Inventory no.: 1661

Peranakan Kendi


Porcelain Kendi with Peranakan Chinese Parcel-Gilt Silver Mounts

China & Indonesia

19th century

height: 25cm

This Chinese export blue and white vase is in the form of a kendi – a drinking water vessel specifically made for the Islamic market, particularly the Southeast Asian Islamic markets of Indonesia and Malaysia, where the silver mounts were added.

It is enamelled in blue against a plain background with scrolling ‘sweetpea’ flower and vine motifs.

The motifs of the silver mounts are overtly and typically

peranakan Chinese.

The top of the

kendi has a wide silver rim that is repoussed and chased with chrysanthemums, foliage and pomegranates. A smooth domed lid with a floral finial sits in the rim. A gilded silver chain is attached to this at one end and at the other to the small lid that fits in the gilded silver spout.

The silver mounts obviously are of local Chinese workmanship, possibly for an indigenous Javanese or similar client, or more likely, for a

peranakan (localised) Chinese client who was acculturated with indigenous ways. The silverwork suggests a Javanese origin or perhaps Makassar (formerly known as Ujung Pandang) in South Sulawesi where there was a vibrant peranakan trading community. It is also likely that such kendis were traded with peninisula Malaysia – there were copious trading and family links between the peranakan Chinese communities of Indonesia and the Straits Chinese communities of Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

Kendis made in China with silver mounts applied in Southeast Asia appear in museum collections in Malaysia and Indonesia. An example is illustrated in Miksic (2007).


Miksic, J., Icons of Art: The Collections of the National Museum of Indonesia, BAB Publishing, 2007.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 1661