Height: 44.500 cm
Asia OA 1936.10-12.198.a, b
Room 67: Korea
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Stoneware kundika (water vessel)
Koryo dynasty, 13th century AD
With inlaid stylized chrysanthemum roundels
This kundika, or water vessel, was used in Buddhist rituals. In many Buddhist paintings of the Koryo period (918-1392), the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is depicted holding a willow branch, which he would use to sprinkle the water of compassion on worshippers.
The kundika shape originated in India, the birthplace of Buddhism, where they were generally made in metal. They were also produced in bronze in Korea. This stoneware example has a celadon glaze, and asanggam inlaid decoration of stylized flowers, similar to motifs on the silk brocade worn by Avalokiteshvara in Buddhist paintings.
J. Portal, Korea - art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)
J. Portal, 'Korean celadons of the Koryo dynasty' in Pottery in the making (London, The British Museum Press, 1997), pp. 98-103
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)