Home > FAM (Familiarization) Tour, FAM Trip, General, Thailand, Thailand FAM > Benjarong Porcelain Crockery, first hand experience of porcelain painting

Benjarong Porcelain Crockery, first hand experience of porcelain painting

Benjarong Porcelain Crockery

First hand experience of porcelain painting

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

Benjarong literally means five colours (Benja = five, rong = colour) and is a form of traditional Tahi ceramic painting. The five primary colours consists of black, green, yellow, red and white which are mixed in different proportions to produce shades of other different secondary colours.

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The creation and the creator. Benjarong Porcelain Crockery, Bangchang Village, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

Although a traditional Thai art the origin of Benjarong dates back to China. According to historical records it probably originated during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) in China.

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The creator and the tricks of her trade. Benjarong Porcelain Crockery, Bangchang Village, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

According to legend about six hundred years ago, a princess from China married into Thailand royal family and brought with her Benjarong Porcelain. Benjarong was then supplied from China to the king of Siam for several generations.

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Benjarong Painting session for tourist

In the early days, Benjarong porcelain was made only for the royal court and the aristocracy.

In recent years, however, Benjarong porcelain has become widely used in homes and hotels as decorative pieces.

Benjarong Porcelain Crockery is made out of the finest bone china and comes in fine shapes but the what makes Benjarong unique is the delicate and intricate hand painted patterns on its surface.

The ancient patterns of Benjarong are free

form (unstructured), such as the Vine Flowers and butterfly and contrast with the more structured and geometric patterns devised within Siam.

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Benjarong Painting sample

Enamel colors are applied and over glazed, creating a swelling effect over the surface of the piece.

The production process is incredibly labor intensive, as each of is applied individually and the piece is kiln fired after the application of each colour.

The firing process brightens the colours of the finished piece and adds to its beauty. Gold is also used in painting the porcelain.

With every increasing demand for Benjorong Crockery it is difficult for the artisans to bridge the demand supply gap. Production is handmade, and individual businesses suffered when huge purchase orders were made.

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Tourist display their Benjorong Art Skills, Bangchang Village, Samut Songkhram, Thailand

The artisans soon started forming groups and cooperatives. As a consequence, the local Benjarong makers became stronger. They have even shared production when one of their number secured a purchase order above production capacity.

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Lunch at Bangchang Village

The ceramic produced in these cooperatives are of the finest quality and are much sought after by the collectors,universally admired for the beauty and grace of their unique form, design and colour.

Bangchang in the coastal province of Samut Songkhram is a village where the ancient art of Benjorong is practiced.

Bangchang is located about two hours drive from Bangkok, capital of Thailand, and can be visited in a day tour.

But an over night tour of Samut Sangkhram is recomended as it will provide the opportunity of exploring the Maeklong Rail Market, Amphawa Floating Market and Khon Mask making at Bhutesavara.

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Traditional Thai Lunch at Bangchang village. Clockwise from top right: Green Coconut, Sticky Rice with Chicken Drumsticks, Som Tom Salad, Pad Tahi Noodles and Sticky Rice with Mango

The ceramic workshop at the village of Bangchang provides the opportunity of hands on Benjarong painting session and complete with a traditional Thai lunch served on Benjarong Porcelain Crockery.

Note: I visited Thailand as part of a FAM trip organized by Tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai Airways.

Special Thanks:

  • Aso Lori (TAT, New Delhi) and Sajid Khan (Thai Airways, Kolkata)
  • My fellow FAM participants Amit Sachdev (Unique Air Travels), Sanjay Kr Kothari (Just Holidays), Vandana Arya (Gainwell Leisure Holidays), Piyush Banerjee (Discovery Holidays), Asif Alim (Neptune Holidays) and Nandini Gangully (T2, The Telegraph)
  1. December 31, 2018 at 8:34 PM

    Good Post. Wish you all a HAPPY NEWYEAR 2019

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