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An image of Elephant shaped jar by


Elephant shaped jar
Place of origin
Cultural origin
Angkor period 802 - 1431 → Cambodia
11th century-12th century
Media category
Materials used
stoneware with dark brown glaze to lower body, legs unglazed

21.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1981
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

This inspired and original interpretation of a globular-shaped pot bears the instantly recognisable features of an elephant. Revered by the Khmer people in their daily lives, the animal also appears in much Buddhist and Hindu iconography. This particular example is a stunning marriage of ornamental impulse and practical need. Ceramics such as this were neither ceremonial vessels nor ritual objects, but articles of daily use. Because they were not made for export they remained free of outside influences, retaining their highly distinctive Khmer character. Made from a light buff-coloured low-fired stoneware, and covered with a brittle brown glaze that is prone to flaking, such wares are the hallmark products of the Khmer ceramic tradition.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 298.

Bibliography (10)

Roxanna M Brown, The ceramics of South-East Asia: Their dating and identification, Malaysia, 1977. plate J; No. 3; NOTE: See plate I, no. 4 for a pale green glazed jar

Roxanna M Brown and Adrian Joseph (Editors), South-East Asian and Chinese Trade Pottery, Hong Kong, 1979, 220. 241

Dean Frasche, South-east Asian Ceramics, New York, 1977, 38. 10

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South-East Asia', pg. 298-301, Sydney, 1999, 298 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Asian Art', pg. 85-103, Sydney, 1981, 93 (illus.). 13

Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 180 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'South-East Asian Art', pg. 83-96, Sydney, 1990, 90 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 317 (colour illus.).

Jacqueline Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian', pg. 72-93, Sydney, 1988, 92 (illus.).

Editor Unknown, Oriental art [vol 27, no 1], Surrey, Spring 1981, (illus.). Bluett advertisement featuring this work.

Exhibition history (1)

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