SAs 07718

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Hong (mythical bird)

Asia, Siam

Prior to 1913

Wood, Glas, carved

Karl Siegfried Döhring (engineer, art historian, archaeologist)

Purchased by the museum from Döhring in 1913

SAs 07718

Hong or Hongsa is the name of a celestial bird in the Thai language, usually equated with the swan. It has a long neck, an extraordinarily long beak, and a tail that resembles lambent flames. Its figures were usually placed on poles around Buddhist temples, where they served as lamp holders. Sometimes they also hold small bells in their beaks, whose clappers, moved by the wind through a leaf-like appendage, make a delicate tinkling sound.

According to information provided by the collector Karl Döhring, the figure originally served as a lamp holder.

Karl Döhring was a German architect who had been in the Thai (back then Siamese) government service from 1906. He was involved in modern urban planning and contributed to the construction of the Royal Residence in Phetchaburi and other palace buildings. At the same time, he was deeply interested in Thai culture, especially architecture, on which he also wrote his doctoral thesis and other publications.

During a convalescent stay in Germany in 1911, he contacted several ethnological museums. Among them was the Leipzig ethnological museum to which he eventually bequeathed extensive collections of handicrafts, as well as everyday objects.

Dietmar Grundmann