The Lion-Leg Washing Basin: Timeless Legacy of Splendid Elegance

The lion’s legs, gracefully adorned in accordance with the splendid architecture and intricate craftsmanship, along with the exquisite utensils of Thai tradition, hold a profound belief since ancient times.

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The lion symbolizes the regal ruler of the animal kingdom, embodying the essence of kingship. It is presumed that lions graced the Thai kingdom long before the era of Sukhothai, as evidenced by the captivating engravings on the stone ceiling of the temple’s inner passage within the magnificent walls of Sri Chum Monastery in Sukhothai Province. Among the various esteemed Thai vessels, one cherished exemplar prevails in its resplendent beauty – the lion-leg washing basis – a timeless artifact that bespeaks the honor and nobility of its possessor.

The exquisite lion-leg washing basin bears the mark of Phra Chao Boromwongse Ther Phra Ong Chao Abbhantripaja (Princess Abbhantripaja of Siam), the beloved daughter of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V of Siam) and the noble consort, Chao Chom Manda Sae. Formerly known as Princess Kao (translated as ‘white’ in Thai), she possessed striking beauty and noble disposition. Her regal lineage radiated grandeur and charisma, complemented by her gracious and benevolent nature. As one of the beloved royal daughters, she enjoyed a close and affectionate relationship, receiving abundant grace and compassion from her father. And when the time came for the princess to embrace her destined path, His Majesty granted his gracious favor and initiated a solemn investiture ceremony in adherence to ancient royal protocols. This ritual, known as the grandest celebration of the descendants of the cherished royal bloodline during that era, also encompassed her pursuit of knowledge in both Thai and foreign disciplines, including the art of exquisite embroidery. Hence, Princess Abbhatripaja became a knowledgeable scholar, embodying virtuous attributes in numerous facets of her life.

This lion-leg washing basin is, thus, an invaluable heirloom handed down from an immensely significant figure in Thai royal history. It is a masterpiece of intricate craftsmanship, delicately carved from gilt silver. Adorned with delicate floral motifs resembling the petals of lotus, it embodies the exalted status and majestic splendor. Within the basin, a detachable level bears exquisitely engraved patterns, sophisticatedly crafted by masterful artisans, showcasing a grand tapestry of vibrant colors reminiscent of the celestial atlas in the Traiphum Phra Ruang (Three Worlds According to King Ruang). It evokes the vast expanse of water surrounding the majestic Mount Meru or Himalaya, enveloped by divine beings and protective serpents, representing the celestial creatures residing in the colorful heavens. Intricately woven waves depict elephants, goats, and cattle, symbolizing abundance and prosperity. Such intricate patterns, reserved for the utmost elite, capture the essence of extraordinary artistry.

Thus, this lion-leg washing basin is brimming with profound significance, serving as a precious artifact that can be studied to delve into the rich tapestry of Thai history. It is an exquisite masterpiece of artistry, preserving the cherished identity of the nation through this magnificent work that has withstood the test of time for over a hundred years.


Lot 111

A very rare and fine gilt silver basin set on four Singha-legs, decorated in relief with lotus-petals surrounded with floral vine scrolls (1 pc.)

Style: Thai, Rattanakosin

Dimensions: W 29.5 cm H 20 cm weight 1812 gram

Circa: 20th Century

Estimated Price: 450,000 – 500,000 THB

Starting Price: 280,000 THB