Kendi

  • Earthenware with red pigment
  • 18.3 x 17.4 x 14.7 cm
  • Lamphun ware
  • 16th century, Lan Na period
  • Origin: Lamphun kilns, Lamphun, Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.340

Description

Kendi of compressed globular form with mammiform spout, tall cylindrical neck with upright rim, short foot and flat base.
Clay: red earthenware, burnished.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: horizontal bands of diamond cross-hatching on the entire body, possibly impressed using metal roulettes. Red pigment on neck and spout, fired.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Louise Cort, 16 September 2003) A jar (or bottle with broken long neck?) with pedestal foot and the same sort of fine diamond-lattice texturing on the body is published by John Shaw in Introducing Thai Ceramics; also Burmese and Khmer (Shaw 1987, 90). Shaw identifies the jar as a Chiang Mai product and writes:

Chiang Mai is today famous for its unglazed vessels which contain and cool water, and this tradition can be traced back to the description of Sir John Bowring who wrote in 1857: "The earthen-ware jars made by the people of Xieng Mai...are much esteemed as water coolers. They are very porous and of various colors--white, red, and black...."

The wares are thinly potted and brittle, they clay exceptionally fine and either orange-red or brownish-black in color, and some seem to have been burnished. Most common are elegant globular bottles standing high on a flat-bottomed base with tall, proud necks. There were kendi, too, with wide open mouths above a high neck. If the potting is fine and the shapes elegant, the decoration is exquisite. Some pieces are covered all over with the finest tracery of diamond incisions, others are stamped round and round with pikul flowers."

Shaw, John C. 1987. Introducing Thai Ceramics; also Burmese and Khmer. Chiang Mai: Duangphorn Kemasingki.

2. (Louise Cort, 23 December 2003) Related kendis are published by Virginia DiCrocco in "Ceramic Wares of the Haripunjaya Area" (DiCrocco 1991, 84-98). Thai earthenware of this type, with smooth levigated clay and with slip decoration, formerly was known as "Late Haripunjaya ware," because many examples were found in the Lamphun area, associated with the Haripunjaya kingdom which fell in 1292. "They have also been found in Chiang Mai, Phayao, Kalong and burial sites in the Tak and Omkoi-Mae Tam areas.... And sherds have been reportedly found in the Pegu area of lower Myanmar as well" (ibid, 92). DiCrocco points out that this production was flourishing by the mid-16th century and seems to have continued to the late 19th century. The center of production, as yet unidentified, may have been somewhere in the vicinity of Lamphun, and the area of use is associated with the old Lan Na kingdom and its connections within Burma. The general term for such ware is Lamphun ware.

Di Crocco, Virginia M. 1991. "Ceramic Wares of the Haripunjaya Area." The Journal of the Siam Society 79(pt. 1): 84–98.

3. (Louise Cort, 14 January 2007) Changed Date from 19th–20th century to 17th–19th century.

4. (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"). 

5. (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.

6. (Louise Cort, 29 May 2008) Don Hein, in Washington to present the Pope Memorial Lecture, commented that sherds of kendis like this one were found on the surface at Kiln 42 in Ban Koh Noi, Sawankhalok, and the date would be earlier than 17th–19th century.

7. (Louise Cort, 18 June 2014) Kiln 42 was a mound of eleven surface kilns erected sequentially over an early in-ground kiln (Hein 2001, 123). Hein mentions MASW (Mon associated ware) and TRSW (Transitional stoneware) from these kilns. His date for TRSW kilns is late 14th-15th century, and Roxanna Brown's date for the products is 1430-87 (see essay, Sawankhalok [Si Satchanalai] kilns, in Place). Thus an approximate date of 16th century can be given to kendis like this one found on the surface of the Kiln 42 mound.

Changed Date from 17th-19th century to 16th century. Changed Period from Lan Na or Bangkok period to Lan Na period.

Hein, Don. 2001. The Sawankhalok Kiln Industry: From Domestic Enterprise to Regional Entrepreneur. PhD thesis, Deakin University.


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