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Vessel with incised decoration - National Museum of Asian Art

Vessel with incised decoration

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BCE
  • Geography

    Khorat Plateau, Northeast Thailand
  • Material

    Dark gray earthenware with incised and impressed decoration
  • Dimension

    H x Diam: 33.9 x 42.3 cm (13 3/8 x 16 5/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    The dark gray, beaker-shaped vessel was shaped from two pieces: the rounded base of a container with broad trumpet mouth and wide, down-turning rim rests within the throat of a separate pedestal with spreading foot, and a projecting flange conceals the seam. The uneven, undulating surfaces suggest that the vessel parts were formed by hand from slabs or coils of clay built up and then smoothed between the potter's fingers. Decoration -- two broad, primarily curvilinear bands with angular lower edges -- was first outlined with a sharp pointed tool, then filled in with a densely-packed zigzag line sometimes described as "rocker stamping," suggesting that the blunt endof a blade was rocked back and forth to create the furrows. The untextured sections of the decorated surface, as well as the undecorated interior, appear to have been gently burnished. Presumably the vessel was fired in a bonfire, whose flames were smothered at the end of the firing with damp fuel or earth to produce the dense smoke that impregnated the walls with carbon, creating the charcoal gray surface.
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Origin

    Khorat Plateau, Northeast Thailand
  • Culture

    Ban Chiang culture, 4400-200 BCE
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

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