Bronze kundika (water vessel)

From Korea
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 bodhisattva of mercy and compassion. The water vessel would hold a willow branch which the bodhisattva would use to sprinkle water on the worshippers.

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More information


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)


Height: 29.500 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1974.10-31.1



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