Ref. Number: 878

Country: Thailand

Material: unglazed blue-gray stoneware

Dimension: 28 x 17 cm

Bang Pun Jar

This baluster jar of unglazed blue-gray stoneware, bearing individual stamped motifs on it’s shoulders and neck, originated from the Ban Bang Pun kilns, Suphanburi province, in the western part of central Thailand. It shows a broad cylindrical neck, flanged mouth, broad shoulder tapered to foot and flat base. Four applied studs on shoulder. The details of the stamps suggest a jeweler’s approach to ornamenting. They also call to mind the stamped designs on earlier Dvaravati earthenware vessels (Phasook 1985) or on glazed stoneware made in the Irrawaddy Delta kilns in Burma.

It is supposed that the Ban Bang Pun kilns began operation before the Ayutthaya period, around the 13th–14th centuries, and were contemporaneous with the Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai wares.

Stoneware kiln sites located near the city in the village of Ban Bang Pun—which follow the model of a stoneware source for an urban center—were excavated in 1985–86 by the Archaeology Division of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand (Kong Borannakhadi 1988). The ware is sometimes identified as Suphanburi ware.

The Ban Bang Pun kiln complex was connected by the Tha Chin River to the old port city of Samut Sakhon, where the river flowed into the Gulf of Thailand. To the west, the Klong River entered the gulf at Samut Songkhram downriver from Ratchaburi. Jars from Ban Bang Pun have been recovered from the Klong, together with large quantities of Chinese ceramics dating to the tenth century through to the twelfth century. The presence of Ban Bang Pun jars on early shipwrecks may be related to the trading activities of these port cities prior to or independently of the rise of Ayutthaya as a commercial center.

Jars from the Ban Bang Pun kilns have been identified in the Dong Nai River basin in South Vietnam, the Philippines (Valdes et al 1992), Korea, and Japan (Mikami 1984). One baluster jar, which was kept as a treasure in a shrine in Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, was copied by local potters in the nineteenth century (Kira 1993/94–1995).

Shards of Ban Bang Pun jars were found in association with the early (MON) kilns in Sawankhalok, which Don Hein dates to the thirteenth through fourteenth centuries, and stamped designs were used on early jars made there (Hein 2001, 249). When the Ban Bang Pun kiln site was reopened in 1999, Sayan Prishanchit and Suphamas Duangsakul identified thirteenth or fourteenth century Chinese qingbai porcelain and Longquan celadon vessel fragments in the deepest layer of a waste dump (Ho ed. 1999). Cumulative evidence suggests a date of operation for the kilns from the thirteenth to the mid-fifteenth century.

Earthenware jar

Earthenware jar

A similar item at the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art:
http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/singleObject.cfm?ObjectNumber=S2005.240

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