Exhibitions/ Art Object

Impression from a Seal Depicting a Ship at Sea

Date:
4th–5th century
Culture:
India, probably Bengal or Andhra Pradesh
Medium:
Clay
Dimensions:
H. 1 3/4 in. (4.5 cm); W. 2 in. (5 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Lent by National Museum, Bangkok (2309)
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899
In eastern India during the first millennium, clay seals may have served as warrants or guarantees for the consignment of goods. The ship depicted here is an ocean-going vessel of stitched-plank construction, with a single mast and stern lateral rudder, widely used in the Indian Ocean in this period. This seal, found in central Thailand, bears witness to the maritime trade between South Asia and the Mon territories of Thailand. A number of such Indian artifacts found in central Thailand suggest a significant presence of Indian and other foreign merchants in the region.

cat. no. 1
Found in Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Pathom Province, central Thailand

FAD, Guide to the National Museum, Bangkok [Phiphitthaphanthasathan hæng Chat] Bangkok: Fine Arts Dept., 1967: fig. 13; Wales, Horace Geoffrey Quaritch. Dvaravati: the earliest kingdom of Siam (6th to 11th century A.D.). London: Bernard Quaritch, 1969: 47-48; FAD, Guide to the National Museum, Bangkok, Thailand. Bangkok: Fine Arts Dept.,1970: 9; Dhida Saraya, (Sri) Dvaravati: The Initial Phase of Siam’s History, Bangkok: Muang Boran, 1999: 180; FAD 2005, Phiphitapaan sataan haing chat Phrapathom Chedi [Phrapathom Chedi National Museum]. Bangkok: FAD: 22-23; FAD Dvaravati Art: The Early Buddhist Art of Thailand, National Museum Bangkok, 2009: 116; Piriya Krairiksh. The Roots of Thai Art. Bangkok: River Books, 2012: 40; Dvāravatī : aux Sources du bouddhisme en Thaïlande, Paris: Musée Guimet: 2009, 54
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