Kendi, 15th century, Ming Dynasty

Kendi, 15th century, Ming Dynasty, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, China. Underglaze blue decorated porcelain, silver mounts, 17.2 x 21.0 x 9.5 cm. Found in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia. National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta.

The elegant shape of this pouring vessel imitates the bronze water containers of Persia and Mughal India. The Indian metal versions originally derived from animal hide drinking flasks that reflected the nomadic Central Asian heritage of the Mughals.

In the context of its ceremonial use in Islamic West Sumatran society, the crescent moon form of this kendi would have had great symbolic appeal.