Ceramics Description

Some archaeological finds have been discovered from the excavation of prehistoric sites in Cambodia, which date to the Neolithic period (5,000BCE). One collection housed in the Lyon Museum was excavated from the Samrong Sen site. It consists of pottery decorated with spirals on a stippled background and dated to the late Neolithic period. Maude Girard-Geslan wrote in a recent catalogue , “the pottery built by hand, comprises containers with rounded or footed bases. In the oldest strata of the midden, the pottery has little or no decoration, but in the higher levels the decoration becomes more complex, always geometrical, it some time consists of smooth, broken or wavy bands on a dotted background”. Recently, an archaeological excavation by the students of the Faculty of Archaeology and other looting by local people at Snay village (Battambang province) revealed ceramic vessels provisionally dated to two hundred years before the Christian era. However, the ceramics of the Angkor period are well known. Bernard-Philippe Groslier led expeditions to many sites in the Angkor complex to study objects by comparing them with the monuments where they were found. Unfortunately, his efforts did not allow him to establish a chronology of Khmer ceramics. According to his research, there were two methods of producing ceramics. The first was a continuation of traditions from the Neolithic period, the second used a potter's wheel and firing at very high temperatures. Despite Indian and Chinese influences, Khmer ceramics are characterised by their own shapes and decoration. The ancient Khmers produced three main categories of ceramics: for architectural decoration (roof tiles, decorative finial motifs, and etc.); for religious ceremonies: vases and statues; and some vessels used in daily life: cauldrons, storage containers, vases, ewers, and etc. Some ceramic objects had zoomorphic shapes such as fish, elephants, rabbits, horses and frogs.

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