Jarlet, porcelain, Ming Dynasty, China, 17th century
This small blue and white porcelain jarlet decorated with floral design in two 'ju-I' shape medallions on each side of the body is a typical example of jarlet from Chinese Ming Dynasty. This particular piece has a thick glaze and the paint on the body is blurred. 'ju-i', in the shape of the fungus that is supposed to give immortality, is often represented in the form of 'ju-i' head. This jarlet could have been intended for use as receptacles for cosmetics and medicines, or the various ingredients used in betal-chewing. Or this may have been used for funerary purpose, for use of the deceased as 'token' utensils, similar perhaps to the miniature cooking stoves and dwelling models found in the Han period tombs at Dong-so'n and other sites in Annam.
This Sawankhalok ware is a part of Mal Maloney's ceramic collection which comprises classic early Southeast Asian and Chinese ceramics including ceramics from the Sawankalok and Sukhothai kilns in Thailand, Annamese wares from Vietnam and Swatow and Ming Dynasty wares from China. All ceramic wares in this collection were collected in Jakarta betweeen 1968 and 1976. The collection is a good representation of trade wares in Southeast Asia and reflects the development of the ceramic industry and trade within the Asian regions during the thirteenth century and seventeenth century. This group of ceramic ware was probably exported to Indonesia via a sea trade route when Thailand became deeply involved in the long-distance ceramic trade.
Curator Aisan Arts & Design
Ref:N Spinks, Charles, A Ceramic interlude in Siam, Artibus Asiae , Vol 23. No. 2, 1960, pp.95-110
The collection was purchased from trade people known as 'Tukang' in Jakarta, Indonesia by the donor, Mal Maloney, Sydney.
Mal Maloney says 'All the ceramics were acquired in Jakarta during the time I was working there during the period of 1968 -1976. We developed an interest in these items because our Chief geologist, Dean Frasche, was a college and a well known authority on SEA ceramics and he was always identifying pieces and explaining their origin and age. All pieces were bought over many years from 'Tukangs' or tradesmen who brought their wares to our house and offered them for sale. All were the subject of the usual Asian bargaining process, sometimes for as long as 20 minutes per piece!'