Lai Nam Thong: The Crown Jewel of the Siamese Aristocracy

This incredibly rare Lai Nam Thong (‘gold washed’) Benjarong bowl, prized for its unconventionally large size and perfect condition, displays the deities of the four elements’ pattern. A unique class of Chinese export commissioned exclusively for display on the tables and boudoirs of the Thai elite and royal classes of the late 18th and 19th century, Benjarong epitomize luxury and sophistication. The Lai Nam Thong Benjarong, with its embellished gold details, was considered the most exclusive of all.

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This covered bowl features interlocking naga and dancing minor deities, embedded in twisting scrolls, in addition to the four main deities of earth, water, wind and fire. Atop the cover, and on the interior and exterior surfaces of the bowl, are center lotus medallions enclosed by a foliated band of lotus petals and leafy scrolls. The lotus motifs function as geometric axes that coordinate the symmetry of this masterpiece. Enjoining symbols of fertility (naga) and celebration (dancing deities) with the deities of the four elements, the decoration of this Benjarong portrays the creation of harmony and balance in the universe. Moreover, the bowl was meticulously designed to reflect the sense of prestige and dignity through geometrical sculpting techniques. By calculating the shape and size of the design, the curves on the bowl perfectly and beautifully support the shape of the lid that fits into its set, especially when blending with the sculpted circular decoration on top of the bowl that enhances its magnificence.

The Lai Nam Thong Benjarong’s lissome body and grateful linework has become highly-coveted, commanding prices of over 5 million baht in our previous auctions.

Lot 091:  A rare and fine Benjarong Lai Nam Thong covered bowl painted with the Deities of the Four Elements (1 pc.)

Style: Thai, Rattanakosin
Dimensions: W 19.5 cm. H 16.5 cm.
Circa: 19th Century
Estimated Price: 3,000,000 – 3,500,000 THB
Starting Price: 280,000 THB

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