Jar for distilled liquor

  • Unglazed stoneware
  • 28.5 x 29 cm
  • 16th-19th century
  • Origin: possibly Songkhram River basin kilns, Middle Mekong River network, Northeast Thailand or Laos
  • Provenance: Ayutthaya, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Sarah M. Bekker
  • S2005.5

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 20 April 2005) According to Dr. Sarah Bekker's inventory, she was told by the Ayutthaya vendor (or felt herself) that this jar was "Khmer." This seems to relate to the jar's probable source in Northeast Thailand (although it could have come via Northeast Thailand from Laos). Another jar of the same ware that the Bekkers purchased in Ayutthaya was identified to them as "Khom" (i.e. pre-Khmer). In the 1960s and early 1970s, there seems to have been no widespread awareness of a post-Khmer ceramic tradition in Northeast Thailand and Laos.

2. (Louise Cort, 13 February 2006) Two jars of this type from the Fujiwara collection in Kyoto were exhibited at the Sato Art Museum, (Toyama Satō Bijutsukan 1999, nos. 11–12). They are identified as from Laos and dated to the 14th–16th century.

No. 11 (h. 21.5 cm) is fired to dark brown with shiny residue of wood ash on the shoulder and the inside of the neck. No. 12 (h. 29.3 cm) is light reddish-orange with a yellow dusting of wood ash on the shoulder and inside the neck—it clearly was fired in a part of the kiln protected from direct contact with the flames. No. 11 is said to have been recovered from Si Sattanak village south of Vientiane, site of a group of kilns. No. 11 is said to be heavier and thicker-walled than no. 12.

The two lugs on no. 11 are different in shape, one squared and the other with a pointed upper end, suggesting a cock's head. Both lugs on no. 12 are roughly triangular with concave outer edges and convex inner edges, suggesting the form of upraised wings. The lugs on the Bekker jar are distinctly different from both these jars.

Toyama Satō Bijutsukan (Sato Memorial Art Museum Toyama), ed. 1999. Kamratan korekushon Tōnan Ajia kotōji ten VI (Special Exhibition; South-east Asian Ceramics From The Kamratan Collection VI). Toyama: Toyama Satō Bijutsukan.   

3. (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 16th–mid 18th century to 16th–19th century.

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