eMuseum Southeast Asia Ceramics


Thai ceramics were among the first Southeast Asian wares to be seriously studied, starting with WA Graham’s 1922 article “Pottery in Siam” in the Journal of the Siam Society. The field only gained momentum in the 1960s following Charles Nelson Spinks’ important contributions on Tai pottery and in the 1970s from the discovery of the Prasat Ban Phluang temple site.

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The kiln sites of Nan are among the most recently discovered by the Archaeology division of the Fine Arts Department and four in-ground kilns were excavated in 1984.

The sites have been severely disturbed by agriculture, but finds included “ceramics of three main types: dish-related shapes, jars and mortars; and kiln furniture” which were mainly saggers with lids. Brown tells us that “most of the wares were monochrome olive, brown and black, with some celadon and two-colour jars with a single glaze, the lighter colour produced by applying whitish slip under the glaze. The dish-related shapes consisted mainly of scoop-mouth plates with clear glaze over whitish slip […] The clay of these wares is their most distinctive feature: it is very dark grey, almost black, with tiny whitish speckles, although the surface often to orange, and sometimes brown.” (Brown 1988: 93)


Sherds from Nan: upper row of burial-size jars, lower of dishes.
(Photo source: Brown 1988: pl. 58 a)

She adds that the underglaze iron decoration appearing on two bowls found during the excavations was “quite similar in style” to the image shown below, which comes from a Sankampaeng design.

Flower from Sankampaeng underglaze decoration that resembles Nan designs
(Photo source: Brown 1988: fig. 60)

Source: Brown 1988


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