The Siamese Porcelain

 

The Siamese Porcelain Art

The porcelain art of Thailand through rapid internal development and external influences on the Siamese civilization. Local porcelain art started between 3,000 – 4,000 BC with the finding of the archeological site in Ban Chiang. At the Ban Chiang ancient mausoleum on the Khorat Plateau, north-east of Thailand, it was discovered that the prehistoric community there was already capable of making earth porcelain during their time. A new pieces of earth porcelain and bronze from this site, can be found in the collection of the Museum of Asian Art.
 

Ban Chiang Earth Porcelain

A more complete display found at the museum is the Sukhothai and Sawankhalok collection of the King Rama Kamheng era which began in 1275 AD. Based on the records of Yuan Shih (Yuan history), the state of Hsien (Sukhodaya, another name for Sukhothai, King Rama Kamheng's administrative centre), the king sent at least five missions to Peking between 1292 – 1299 AD. This relationship allowed a transfer of technology to the production of Siamese porcelain. 

Another theory stated that migration occured as a result of supression by the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty. Siam was the name recorded in the Cam charter of 11th century. While living under the reign of King Rama Kamheng, the Chinese immigrants also referred to themselves as Sien. The art of Sukhothai and Sawankhalok porcelain making too has applied glazing technology in their creations. Some unique samples of such as images and the tiny statues from Sawankhalok shall be discussed in the 
following.  
 

The Art Of Images And Tiny Statues

Porcelain images and tiny statues in the collection of the Museum of Asian Art originated from Sawankhalok, also known as Svargaloka. Most of the colors range from monochrome bright green to the gray creamy white and monochrome green of the Long Chu'an celadon influence. Images and tiny statues created are in the shape of birds, elephants, horses, dogs and human figurines. From the ancient site of Cheliang or Sukhothai, tiny statues of more animals such as buffaloes, monkeys, rabbits, tigers and birds were also discovered.


In the Museum of Asian Art collection are three big statues of an elephant being brought to war with a herdsman and a warrior by its side and another riding it. Sphink (The Ceramics Wares of Siam: 1978), interprets this image as the royal elephant being well looked after by the king's servants. 

CONTACT US:
Museum of Asian Art
University of Malaya,
50603 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel  : 603- 7967 3805 / 7967 3936 /

         7967 3849

Fax : 603- 7967 3985
e-mail : zahirahnoor@um.edu.my
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