Siamese Jar and Its Significant to Southeast Asian Trade during the 14th to 18th Centuries
Siam or Ayutthaya Kingdom was one of important trade centers in Southeast Asia since the 14th century onwards. The capital of kingdom was Ayutthaya located along the Chao Phraya River that linked to the Gulf of Thailand. Ayutthaya expanded boundary of kingdom to every direction and many cities were ruled as its dependent or tributary cities. Most of them also supplied local products to Ayutthaya for sale to either domestic or international market. Based on archaeological research, the ceramics are one kind of famous products of Ayutthaya Kingdom. Unglazed earthenware and glazed stoneware with various styles of decoration were widely produced in the kingdom under the Khmer and Chinese influences. Especially at Bang Pun, Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai, and Bang Rachan (Singburi or Mae Nam Noi) kilns were operated under Ayutthaya as well as these kilns were usually produced the jar, excepted Sukhothai that was not produced it. According to the in-land and underwater archaeological reports, the jars were found in several archaeological contexts especially in capital Ayutthaya, hinterlands, coastal cities, and shipwrecks specifically Chinese, Southeast Asian and European merchant ships, which all dated between the 14th and 18th centuries. The jars especially found in great temples of cities and shipwrecks with their remains still inside suggest they were used to be a jar burial and a container of other smaller products for shipping.
Keywords: Unglazed Jar, Glazed Jar, Jar Burial, Container, Siam, Ayutthaya, Bang Pun, Si Satchanalai, Bang Rachan
Atthasit Sukkham completed his master of arts in archaeology from Silpakorn University, Bangkok and the summer research in archaeology field school scholarship at Southern Methodist University, New Mexico in 2010. With the financial support of the Thailand Research Funds in Thailand, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Malaysia and Griffith University in Australia he has worked on ancient rock arts especially the relation between maritime trade and trans-peninsula routes for the development of cultural and civilization database for GMS and Malay Peninsula Regions’ from 2009 to 2010. He is currently a curator in Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University, Pathum Thani. He has conducted several research activities and educational promotion programs in the museum and has published in Thailand and international journals on ceramic productions, maritime archaeology and museology.