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.
Wang Nua was discovered in 1970, located 30 km south of Kalong. 25 kilns were found, but only eleven excavated in 1972. Archaeologists found mainly celadons, strengthening the idea that the northern Thai kilns were highly specialised.
|Cross-draft bank kilns at Wang Nua excavated in 1972. Dug into a hillside, the kilns comprised only a shell of clay earth hardened by repeated firings. Probably late 14th to early 15th centuries.
(Photo source: Brown 1988: pl. 54 e)
Most of the finds at the excavations were roughly made pieces, but extremely rare fine examples have been discovered, mostly at the Tak Om Koi burial sites, such as this plate below.
|Together with the sherds found at the kiln site, this plate typifies Wang Nua ware with its scalloped mouth-rim, which is made, as Brown puts it, “rather like pie crust edges”, by pinching the outer edge of the rim inward. Other characteristics include: unglazed bases, brownish-grey bodies, decoration limited to incised rings around the wells and a green glaze, which can range, according to Brown, “from a watery translucent medium green to an opaque somewhat murky yellowish green which is generally applied much more thinly on the exterior than interior.”
H: 6.2 cm; D: 30.4 cmPrivate collection
Photograph by Kim Retka(Photo source: Brown 1988: pl. XLV b)
Brown also tells us that “compared with other sites, the amount of sherd debris was quite small, a sign, probably, that the kilns’ productive period was short-lived.”
Source: Brown 1988: 83-84, 90