Ref. Number: B1074

Country: Cambodia

Period: 11-13th Cent.

Khmer Vase

Khmer baluster vase

Khmer baluster vase, monochrome brown-glazed stoneware (kiln-fired at about 1150-1300°C.), Angkorian Period (9th Century – 1431). The decoration includes geometric bands of spots design, added as appliqué buttons around the shoulder. It is likely that these pieces were used for the purposes of ritual.

Potting traditionally was done either on a pottery wheel or using shaping tools such as paddles and anvils. Firing was done in clay kilns, which could reach temperatures of 1,000-1,200 °C. The typical base of these wares is plain, flat and slightly concave. Some bases have fingerprint-like traces indicating that the body was cut from a potter’s wheel, but some have a short footrim.

The earliest Khmer ceramic production center is the Phnom Kulen kilns in Cambodia. Recently over 20 separate kilns were found at Choeung Ek, better known to tourists as one of Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ during the Pol Pot regime. Surveys by the Fine Arts Department in northeastern Thailand have led to the discovery of more Khmer kilns scattered in different areas of Buri Ram province. They are especially prominent in Laharn Sai and Ban Kruat districts. These kilns seem to have produced ceramic ware mostly around the early 11th century, when the Khmer kingdom become extremely powerful in this region, but discontinued production in the middle of the 13th century during which period the Khmer kingdom rapidly declined, although there is no convincing evidence yet for their beginning and end dates of production.

Khmer ceramics are heavy, rather brooding, somber, and serious looking pieces but all have a beauty of shape and glaze that makes them extremely appreciated by those who have an eye for art and history.

A similar object at the NSW art Gallery, an Australian Museum:
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/work/254.1981/

A similar object at the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art:
http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/singleObject.cfm?ObjectNumber=S1996.117

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