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Vessel in the shape of a three-headed elephant

Sukhothai period, 14th C AD (dated by test)

Olive-green glazed celadon

H 22 cm

TL-Analysis (Laboratory R.Kotalla) no. 03090907 dated 11.09.2007


Most probably this very striking example here was made at the kilns in Si Satchanalai, where glazed celadon was produced from the 14th to the 16th centuries. These kilns were situated on the river Yom in north-central Thailand, north to the town of Sawankhalok. Sawankhalok was the name used to decribe the high-fired stoneware that is now known to originate from Si Satchanalai. The center of production was under the cultural direction of Sukhothai kingdom. This olive-green glazed celadon with animal design and elaborate figures is executed with a lot of detail. The elephant with three heads could be the mythical elephant Airavata or the so called Erawan in Thailand, carrying three drivers. The elephant’s trunks hang downwards. The ear hole is presumably to allow the hot air to escape during the firing. The content of the receptacle could have been of a sacred nature.  

Si Satchanalai wares were important Thai export products that have been discovered from shipwrecks around the Strait of Malacca, Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea and probably exported on maritime trade route to Southeast Asian and African markets.

Reference: Thai Ceramic art, The Three Religions, Nicol Guerin, Dick van Oenen, Suntree Media 2005.

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