Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia:
Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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Kendi with incised and impressed decoration

  • Earthenware with burnished surface
  • 18 x 21 x 17 cm
  • 20th century, Bangkok period
  • Origin: Ayutthaya, Central Thailand
  • Provenance: Ayutthaya, Central Thailand
  • Gift of Sarah M. Bekker
  • S2005.3

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 9 January 2008) According to information collected by Leedom Lefferts on 31 January 2007 at the National Museum in Ayutthaya, the Thai term for kendi is khon thoo.

According to Australian anthropologist Carol Warren, the Balinese word for this vessel shape is caratan (pronounced "charatan"). 

2. (Louise Cort, 8 March 2008) "Perhaps the earthenware item most characteristic of medieval Buddhist sites in Myanmar is the sprinkler pot, or kendi….These are found across South and Southeast Asia, generally attributed to the first and early second millennia A.D., from Pakistan to Laos and down the Malay peninsula to Java, though it is only in the Buddhist countries that their function appears to focus on ritual libration. Buddhist cosmology and practice are bound up with the ritual pouring of water, reflecting the story of how Buddha, at the moment of his enlightenment, was able to call on the water he had poured in previous lives to witness his good deeds to come back and wash away the forces of evil" (Hudson et al 2001, 58 [references omitted]).

Hudson, Bob, Nyein Lwin, and Win Maung (Tanpawady). 2001. "The Origins of Bagan: New Dates and Old Inhabitants." Asian Perspectives 40(1): 48–74.

3. (Louise Cort, 24 October 2011) According to Pariwat Thammapreechakorn, Southeast Asia Ceramics Museum, Bangkok, this kendi is new. According to notes kept by the donor, she purchased this kendi in Ayutthaya shortly before she and her husband returned to the United States in 1971. Thus the latest possible date for the kendi is ca. 1971.

Changed Period from Ayutthaya period to Bangkok period; changed Date from 16th-18th century to 20th century.


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