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An image of Jar by Ban Chiang ware

Ban Chiang ware

(Thailand  – )

Place of origin
Udon Thani ProvinceNorth East ThailandThailand
Cultural origin
Ban Chiang culture
200 BCE-200 CE
Media category
Materials used
earthenware with red painted decoration

20.3 cm

Gift of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1973
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Used as grave goods, Ban Chiang ceramics were discovered in burials along with bronze and iron artefacts and personal adornments such as glass beads. Through what now appears to have been erroneous dating methods, the Ban Chiang bronzes and ceramics were dated to 3600 BCE. This would have meant that bronze technology, and hence civilization, began in Thailand and not in Western Asia as previously thought. Widely publicised in 'Time' magazine in 1976, the pots gained instant fame as proof of the earliest civilization in the world. However, subsequent testing has given an average date of the 2nd century BCE. Similar dates have been given to stylistically related artefacts found at Cambodian and Vietnamese (Dong Son) sites, re-iterating the inter-connectedness of early settlements in mainland Southeast Asia. The black wares are an exception: thermoluminescence testing indicates they are much older, dating to around 1500 BCE.

'Ban Chiang ware', The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.323.

Bibliography (2)

Robert Haines (Director), Thai and Khmer Sculpture, Sydney, May 1973. Listed as object 14 in the section on Neolithic Pottery from Northeast Thailand

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 323 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (2)

Thai and Khmer pottery (1973), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 01 May 1973–17 May 1973

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015