Bronze kundika (water vessel)
Koryo Dynasty, 12th century AD
Water vessels like this were used in Buddhist rituals, to hold the 'water of life'. Their form derived from similar Chinese vessels, and ultimately from India, where Buddhism originated. In Korea, kundika were mostly used during the Koryo dynasty (AD 918-1392), when Buddhism was established as the royal religion.
Kundika were not only produced in bronze but also in celadon and unglazed stoneware. Water was filled through the covered spout on the shoulder and poured out through the tubular finial. In many Buddhist paintings of the Koryo dynasty, water vessels often appear next to the Avalokiteshvara, a
J. Portal, Korea - art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)