
  • 11.8 x 28.9 x 23.9 cm
  • 16th-18th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Chao Phraya River network, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.412


Stove with shallow fire hearth, a raised cylindrical section at one end for holding pot.
Clay: greyish brown earthenware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: none.

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 archeologists 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." (Graham 1922, 20).

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

2. (Louise Cort, 18 January 2007) A "miniature" stove of this type, with cylindrical support for the cooking pot, is illustrated as coming from the river in Ayutthaya (Shaw 1987, 47, lower right). Dimensions are not given.

Shaw, John C. 1987. Introducing Thai Ceramics; also Burmese and Khmer. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

3. (Louise Cort, 30 January 2008) In contrast to this type of stove, stoves recovered from excavations at the site of the royal palace in Angkor Thom are round, with low rims, like a heavy flat basin with a wide flat base, and bear three prong-shaped supports equally spaced around the inside of the rim for the cooking pot (Franiatte 2000, 96; 112, fig. 31). Stoves of that type are also represented in the relief scene on the Bayon of the "Chinese merchant's house."

Franiatte, Marc. 2000. "Nouvelles analyses de la céramique khmère du Palais royal d'Angkor Thom: Etude préliminaire." Udaya (Journal of Khmer Studies) 1: 91–124.

4. (Louise Cort, 18 January 2011) A vessel of related shape, with a cylindrical "neck" at the back, was on view among varieties of earthenware stoves and cooking pots in the Dr. Tawee Folklore Museum, Phitsanulok, Thailand, on 27 Dec 1995. However, it was labeled as a "lamp." It had a second cylindrical "neck" attached to the flat pan near one front corner. Torches made from dried plant leaves rolled tightly were placed upright in both cylinders to suggest how the lamp would have been used. The vessel measured about 20 cm (visual estimate) back to front.

Changed Title from Stove to Stove or lamp.

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