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

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Jar with six vertical lugs, applied and combed decoration

  • Stoneware with cobalt glaze
  • 56.9 x 38.7 cm
  • Shiwan (Shekwan) ware
  • 19th century, Qing dynasty
  • Origin: Shiwan (Shekwan) kilns, Foshan, Guangdong province, China
  • Provenance: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.64

Description

Jar of ovoid form with tall neck, flared mouth and concave base. Six vertical loop-handles with moulded dragon heads on shoulder.
Clay: brown stoneware.
Glaze: 'blue jun' or 'blue feather' glaze, glossy, opaque; falls short of foot.
Decoration: a band of applique flower design below the loop-handles. Below this band is a row of shield-shaped design in low relief. Four moulded upright dragons pressed outward from inside alternate with two flaming pearls and cranes in low relief on body. A series of combed bands above foot.

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. The ware is like that of S2005.55.
    
Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Dao, Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho Chi Minh City, was an intern at the museum at the time we collected this material. 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 Bahnar) in the Central Highlands, who were said to have used them for making rice wine. She thinks this type of pot was made in Song Be Province.

2. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, May 12, 2003) Jars of this type with vertical dragon and bird design are in the collection of Sabah Museum. These jars were made both in Guangdong and Borneo. Harrison mentions that this model came from Guangdong in 1880 in different glaze colors, but the Borneo potters mainly produced brown-glazed jars of this design.

This jar type is also called dragon jar. 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. Dragon jars had higher value than the other jars without dragons design (Harrison 1986, 28-29, fig. 6.4, pl. 102).

This jar was covered with blue glaze also known as "Guang Jun," which was produced distinctively at the Shiwan kilns in Guangdong province, South China. Zhang mentions that the people of the East Indies, which were then under Dutch rule, were particularly fond of the "dragon-phoenix urns" manufactured in Shiwan. They used those jars to store valuable clothes and other articles. Most of the Shiwan jars were in brown or green glaze (Zhang 1979, 200-202).

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

Zhang Weichi. 1979. "Guanyu Shiwanyao de jige wenti (Several Questions about the Shiwan Kiln)". Pp. 188-198 (Chinese), 198-208 (English) in Shiwan Tao Zhan (Exhibition of Shiwan Wares). Hong Kong: Xianggang daxue Feng Pingshan bo wu guan (Fung Ping Shan Museum, University of Hong Kong).

3. (Louise Cort, 12 July 2006) Dr. Luu Hung and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong Mai, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, noted the blue glaze as popular among certain ethnic groups in the Central Highlands. The design of phoenix and dragon is applied using individual molds pressed against the clay. The lugs take the form of dragon heads.

4. (Louise Cort, 10 April 2007) A jar of this type, with brown glaze, in the Princessehof Museum, Leeuwarden, is said to have been made in Guangdong and is dated to end of 17th-beginning of 18th century (Miedema 1964, no. M46). The jar bears a maker's insignia on the shoulder.

Miedema, Hessel. 1964. Martavanen: catalogus. Leeuwarden: Gemeentelijk Museum het Princesshof.

5. (Louise Cort, 3 October 2007) Michel Lee, who has just completed his master's thesis on the Shiwan kilns for SOAS, London, confirms this jar as Shiwan ware.

6. (Louise Cort, 4 February 2008) Marie-France Dupoizat does not publish the Hauge jar in her study of jars in Southeast Asia, but she does publish a large group of closely similar vessels, which she assigns to Guangdong and dates to 18th-20th century (Dupoizat, 1988, 327-330).

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.


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