We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Dish decorated with two 'thepanom' and two 'norasingha'

early 19th century


Bencharong ware


  • Details

    Other Title
    Dish decorated with central roundel surrounded by two thepanom and two rorasingh with Chinese flame pattern in between
    Place where the work was made
    Rama II Period 1809 - 1824 → Thailand
    early 19th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    porcelain with enamel decoration
    2.2 x 15.0 cm
    Gift of Mr F Storch 1987
    South Building, lower level 1, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Bencharong ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Bencharong ware is a polychrome porcelain made in the city of Jingdezhen (the porcelain capital of China) and richly decorated to Thai tastes with bright enamel glazes. It is thought that Buddhist books and paintings were supplied as references and sent to Guangzhou merchants, who acted as intermediaries to the Chinese potters and decorators for foreign orders. As with orders for Europe, the desired ceramic shapes were communicated by maquettes in wood or perhaps metal. While the name Bencharong derives from the sanskrit words ‘pancha’ and ‘ranga’ meaning five colours, Bencharong wares can also be found with as few as three and as many as eight colours.

    Bencharong wares were first commissioned by the Thai kings of Ayutthaya in the 18th century. This period of relative peace saw rulers enjoy picnics and tours with Bencharong wares used to store and serve food. After the fall of Autthaya to the Burmese in 1767, Bencharong wares began to be used by the wider community and Lain Nam Thong wares superseded them as the exclusive wares of royalty.

    This dish is a particularly fine example and is decorated with alternating images of 'thepanom' and 'norasingha', both minor Buddhist deities belonging to the Theravada school of Buddhism. Typically the 'thepanom' (celestial beings who live in one of the six lower Buddhist heavens) sit cross-legged in a praying posture wearing only a petalled collar, bracelets and a crown. The 'norasingha', believed to reside in the mythical Himaphan forest in the Himalayan mountains, usually has a human head, the hindquarters of a lion with a flame-tipped tail, and the hoofs of a deer. The area between the figures is filled with the Thai flame motif known as ‘lai kranok’.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Elemental, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Jul 2022–2024

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

  • Provenance

    Fred Storch, pre Jun 1987, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, June 1987.

Other works by Bencharong ware

See all 14 works