Religious imagery on Angkorian stoneware ceramics
Louise Allison Cort
Paper short abstract:
Three ceramic vessels dating circa 12th-15th century reiterate iconography more familiar from Angkorian monumental architectural ornament and sculpture in stone, bronze, and wood. This paper explores the possible roles of such portable vessels in conveying and enacting religious concepts.
Paper long abstract:
Three glazed stoneware ceramic vessels in the Hauge Collection of Khmer ceramics at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., feature elaborate ornamentation that relates them to religious sculpture executed in stone, bronze, or wood. The authenticity of these unusual vessels was confirmed by Thermoluminescence (TL) testing, which suggested dates within--or perhaps slightly after, in one instance--the Angkorian period. The paper addresses the iconography of these three vessels and its relationship to that of Angkorian sculpture and monumental architecture and proposes a context for two of the vessels within the form of Buddhism espoused by the ruler Jayavarman VII and for the third within a somewhat later Theravada Buddhist context. It will also consider the possible places of production for the vessels, their usefulness in marking datable Angkorian ceramic styles, and their relationship to ceramic production in Vietnam (Dai Viet) and China.
Archaeologies of religion: material approaches to the study of belief systems in Southeast Asia