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South East Asian Art, Antiques & Rare Books
South East Asian Art, Antiques & Rare Books

Propitiatory figurine - mother and baby, Thailand antique


Propitiatory figurine - mother and baby, Thailand

This terracotta female figurine would be traditionally placed in a Thai spirit house, shrine or temple as a propitiatory offering.

In modern times cheap plastic figurines are often used to fulfil this function.

Ceramic kilns at
 Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai fired thousands of similar figurines
 in the 14th to 15th centuries; The colors varied from white to celadon to brown, and 
black underpinning was occasionally used to emphasize details.

 What makes these individually modeled pieces so much more 
interesting than the mould-stamped modern versions is the love 
and observation that clearly has been put into them.

None are
 masterpieces, but the work of local craftsmen who draw on their 
own experience and the life around them to create spontaneous as
 well as sincere works. The mother-and-child figure, definitely 
mass-produced from the quantities that have been unearthed, was a
 particular favorite, and usually lovingly observed.

This piece depicts a mother and child and may well have been used in order to try and encourage pregnancy or good health until childbirth, or in the hope that the health of a sick child be restored.

Approx 10 cm high x 5.5 cm wide x 3.5 cm deep

circa 15th century