The iconography of this rare covered jar may refer to a meditating sage, or 'rishi', one of the wandering ascetics associated with Hinduism and distinguished by their beards. The form may be that of a mountain, abstracted and translated into the Khmer ceramic idiom. Since mountains were considered the abode of the gods and a place of retreat, they were favourite haunts of ascetics. It is unclear whether this vessel had a specific function: it may be a funerary urn or a holy water jar, or something for everyday use. Although one of the finest examples of this type of Khmer jar, it is still covered in the technically flawed but characteristic smooth, brown glaze that easily flakes.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.317.
Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a gallery, 'Asian Art', pg. 106-113, Sydney, 1984, 108 (colour illus.).
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, 91 (illus.).
Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 58 (colour illus.). no.10
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 317 (colour illus.).
Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015