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Mar 14, 2009

Next Meeting Thursday, April 2 from 3 to 5 pm

The next meeting of the Washington Oriental Ceramic Group will take place on Thursday, April 2 from 3 to 5 pm in the storage area of the Freer Gallery of Art. In this handling session we will focus on imperial blue and white porcelains of the Ming and Qing dynasties from the Freer’s world-class collection. For reasons of space no more than 15 members can attend. The first 15 to respond are in. Please assemble in the foyer of Freer Gallery, National Mall side, NLT 2:50 pm.

Save the date:

The May meeting will take place on Saturday, May 2 at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA. WLU’s extensive Reeves Collection emphasizes Chinese export porcelain made for the European and American markets. Travel arrangements, car pooling will be organized. Details in early April.

Underglaze iron-brown decorated dish from the Kalong kilns of Northern Thailand. It is in a Japanese collection.

Synopsis of the 7 March session

In the golden age of Southeast Asian trade from the 12th to the 17th centuries ceramics with distinctive styles and separate traditions were produced in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The stimulus was the upsurge in international trade along the Maritime Silk Road that crisscrossed Southeast Asia.

Only Burma/Myanmar produced tin-glazed ceramics in the region. Low-fired earthenware with a red to orange body, these pots were covered with a lead-based glaze with some tin content. The glaze fired to an opaque milky white. Monochromes and underglaze copper green painting were produced.

The Khmer Empire potters produced some of the most distinctive Southeast Asian stonewares. Often showing influences of Indian metal prototypes, Khmer pots were made in Cambodia and eastern Thailand. Their product was totally for the domestic market. Among their wares were tall, slender storage jars and cute zoomorphic lime pots.

The Sawankholak and Sukhothai stonewares of north central Thailand in the 14-16th centuries were extensively traded internationally. Huge numbers of their distinctive celadons, monochrome jarlets and white-slipped bowls with brown decoration have been found in graves in the Philippines and Indonesia and in the cargoes of sunken ships along the Maritime Silk Road.

The high-fired ceramics of Northern Thailand -- Lan Na -- are among the most elegant of all Southeast Asian wares. Notable are the iron-brown decorated wares under a soft, rain-cloud grey glaze from the kilns of Kalong, not far from Chiangmai. Lan Na wares were rarely exported.

The most distinctive Vietnamese stonewares were the monochromes and iron-brown inlaid wares of the 11th-14th centuries made for the domestic and the well-known cobalt blue export wares. Produced in kilns near Hanoi, these blue and white wares have been found from Japan to the Ottoman Empire and Persia.

Images of the wares described above can be seen in the following websites:

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