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Bencharong, a unique class of Chinese export ware, was made exclusively for Thai royalty and the ruling elite in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Enamelled porcelain containers and dishes for the table and boudoir are resplendent in kaleidoscopic colours inspired by verdant, tropical vegetation. Lai Nam Thong ('gold-washed'), a variant, takes the opulence of this ware to a pinnacle by adding gold as an embellishment. Although Bencharong belongs both in place and time to the broader tradition of Chinese export art for the European and American markets, it is distinctively Thai in style and aesthetics. A wealth of lavish illustrations, many never before published, are visual revelations of Bencharong s splendour. The author traces its history of Bencharong from the renowned kilns of Jingdezhen to enamelling centres at coastal ports in southern China and its final destination - Ayutthaya and Bangkok.
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