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Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
Kundika is a Sanskrit term for a long-necked water-pouring vessel. Throughout Asia these vessels were associated with wandering ascetics, who carried them like canteens. In ancient India, pouring water into the hands of another person was a way to express “your wish is granted.” Because of water’s association with wishes, purification, and nurturing, kundika often appear among the attributes of Buddhist deities such as the future Buddha Maitreya and the Bodhisattva Guanyin. In ritual, they are used to evoke those deities and to pour water for cleansing purposes.
MEDIUM Cast bronze
  • Place Made: Korea
  • DATES 12th–13th century
    DYNASTY Goryeo Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS H: 14 5/8 x W: 4 7/8 in. (37.2 x 12.4 cm) Diameter at mouth: 3/8 in. (1 cm) Diameter at base: 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Paul E. Manheim
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION From "Korean Art Collection in the Brooklyn Museum" catalogue: The long fine slender neck and the small spout on the broad shoulder are typical characteristics of Goryeo kundika (Buddhist ritual ewer). Kundika were used to offer clean water to the altar or carried by Buddhist monks traveling for cultivation. This kundika type was popular during the Tang Dynasty and continued to be used in the northern regions of China during the Northern Song and Liao dynasties. In Goryeo, bronze kundika were especially popular. Similar examples were also made in celadon. The shoulder of [this] kundika is decorated with incised lines, and the spout was cast separately and attached to the shoulder. The lid, which was attached to the spout by a hinge, has been lost. The particularly thin and elongated profile of the kundika suggests a date of the twelfth or thirteenth century.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
    CAPTION Kundika, 12th–13th century. Cast bronze, H: 14 5/8 x W: 4 7/8 in. (37.2 x 12.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Paul E. Manheim, 74.27. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 74.27_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 74.27_PS11.jpg., 2017
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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