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benjarong (เบญจรงค์)

Pali-Sanskrit-Thai. ‘Five Colours’. A type of enameled porcelain composed of five colours against a sixth background colour, initially made in China for export to Thailand, but later made in Thailand itself, applying more typical Thai designs (fig.). It first appeared in the late Ayutthaya Period and continued until the reign of King Rama V, when European designs replaced the benjarong in popularity. Later fewer colours and a white background (fig.) were often used but the manufacturing process (fig.) was similar and the name benjarong continued to apply (fig.). In the 19th century, benjarong lai nahm thong (เบญจรงค์ลายน้ำทอง) wares, i.e. an exclusive version of the Bencharong using gold embellishment instead of gold enamel, developed. Benjarong pottery exists in various forms and designs, including plates, cups, pots and vases. The latter are most commonly used as decorative items and also come in various shapes, all with their own designation, including toh chan, toh phaya kru, and toh phaya kru juk tat, etc. Also spelled bencharong. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1), (2) and (3).