Kendi

  • Earthenware with traces of white slip and iron pigment
  • 21.9 x 23.2 x 18.4 cm
  • mid 14th-mid 18th century, Ayutthaya period
  • Origin: Sukhothai province, Thailand
  • Provenance: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge, and Victor and Takako Hauge
  • S2005.342

Description

Kendi with compressed globular body, tall neck with flanged mouth, mammiform spout, splayed foot and flat base.
Clay: red earthenware.
Glaze: none.
Decoration: traces of white slip and iron pigment around the body.

Curatorial Remarks

1. (Candy Chan, Research Assistant, April 23, 2003) Kendis of this shape, with flanged tubular neck and mammiform spout, were made in Si Satchanalai in the fifteenth century, but they are glazed stoneware painted in underglaze iron (Willetts 1971, 141, pls. 183–185).

A bronze kendi found in East Java, dating to 14th–15th century, has a similar shape as this kendi (Adhyatman 1987, 82, pl. 78).

Willetts, William. 1971. Ceramic Art of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Southeast Asian Ceramic Society.

Adhyatman, Sumarah. 1987. Kendi, wadah air minum tradisional (Kendi, traditional drinking water container). Himpunan Keramik (Jakarta): Yayasan Nusantara Jaya.

2. (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"). 

3. (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.

4. (Louise Cort, 13 March 2008) A painted earthenware kendi of this type, but with a dish-shaped mouth, is said to have been collected from "Sukhothai" (presumably the city, not the province). It is dated to the sixteenth century (Ho 1995, fig. 7).

Ho Chuimei. 1995. "Intercultural Influence between China and South East Asia as seen in Historical Ceramics". Pp. 118–140 in South East Asian and China: Art, Interaction and Commerce, edited by Rosemary Scott and John Guy. Colloquies on Art and Archaeology in Asia no. 17. London: Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

5. (S. Kitsoulis as noted in Period field, 18 May 2009) Added "Mid 14th - late 18th century" to date field.


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