Bencharong 陶瓷金杯

For antique porcelain collectors, Bencharong ware refers to the enameled Chinese export porcelain for the Thai market, which in some ways resembles Nyonya ware or the Straits Chinese Paranakan porcelain.

Bencharong ware is basically enameled colours over glaze on White porcelain. Bencharong shards were found from archaeological excavations in Ayutthaya (the former capital of Thailand) which dated back to 17th/18th century. In those days, Bencharong ware was in use along with imported Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Nowadays, antique Bencharong dishes and shards can also be found as decoration in some temple ruins in Ayutthaya. Chinese characters reign marks were also found on some bowls.

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A Bencharong bowl, decorated with Himaphan flora motif on a rare pink background. Sino-Thai Style, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing reign (1796-1820)
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A Typical Bencharong Bowl, decorated with Theppanom and Norasingh motif on a black background. Sino-Thai Style, Ayutthaya period, 18th/19th century

Even though Bencharong means five colours, the colours decorated on the ware sometimes exceed five. The colours used in decoration are mainly in red, yellow and green; black, pink, purple, orange, blue and dark blue are added on after. In the early 19th century, the use of gold wash appeared with the colour enamels and was called Bencharong “Lai Nam Thong” type.

The forms of Bencharong ware include bowl, covered bowl, stem plate, dish, box, cup, covered jar, teapot, tea set, spittoon, tray, spoon, brush washer, candle stick, incense burner, planter, and drum. The decoration consists of unique Thai motifs, inspired by flowers and animals, mythological creatures from Buddhism and Hinduism, scenes from Thai literature and Thai textile motifs.

At present, Bencharong ware is still in production, some workshops produce them following the old designs while others develop their own forms and motifs.

对于古董瓷器收藏者来说 Bencharong 指的是中国外销到泰国市场的珐琅瓷器,这也类似于娘惹器皿或海峡华人的Peranakan瓷器。

而在白瓷器上涂上釉彩是Bencharong最鲜明的特征。在Ayutthaya-大城府(泰国的前首都)的考古发掘中发现Bencharong碎片,可追溯到1718世纪。在当时,Bencharong瓷器是和中国还有日本进口的瓷器混合使用。如今,在大城府的一些寺庙废墟中,也可以发现装饰着古老Bencharong碟子和碎片,一些碗盘上也发现了中文汉字。

尽管Bencharong在泰文中是“五种颜色”的意思,但有时装饰瓷器的颜色会超过五种。装饰用的颜色主要为红、黄、绿三种;加上黑色、粉色、紫色、橙色、蓝色和深蓝色。19世纪早期,出现一种黄金彩釉的方式,被称为 “Lai Nam Thong” 刷金图案。

而这些器皿用具包括碗、盖碗、阀杆、盘、杯、盖罐、茶壶、茶具、痰盂、托盘、汤匙、刷洗器、烛台、香炉、花盆和鼓。大部分由独特的泰式图案组成,灵感来自于大自然花朵和动物,还有佛教和印度教的神话生物,泰国文学和花纹图案的场景。

目前,Bencharong瓷器仍有在生产推出,一些工艺作坊是按照旧有设计,而另一些则发展自创的形式和图案。

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A gilded lai nam thong porcelain tea set, decorated with Garuda and Naga motifs. Sino-Thai Style, Bangkok Period, 19th century