Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Bank Kiln: Type and Process of Pottery in Southern Laos

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Bank Kiln: Type and Process of Pottery in Southern Laos

Article excerpt


This article investigates the process of pottery using kilns in Phakkaya village in Aadsapon city of Savannakhet province and in Tha Hin village in Samakkixai city of Attapeu province, Lao PDR. In these villages different kilns were used depending on the different geography it had. The process of pottery was similar among these two communities; however in Tha Hin village they used certain wood ash to coat the pottery while this wisdom was not known in Phakkaya village. The variety of pottery was similar, though the demands of certain product were not the same. Phakkaya was located in a rural area far from the city with inconvenient transportation and considered far from the urban city modernization; the emphasis of their pottery production was mainly ceramic household utensils and was distributed to nearby villages where most of the villagers were also Phu Tai people. In Tha Hin village, located on the main road to the major city of Attapeu province, this village was more developed and emphasized on producing ceramic whiskey jars to sell to other tribes living in the same province.

Keywords: Bank kiln, pottery, type and process, Attapeu, Savannakhet

1. Introduction

According to the historical evidences found from the discovery of clay pottery at the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang province (Thepsimoung, 2010), the 1,500-2,500 year old of three clay jars at Annmaa cave in Luang Prabang (Central Mekong Sub-Region Archaeology Research Project, 2013) and about 1,500 year old Lao Paago clay pots in Paak Ngum city of Vientiane that had about (Kallen, 2004), it led to the knowledge of that these areas in the northern and central regions of Lao PDR had produced clay pots and jars for a long time. Their type and process were also similar to those found in Ban Chiang in Udonthani province and in Nonnoktha of Naadee village in Khon Kaen province of Thailand. In addition, it was found in Ban Chiang archaeological site that some physical characteristic on ancient human skulls here were most similar to those of in Laos. (Nathapindhu, 2007). Based on the exploration by the Australian archaeologist jointly with Thailand Archaeology Division of Fine Arts Department, it was found that in the area of Si Satchanalai district in Sukhothai province and Nakhon Thai district in Pitsanulok province there were more than a thousand of ancient kilns. The archaeologists understood that it was the origin and center of the largest ceramic industry at that time. Following the examination along Yom River, both developed and under developed of old style kilns were found, included of more than 800 river bank kilns. By using the dating to find the years of these kilns, it was revealed that, in around 1107, a whole was dug from the river bank onto the earth, similar to the stomach of a pig, by having the oval across form to be used as the kiln. Later on during 1157-1257 the kiln's form changed: its ground was flat and smooth making it was easier for loading the wares. The new form's structure was clearly divided into chambers, such as firebox and firing chamber (Chantaree, 1999). This type of kiln had been used in the northeastern Thailand during the past twenty years and gradually disappeared, however it still has been used in Lao PDR at present. In this article it studies about the process, type and firing of pottery using kilns in southern Lao communities, including Phakkaya village in Savannakhet province and Tha Hin village in Attapeu province. The types of kilns are differed among these two villages, as well as the products that answer the needs of villagers in the areas.

2. River Bank Kiln Ceramic Producers in Phakkaya Viilage, Savannakhet Province

2.1 Phakkaya: Village 's History and Pottery

The village was named after a vegetable called Phakkaya that used to abundantly grow around the community but it became decreasingly less now. In the north, the village is connected with Nong Doen village, with Taaddoktaew in the south, with Nawangmon village on the east and on the west with Xaimoune village. …

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