A pair of Thai
Sawankhalok pottery maternity figures, each nursing a child a one with pale green glaze and one with the
rarer brown glaze.
Sawankhalok is a district in the northern part of
Sukhothai Province in Northern Thailand.
Such figurines were made between the Sukhothai period (1238-1351) through to the
end of Si Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 – 1767)
The green glaze one has very old labels stuck on the back
Green: 170mm, brown, 175mm
£175 each or £300 for the pair.
These two are, I believe, 14th-16th century,
The one with labels at the back Ex James and Elaine
Connell collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
If you search online about such figurines you will come across many
which are described as 'Nursing Mother
Narcotic Chewer Sukhothai ' or 'Miang-chewing'
These descriptions appear to all be copied from each other almost word for
word. They generally state that “Glen R. Brown has written a fascinating
account of these 'Miang-chewing' figures in his work, 'Si Satchanalai
Celadons of the 14th-16th centuries'
A careful search of the academic literature shows that
Glen R. Brown who is Professor of Art History at Kansas State University said
simply, as an aside in his article 'Si Satchanalai Celadons of the 14th-16th
centuries' that .. 'distinctive feature of these figural pieces is the small
bulge frequently modelled in the left cheek, a detail that probably represents
the habit of chewing miang…' . Note, 'frequently' and 'probably' Actually such figurines with this small bulge in the cheek
are rather rare and I think that the association between such figurines as
these I am offering , without such cheek bulges, with narcotic chewing is
really a moot point! The supposed, and often quoted .. 'fascinating account
of these 'Miang-chewing' is simply a few lines of conjecture in a
much larger work covering a large span of pottery types. There is lot of emphatic
opinion online which is simply very lazy research!