Two coiled snakes peer up from the base of this small Thai earthenware bowl. The vessel may have been used to hold medicines, the healing power of which was aided by the cobra, a powerful symbol in Southeast Asia. Sarah Bekker, who lived in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand from 1946 through 1971, collected this vessel in Thailand. Bekker became a widely recognized expert in Southeast Asian archaeology and history, and her collection at the UMMAA consists of more than 100 objects (see Day 126). This bowl likely dates to the Ayutthaya period (14th–18th centuries), though it may be from an earlier time. Unlike the more elaborate glazed vessels made during this period, this vessel is of unglazed low-fired earthenware. Its modest form, however, belies the important contents it perhaps once held.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.