We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.



200 BCE-200 CE


Ban Chiang ware


  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Udon Thani Province North East Thailand Thailand
    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
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Ban Chiang ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Udon Thani Province

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, pre Mar 1973, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, documented in 'Thai and Khmer Sculpture' exhibition catalogue (May 7-19, 1973) at David Jones' Art Gallery. Purchased prior to the exhibition by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales for the Art Gallery, Sydney, 1973.

Other works by Ban Chiang ware

See all 16 works