Objects are the stewards of history – antiques collectors know this better than anyone.
Take, for example, the blue and white Thai-Chinese porcelain teaware, featuring in RCB’s Timed Auction, which began circulating among the genteel classes in the Ayutthaya period. Though, interest in collecting and displaying Chinese teaware truly began trending during the reigns of Rama III and IV when maritime trade with China surged and with it the import of Chinese handicrafts and antiques.
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Born as Chuang Bunnag, Somdet Chaophraya Borom Maha Sri Suriyawongse is a Rattanakosin era’s luminary. Of noble stock through his maternal and paternal predecessors, Sri Suriyawongse was also, a member of the Bunnag family, a veritable political institution in its own right, inseparable from the fortunes of the Thai monarchy, its members serving as close aides and high-ranking officials to the royal family. Following the demise of King Mongkut, Sri Suriyawongse was appointed regent of Siam for five years, and was entitled Somdet Chao Praya Borom Maha Si Suriyawongse when the young incumbent sovereign, Prince Chulalongkorn, reached maturity. During his tenure as regent, Sri Suriyawongse was, unquestionably, the most powerful man in Siam and at the zenith of his political career. As was customary at the time, Chinese artisans crafted the elaborate and ornate porcelain tea sets according to Thai-style designs commissioned by Thai collectors. These cups evidence this penchant for customization. Adorned with Sri Suriwongse’s personal emblem, an homage to the iconography of the Palace of Versailles and Sri Suriwongse’s fascination with Western modernity, these cups bear the namesake framing his visage – Suriya, the sun.
Thus, not only does this porcelain cup belong to one of the most important figures in Thai history, the antique itself rewards the people of our time the importance of history and cultural values, both to the cup and the owner himself.
Lot 554: A blue and white porcelain teacup painted to exterior with former regent of Thailand symbol of “Somdet Chaophraya Sri Suriwongse” (1 pc.)
Style: Thai – Chinese
Circa: 19th Century
Browse and bid other items for Timed Auction until 5 November, 2022 on here.