The Majestic Lion-Legged Washing Tray

Behold, a magnificent treasure from Thailand illustrious 19th-century legacy - A splendid Siamese blue-enameled silver washing basin set on four legs with lion masks.

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This piece of Thai craftsmanship stands as an emblematic vessel, intended for use within the royal court or by the elite, those who possessed refined tastes reminiscent of ancient eras. It was designed to serve as a ceremonial face-washing vessel, a vital component of Thai rituals, such as weddings and tonsure ceremonies. The water used for these rituals would be carefully stored in ornate containers called ‘Khon Tho’, placed alongside the intricately crafted utensils used for each specific ceremony.


The true allure of this splendid Siamese blue-enameled silver basin lies in its mesmerizing intricacy, meticulously carved with exquisite details. Adorned with sophisticated patterns, it evokes a sense of abundance, featuring motifs of birds, squirrels, and the revered ‘Phud Tan’ flowers, referred to as the ‘cotton rosemallow’ patterns. This style gained popularity during the reign of King Rama III, influenced by Chinese artisans who settled in Siam. These captivating patterns are brought to life with vibrant enamel amalgam, a technique influenced by the far-eastern lands and introduced by the Arabian and Persian craftsmen. The art of enameling became particularly favored during the continuous reigns of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and Rattanakosin era.


The use of blue and green-turquoise enamel became a sensation during the reign of King Rama I, the first of his line in the Rattanakosin Kingdom of Bangkok. These colors were not only favored by the king, they were regal. In fact, they were so novel at the time that they were dubbed ‘Ratchawadi Enamel’ or the ‘Royal Colors’. The artistry of color enamel reached its zenith during the reign of King Rama IV, also known as King Mongkut, who was a connoisseur of such craftsmanship. He commissioned skilled silversmiths to create exquisite royal household items and utensils, making them intricate pieces of art. These techniques flourished under the guidance of His Royal Highness Kromkhun Worachaktaranupab, who was entrusted with overseeing this magnificent craft.


This splendid Siamese blue-enameled silver washing basin, a masterpiece of the Ratchawadi enamel, has transported collectors back in time to an era of unparalleled magnificence, where it stood as a symbol of enduring powder and fragile beauty. RCB Auctions has carefully selected this exquisite piece to be a highlight of our Live Auction, a treasure worthy of any distinguished collection.


Lot 91

A splendid Siamese blue-enameled silver washing basin set on four legs with lion masks decorated in relief with birds flying alternating with squirrels and foliage against design (1 pc.)
Style: Thai, Rattanakosin

Dimensions: W 29.5 cm H 18 cm weight 1240 gram
Circa: 19th Century
Estimated Price: 800,000 - 1,000,000 THB
Starting Price: 280,000 THB