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Thai Pottery And Ceramics

Traditional And Modern Pottery In Thailand, Benjarong And More 

The artistic skills of Thai craftsmen are well known, it is showcased in a range of products produced in the country. One of the prime reasons for the rapid development of the jewelry manufacturing and gem cutting business in Thailand is the availability of skilled artisans and craftsmen. You could say that the Thais have art in their blood, this allows them to quickly grasp new ideas and turn them into amazing pieces of art. Pottery in Thailand shows different characteristics depending on the region in the country where it originated. This differentiation might be a bit blur today as the development of transport and communication has resulted in a seamless flow of arts and artisans. The design elements incorporated into pottery from Thailand might have originally been influened by customs and traditions across the border too. In the modern day, traditional pottery and contemporary styles in ceramics exist next to each other in perfect harmony. The country exports large volumes of pottery and ceramic ware to countries situated in every corner of the globe. While high end exports are generally dominated by traditional designs and styles, there is a significant volume of ceramic ware that is made to order from overseas customers.

In this presentation, we have put together a random collection of images that, represent the most popular examples of Thai ceramics and pottery. Our team visited the museum located in the Ratchaburi province and brought some amazing images of ancient Thai pottery. We wish to thank all the staff and officers present at the museum, their kindness and helpful attitude is just another outstanding example of typical Thai hospitality. The exhibits related to pottery in the Ratchaburi museum are an excellent demonstration of how pottery evolved through time. Interestingly, the province remains famous for a very specific type of traditional Thai pottery even today. One of the exhibits captured on camera by our team, is presented in one of the images shown below.

Benjarong is one form of Thai pottery that originated in the corridors of royalty, highly skilled artisans are required at every stage of crafting. The only way to get the fine designs on benjarong pottery from Thailand is to have them hand painted, this holds true even today. There are a few provinces in Thailand that are well known for their benjarong craft, traditionally most benjarong designs have some typical features. The colors and intricate designs seen in benjarong pottery have been appreciated by visitors from all across the world, it is therefore no surprise that benjarong pottery is exported from the country in significant quantities. In recent years, innovative designers have attempted to combine contemporary designs with traditional benjarong styles - the results are quite attractive and generate considerable interest and demand.

As you view the Thai pottery images displayed below, take a few minutes to read the notes detailed under each image. They provide an interesting backdrop that will help you better understand and appreciate the beauty and evolution of pottery and ceramics in Thailand.


thai pottery old
This is one of the impressive Thai pottery collections on display in the museum at Ratchaburi. The clay pottery which obviously was baked during the production process, is likely to have used mud (clay) that is found locally in Ratchaburi. Notice that though, the collection assembles old pottery in various shapes and sizes, there is not much of design element in terms of etching on the surface of the pots. Experts can easily date the old pottery by observing such details, it does seem that these pottery pieces from Thailand were made at least a century ago. The absence of glazing on the surface of the pottery is another indication that, no attempt was made to depict any art on the pots.


thai pottery traditional ceramics
Another display from the Ratchaburi museum, a keen eye will help differentiate these pieces of old Thai pottery from those shown in the image above. Technically ceramic is also made from a type of mud (clay) but the clay used to make ceramic ware, is of a lighter color. As can be seen from the above image, these old ceramic pottery pieces from Thailand have a slight glaze on the surface. The time frame when these ceramic ware were made, is likely to be many decades after the earlier lot was crafted. Some of these Thai ceramic pottery pieces do show designs in etched form but, no trace of coloring elements are visible.


artistic pottery from Thailand
Stunning examples of how traditional Thai pottery has remained popular and flourishes even today. These are baked clay pottery pieces, not antique but with very traditional design elements. Notice that with this particular concept, not much variation in terms of shape is accomodated in the pottery. Each baked clay piece is shaped like an urn, with a removable lid. The cut out designs are present in most of these Thai pottery pieces and coloring does not involve painting. Place an oil lamp in one of these urns and you will have a serene ambience, with the additional joy of the design being projected on the walls and other objects nearby. And if you do not fancy the oil lamps of the past. drill a hole and put in a low wattage electric light instead of the lamp - does seem like a good suggestion.


thai benjarong pottery ceramic
The stunning beauty of Thai benjarong pottery, with origins in royal families this form of traditional pottery from Thailand ensures that, each piece is painstakingly crafted to represent a piece of art. While the name 'benja'rong implied a combination of 5 traditional colors, modern day artisans have allowed creativity to reign free. The golden accents painted on each piece of benjarong ware impart a luxury and extravagant look to each object. Benjarong has become one of the most commercially popular type of traditional pottery and ceramics from Thailand.


bencharong ceramic ware from Thailand
These benjarong tea cups and bowls bear the traditional designs and colors of traditional Thai benjarong. Surely not the type of ceramic ware that you want to use every day, keep them for a special occasion and they will give you years of majestic pleasure. Modern manufacturers of benjarong have excelled in the art of pleasing foreign visitors, attractive packaged sets of these Thai ceramic pieces make excellent gifts for every occasion. For their luxury look and feel, benjarong ceramic wear is very attractively priced.


thai creamic ware
Shifting trends and expanding market options has resulted in a wider range of Thai ceramic ware being developed. These are modern style ceramic ware from Thailand, nothing very traditional about the styles and designs in this collection - geared for the contemporary ceramic lover. A significant portion of Thai pottery exports are made up of such modern ceramic ware, they are easy to maintain and priced economically. Many ceramic ware factories work as OEM suppliers to well known brands in the U.S.A and Europe.


big ceramic jars from Thailand, Thai pottery
Big ceramic jars made in Thailand, the restricted use of colors in these ceramic pieces adds a degree of sophistication to the pieces. At first glance you might mistake these ceramic pieces for Chinese ware but, a closer look at the designs depicted on the jars gives a clear indication of their Thai origin. Such Thai ceramic pottery pieces are not cheap, they involve extended work by highly skilled artisans and the production process can be long and time consuming.


thai crockery and pottery gifts
A well packed Thai ceramic tea set, we would say that the design on these ceramic pieces have some elements of traditional benjarong design. The flowers and leaves shown on the ceramic cups and kettle are surely not a part of benjarong as we know it but, notice the benjarong concepts at the top and bottom edge of each piece. We did feel that a small sugar bowl and milk jar would perfectly complete the set. The manufacturer probably worked on a set price point and trimmed out those pieces.


thai pottery making traditionall
Notice the spectacular depiction of the dragon on the large piece of Thai pottery on the right. Unlike the ceramic piece to it's left, the large pot is not very old. The two pots have been placed next to each other, to show the consistent detail and intricate design elements of the old and new. It might not be very clearly visible in the image but, both pots have the design raised above the surface - this is a very tedious process as the artisans needs to carve out the design when the pot (clay) is still wet and rather soft. Most craftsmen today, prefer to etch the design into the surface this is an easier and faster process.



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