Introduction Other Types of Ancient Thai Ceramics


The Thai term "Khreung thuai" means both "Pottery" and "Ceramics". The term ceramics is more inclusive than pottery. It includes glazed tiles, brick, glass and glazed metal items such as spoons. Generally, however, it has been understood to represent only unglazed pottery which has been fired with a high enough temperature to become porcelain. Practically speaking, the term pottery includes glazed, unglazed, high and low fired wares. Moreover, pottery can be divided by production sites, examples of which include Ban Chiang pottery, Ban Prasat pottery, Buriram pottery, Sukhothai pottery, Lanna pottery, etc.



The History of Thai Ceramics

Since prehistoric times, ceramic ware has been an inseparable part of daily human life. Man has created and produced many types of ceramic wares for various uses. While the creation of ceramics has occurred widely, the development of ceramic production has varied from region to region.

In several archeological sites in Thailand, a large number and variety of ceramic remains have been discovered. They are classified into two main groups according to their sources of manufacture: ceramics which were produced in Thailand and those produced in foreign countries. The ceramics discovered so far which were made in Thailand have been well made due to the skill of artisans and the adequate raw materials in the area. They were decorated using a wide range of techniques and designs. Ceramics often played a key role as a medium of exchange among nearby communities. Furthermore, it is a fact that people in some communities produced and developed ceramics in their own styles, independently and without influence from other communities, and that these ceramic beginnings grew gradually to become powerful industries. Eventually local artisans were able to distribute their products to other communities.

Ceramic Wares in Thailand

The ceramic wares in Thailand have been categorized into two main divisions as follows:

Ceramic Wares in Thailand

1. Ceramics Produced in the Thai Kingdom
- Ban Kao
- Ban Chiang
- Ban Prasat
- Dvaravati
- Srivijaya
- Haripunjaya
- Khmer
- Ban Bang Pun
- Sukhothai
- Lan Na
- Wat Phra Prang
- Ban Chi Pa Kao Hai
- Mae Nam Song Khram

2. Ceramics Produced in Foreign Countries
- Chinese
- Japanese
- Vietnamese
- Burmese
- Bencharong
- Lai Nam Thong
- Tea sets in the "Initials of King Rama V" style
- Tea sets in the "Chakri" style
- European
Prehistorical Pottery

Ban Chiang Pottery
about 3,600 B.C to around A.D. 200


Ban Chiang Pottery

Ban Chiang, a village in the Nong Han District in Udon Thani Province, in the northeastern part of Thailand, is well known as one of the most important and valuable archaeological sites of prehistoric cultures. The period extended from about 3,600 B.C to around A.D. 200.

The Ban Chiang cultural sequence has been categorized into three major periods according to thermoluminescence testing at the University of Pennsylvania :

Water Pot Earthenware
Early Period, Ban Chiang culture


Early Period (ca. 3,600-1,000 B.C.)

The pottery of this period is characterized by black vessels and decorated with a cord-mark design.

Storage Vessel
Earthenware with red pigment
Middle Period, Ban Chiang culture


Middle Period (ca. 1,000-300 B.C.)

The pottery of this period is characterized by a carinated pot with greyish-white clay, a plain surface and low carination. Some were incised and painted under their rims.

Storage Vessel
Earthenware with red pigment
Late Period, Ban Chiang culture


Late Period (ca.300 B.C.-A.D.200)

The pottery of this period is very famous throughout the world and is characterized by a dark clay covered with a buff slip and painted with red geometric designs.

Pedestaled Vessel
Earthenware, Ban prasat


Ban Prasat Pottery

Ban Prasat is located in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. This type of pottery has been dated from 1,000 B.C.- A.D.500.

The most popular pottery are plates and kendis with everted rims, narrowed necks, extremely flared mouths, rounded bodies and projected carination. The lower part of the body was decorated with cord-mark designs, but some were left undecorated. Exterior and interior surfaces were slipped in red.

Buriram Pottery

Zoomorphic Lime Pot
Around 11-13 century

Buriram Ceramics

Around the 7th and 8th centuries, Khmer art began to spread to northeastern Thailand. Later on, around the 11th-13th centuries, from the reign of King Suriyavarman I to the reign of King Jayavarman VII, Khmer political power spread to central Thailand and the art of that area became influenced by Khmer art.

The ceramics were mostly made in the shape of large storage jars, covered urns, bowls, covered boxes, lime pots, jarlets, and architectural fixtures such as roof tiles, antefix tiles, etc. Some were made in the shape of human or zoomorphic figurines, like elephants, owls, pangolins and chessmen.


Sukhothai Pottery


Sukhothai Ware (Sangkhalok)

Sangkhalok was the name given to ceramic ware produced by a number of kilns in Sukhothai Province during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Periods (from early 14th to late 16th centuries) The kiln sites of the Sukhothai ware which had already been explored were in two places:

1. The Sukhothai Kilns

The group of kilns was located outside of the northern wall of the ancient city of Sukhothai. The kilns were constructed along an ancient moat known as Mae Chon. They produced monochrome white-glazed and underglazed black ware. The special feature of the ceramic ware produced by these kiln groups were that they were heavily potted.

2. The Si Satchanalai Kilns

The largest industrial site for the production of Sukhothai ware in ancient times was located at what is now called Si Satchanalai. Several kilns had been found on both banks of the Yom River. They produced high quality products such as celadon, underglazed black, monochrome white-glazed, monochrome brown-glazed, as well as two-colored glazed and underglazed ware .

Lanna Pottery

Lanna Ware

Lanna, a local word in Northern Thailand, refers to the territory covering the upper Ping and Kok River basins which during the 14th-16th centuries included the area of the provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Lamphun and Lampang, and some parts of Myanmar, China and Laos.

Sankamphaeng Ware

The Sankamphaeng kilns were located in the Sankamphaeng District of Chiang Mai Province. The general visual characteristics of Sankamphaeng ware was a coarse clay, low footrim, a white slip painted on the mouth rim and on the interior before glazing or decorating. The most popular decorative design, which became typical of Sankamphaeng ware, was that of twin fish, similar to the Chinese Yin and Yang symbol, swimming on the bottom.


Sankampaeng, 14-16 century


Sankampaeng, 14-16 century


Wiang Kalong Ware

The manufacturing site of Wiang Kalong ware was in Wiang Pa Pao District of Chiang Rai Province near the River Mae Lao. The outstanding characteristic of this ware was their light weight due to the fact that the clay body was very fine with a high kaolin content and thus could be thinly potted. The pottery consisted of dishes, bowls, vases, covered jars and lamps as well as chessmen and zoomorphic figurines. The ware produced were of four types: underglazed black-painted, monochrome transparent white-glazed, emerald green-glazed and brown-glazed. The so-called symbolic sign of decoration on Wiang Kalong ware was the flower-petal design which was usually called in Thai, lai ka.


Squat two-handled Jarlet
Kalong , 14-16 century

Kalong, 14-16 century

Kalong, 14-16 century

Kalong, 14-16 century

Phan Ware

Phan ware was produced at kilns in Pong Daeng and Mai Nong Phak Jik Village in Sai Khao Subdistrict of Phan District in Chiang Rai Province. The physical shape of the ceramic ware was not distinct from that of the ceramic ware from the Wiang Kalong kilns, but the glazing was done with a celadon glaze like that on celadon ware. No Phan ware having underglaze black designs was produced.

Phan, 15-16 century

The Phra Racha Wang Derm Restoration Foundation
Copyright @ 2013