Raw or Pre-Fired: Kiln Construction at Sawankhalok, North Central Thailand, as a Guide to Ceramic History
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Sawankhalok, located in north central Thailand, was an early stoneware ceramic production site where the first kilns were dug cave-like into the natural ground, a method used in China for thousands of years. After a century or so, kilns at Sawankhalok began to be constructed of brick. It is suggested that if the bricks were pre-fired then an external influence may have been responsible. To the contrary, if raw unfired clay was used in the construction of the kilns the evolution was more likely a consequence of conceptual continuity.
With the aid of chemical and mineralogical analyses it is shown that the kiln bricks were unfired at the time of kiln construction thereby suggesting that traditional conservatism, apparent in many aspects of the industry, caused processes to remain unaltered in the absence of a persuasive reason for change. These conclusions reflect on the degree of indigenous technology and artistic development associated with Sawankhalok ceramics as opposed to external influence.
KeywordsSawankhalok ceramics kiln bricks
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