Khon Tee: Guardian of the Precious Legacy and the Nautical Path Inheritor

In the ancient tapestry of Thai heritage, lies the “Khon Tee or Kendi” – a vessel of modest dimensions, it contours akin to a gentle orb. Its base crafted for stability, a slender neck gracefully extends, culminating in a broad aperture, arching outward, facilitating the pour of water.

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khon-tee

Known by another name, Kun Tee, the Khon Tee embodies the essence of bygone eras, an enduring tool cherished by villagers since antiquity. Etched within the historical annals of ancient Khmer wisdom, it held significance in celestial offerings, often adjoined by water pots and Khon Tho. Within Thailand’s rich tapestry, the lineage of Khon Tee traces back to the era of Ayutthaya. Mostly molded from fired clay, its distinguishing handle protrudes uniquely, an emblem of tradition. Even within the sanctum of royal palaces, it adorned ceremonies, gracing moments of the ceremonial cascade of water, known as “Lhung Taksi Notok”.

In the days of yore, seafarers often carried Khon Tee onboard for storing water and spirits. These trusty vessels, shaped for portability and ease for hydration during journeys to various ports, held significant discoveries for both the people and the ceramic wares from China, seen in diverse forms. One such treasure trove lay in the ancient port city of Patavium, or Jakarta, in modern-day Indonesia. Patavium was once a bustling trading hub, hosting ships from China, Champan, and other islands, docked since the 5th century. Later, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) developed this area in the early 16th century as a vital trading post, leading to the construction of numerous buildings. However, when VOC dissolved in 1799, this area fell into disuse along with its trading prestige. Yet, traces of its rich historical tapestry endure, leaving behind a legacy for future generations to explore and uncover.

khon-tee

The artisans who crafted patterns resembling intricate twisted stems showcased the beauty of Thai culture. They stood out vividly against the backdrop of turquoise, also known as the renowned peacock green glaze. This distinctive glaze, typically used in the second firing at temperatures akin to the art of enamel, first found its roots in the Tang Dynasty, influenced by the artistry of the Middle East. Subsequently, during the 9th to 13th centuries, this turquoise hue adorned vessels and titles extensively. It wasn’t until the Yuan Dynasty that the turquoise shade became increasingly prevalent in Chinese glazed ceramics. Considered a vessel filled with historical and artistic significance, this piece, adorned with the enduring allure of centuries-old glazed ceramic art, takes its place in Lot 277.

Lot 277
A polychrome porcelain kendi painted with floral vine scrolls and lotus ponds on green and yellow ground
Style: Chinese
Dimensions: W 15 cm H 24 cm
Circa: 18th Century
Estimated Price: 30,000 – 40,000 THB
Starting Price: 18,000 THB