Commercial pickle jar

  • Stoneware with iron glaze
  • 9 x 12 cm
  • Shiwan (Shekwan) ware
  • 19th-mid 20th century, Qing dynasty or modern period
  • Origin: Shiwan (Shekwan) kilns, Foshan, Guangdong province, China
  • Provenance: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.79

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 28 May 2007) The ceramics storeroom of the Dong Nai Museum in Bien Hoa contains ceramics recovered within the province, primarily from the Dong Nai River, especially in the vicinity of Bien Hoa. The collection includes a jar like this one.

2. (Louise Cort, 4 June 2007) A jar of this type was on display in the Binh Dinh Provincial Museum, Quy Nhon, without identification.

3. (Louise Cort, 13 June 2007) A jar of this type in the collection of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi (acc. no. 24.03.1.604) had been used as a container for lime paste.

4. (Louise Cort, 3 November 2011) According to Pariwat Thammapreechakorn, jars of this type are known to the Chaozhou people in Thailand as containing dangchai, salted vegetables served with rice noodles.

5. (Louise Cort, 11 October 2012) A jar of this type was on view in the Guangdong Shiwan Ceramics Museum as one of the typical commercial products of the Shiwan kilns. The particular jar on display was dated Qing, 19th century.

These jars of pickles were widely distributed. Sarah and Konrad Bekker accumulated (after using the contents, presumably) dozens of such jars while living in Bangkok in the 1960s.

The empty jars were distributed even more widely for reuse. Leedom Lefferts found one such jar in a village in northern Laos in the ealry 1990s.

Changed Origin from Fujian or Guangdong province to Guangdong province. Added Shiwan (Shekwan) ware.

6. (Louise Cort, 12 February 2015) Dr. Sarah Bekker collected a large number of jars of this type while living with her husband in Thailand from 1964 to 1971. Several dozen jars of this type were ofered in the auction of her estate holdings at Sloans and Kenyon in 2013 (sale 79, lots 64, 69, 80, 81, 129). They were described as "found in the river at Ayutthaya, Thailand," although the source of that information is not clear.

Some jars remained in Dr. Bekker's home after the auction. Enclosed with them was a slip of paper with Dr. Bekker's notations: "Honan Sung Tz'u-chou Cox," to which was added later "Dean Frasche -- squat brown jars are iron glaze; provenance South China." Thus my assumption (see note 5) that Dr. Bekker was buying these jars new was incorrect.

Photographs of many such bottles appear among Dr. Bekker's slides of her collection, now in the Freer and Sackler Archives, numbered on the slides 1627-28, 1631-32, 1693-98, 1746-58, 1894-1902, 1949-51, 1963-70.

7. (Louise Cort, 30 November 2015) Jars of this type were collected as surface finds from Pulau Saigon, a site along the Singapore River used for dumping refuse during the nineteenth century and inhabited until the 1980s (Barry 2000, figure 44 and p. 31). They were identified as Cizao ware from Jinjiang.

Jennifer Barry. 2000. Pulau Saigon: A post-eighteenth century archaeological assemblage recovered from a former island in the Singapore River. Stamford, England: The Rheidol Press.


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