I've mentioned before that I am helping put together 'Touch Tours' for Bangkok's National Museum so that blind tourists (There is another working party putting something together for blind Thai's) can still appreciate the art and culture of Thailand. (You can read about it here.)
Well yesterday our working group went back to the ceramic museum to try out their learning by touch programme - The idea was that it would give us a better understanding of what we need to be considering for our tours. It was absolutely brilliant. We were taught how to identify three different types of ceramics -
Chinese - this is usually quite fine and has a glaze over the entire surface including the base (In the photo on your right you can see Chinese and Sisatchanalai)
Sukhothai - the base is very roughly cut and has no glaze on. Often you can find four or five small indents inside the dish this is because when they are being fired they are stacked one on top of the other with a little stand between them and it's the feet on the stand which make the indents. (If you look carefully you can see the dents in this one)
Sisatchanalai - the base is smooth and the glaze comes right down over the edge of it. When this type of pottery is fired it sits on top of a little chimney which forms a small circle inside the base and when you touch it you can feel the ring inside it . The other give a way is that the clay usually has some kind of design carved into it.
When we removed the blindfolds I discovered that the bowl I had was from an actual Shipwreck and was made in the 15th Century!! (OMG!!!.....put the bowl down and move slowly away from the table). We then went into their actual Museum area - it has been designed to resemble a Thai kiln so you walk through a long tunnel before getting into actual body of it......they had some beautiful pieces of pottery!!. I spoke with Dr Roxanna Brown and she has given me permission to go back to draw some of the pieces (Some of the designs were absolutely out of this world!!) - she has even said that they will open up the cases so that I can take photographs for reference. How cool is that!!