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

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Jar with eight vertical lugs, incised and applied decoration

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 58.7 x 39.4 cm
  • Possibly Shiwan ware
  • 17th-18th century, Ming or Qing dynasty
  • Origin: possibly Shiwan kilns, Guangdong province, China
  • Provenance: Saigon (HCMC), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.55

Description

Jar of ovoid form with tall neck, flared mouth and flatten rim. A circular clay pad attached to recessed base. Eight grooved loop handles with thumb-pressed ends on shoulder.
Clay: buff stoneware.
Glaze: caramel, low gloss, transparent; base and interior unglazed.
Decoration: six incised rings and four applique flower design on neck, eight auspicious objects in low relief alternate with loop handles on shoulder, right above a band of applique rosette. Below this band is a row of raised cloud collars. Two pairs of incised upright dragon confronting a flaming pearl in alternate with a peony spray and plum blossom on body. A band of bosses above foot.

Published References

1. Dupoizat, Marie-France. 1988. “Recherches sur les Jarres en Asie du Sud-Est.” Ph.D. Thesis, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris: 505–506.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 22 January 2003) At the time we collected this piece from the Hauges on 17 July 2002, Victor Hauge commented that he thought it was Chinese.

Ms. Tran Thi Tranh Dao, The Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City, was an intern at the museum at the time we collected this material from the Hauges' home. According to Dao, pieces equivalent to S2005.55 and 64 are in the collection of her museum and were bought from ethnic minorities (Jarai or Banna) in the Central Highlands, who were said to have used them for wine. She thinks this type of pot was made in Song Be Province.

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 12, 2003) Two Chinese jar of this type dating to 16th–17th century is in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Adhiwiyogo. These jars with vertical dragons facing flaming pearls are used as burial jars among the Dayak tribes of West Kalimantan in Borneo. Adhyatman & Abu mention that jars with high shoulder are looked upon as female jars, while the make jars has sloping shoulder and rounded body. Then, this jar would be identified as a male jar (Adhyatman and Ridho 1984, 52, 54, 114; pls. 52–53).

This jar type is also called dragon jars. They were used primary for burial, later on as a sign of status and prosperity. Grabowski drew a picture of 18 jars in complimentary with names and values, which he saw in villages of the Kapuas-Murong Delta in 1881. Dragons jars had higher value than the other jars without dragons design (Harrisson 1986, 28–29, fig. 6.4, pl. 102).

Adhyatman, Sumarah, and Abu Ridho. 1984. Tempayan di Indonesia (Martavans in Indonesia). rev. 2nd ed. Jakarta: Himpunan Keramik Indonesia (The Ceramic Society of Indonesia).

Harrisson, Barbara. 1986. Pusaka: Heirloom Jars of Borneo. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

3. (Louise Cort, 25 Jan 2005) Marie-France Dupoizat (Dupoizat 1988, 507–508) publishes this jar as her H27 and groups it, along with S2005.56 and S2005.174, among the group of Vietnamese jars that "resemble the Chinese jars of Guangdong with their decoration showing variations that suggest to us a Vietnamese origin. Above all, the decoration executed mainly by incising is treated differently, presenting a feeling that is not comparable, while their flat bases present characteristic features that suggest the use of a mold.... The medallions at the top of the body are identical, with those on [S2005.55] executed in relief" (Dupoizat 1988, 505). She dates these jars 19th–20th century.

This jar weighs 9 kg.

Dupoizat, Marie-France. 1988. "Recherches sur les Jarres en Asie du Sud-Est". Ph.D. Thesis, L'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

4. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) Dr. Luu Hung and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong Mai, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, felt that this jar could be either Chinese or made by Viet (Kinh) potters near Ho Chi Minh City. The motif of the rolled document, standing for intelligence, was a popular one that was often carved in the wooden ornament for a commune house or rich man's home. On this jar the decoration is applied as separately molded pieces of clay—compare S2005.64, on which similar decoration is formed by a mold pressed against the jar.  The flower designs are the dao, representing spring, and the peony (cuc) standing for autumn. This type of jar was very popular in the Central Highlands.

5. (Louise Cort, 4 July 2006) A jar of similar shape, glaze, and decoration (although the paied dragons are appled in relief rather than incised) was collected in 1998 for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, from a Giarai ethnic community in Chu Pah district, Giarai province, in the Central Highlands (acc. no. 17.98.1.27). The local name for the jar was che co (ancient jar). The female owner said that it had been acquired by her great-grandparents. The jar was used in ceremonies to pray to the spirits and as property of the deceased.

6. (Louise Cort, 24 October 2011) According to Pariwat Thammapreechakorn, Southeast Asia Ceramics Museum, Bangkok, this jar dates to late Ming or early Qing (17th-18th century). A dealer found a jar like this in Champassak, Laos, together with jars like S2005.147 and S2005.148.

Changed Period from Qing dynasty to Ming or Qing dynasty. Changed Date from 17th-19th century to 17th-18th century.


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