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

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Jar with eight lugs, incised and stamped decoration

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 58.4 x 40.5 cm
  • 18th-early 20th century, Qing dynasty
  • Origin: Song Be province or Guangdong province, Southern Vietnam or China
  • Provenance: Saigon (HCMC), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.56

Description

Jar of ovoid form with angular shoulder, tall neck, flared mouth and flatten rim, slightly splayed foot and recessed base with a circular mark. Eight grooved loop handles on shoulder.
Clay: buff-grey stoneware.
Glaze: caramel brown, low gloss, transparent; falls short of foot.
Decoration: a row of stamped flower motifs alternate with loop handles on shoulder, right above a band of incised leafy scroll. Below this band is a row of stamped cloud collars. Two pairs of incised upright dragon confronting a flaming pearl in alternate with a lotus spray and a flower spray on body.

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). When we collected this material on 17 July 2002, Victor Hauge commented that this piece was a different ware from S2005.55 and 64 and he thought it was probably made in Vietnam.

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, 505–506) publishes this jar as her H26 and groups it, along with S2005.55 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 13 kg. Dupoizat publishes a photograph taken by Victor Hauge in Saigon of a jar decorated only with incised motifs identical to those of this jar. That jar also showed a flat circle in the center about 10 cm in diameter, comparable to the treatment of the base on this jar.

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, were not familiar with this type of jar among those collected from the Central Highlands. They felt it was definitely Chinese. The designs, applied by incising and stamping, include dragons and flaming jewels and lotus and peony flowers.

5. (George Williams, research assistant, 30 January 2007) In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition, Taking Shape, and to reflect current understanding, changed Date from 17th–19th century to 18th–early 20th century.


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