Professor in Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore
By the 10th century AD, Southeast Asians began to make glazed stoneware pottery. The first to master this technique were the Khmer, at the dawn of the glorious Angkor period. They were followed by the Thai, the Vietnamese, the Cham, and the Burmese.
Since 1969 the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society under William Willetts has played a fundamental role in stimulating research and publication on this topic. The Society’s publication, New Light on Old Pottery, in 2009 summarized four decades of research on this topic.
The next step forward in the Society’s endeavour to expand awareness of this blend of unique technology and art is this E-Museum. Through this medium, it is hoped that many more people will be able to appreciate the creations of craftspeople (since ancient times, many Southeast Asian potters have been female) who have worked in the medium of clay. Information about this source of knowledge and aesthetic enjoyment is still relatively inaccessible to most non-experts.
The E-Museum will make available many more images of Southeast Asian ceramics than can be published in conventional printed form. We hope that as a result, more people will come to appreciate this important facet of Southeast Asian culture.