Sukhothai is a beautiful a city in Thailand. It houses the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom that was established around 1238 and lasted until around 1438. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage historical park. The remains of the ancient civilization exist today in the form of ancient temples and ruins, Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai plates, Sukhothai bowls and Sukhothai jars.
Thailand has a long history of ceramic art. Various locations have remnants of early pottery, porcelain and other art works of the Thais. There are many classifications of Thai ceramics but among the identified groups, the Sukhothai ceramics stand out as one of the most important.
They were created during the Sukhothai kingdom period in the area where this once-prosperous kingdom was centered (north, central Thailand). Archaeologists, experts and collectors originally classified ceramics from that period to be known simply as “Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai jars, Sukhothai plates and Sukhothai bowls. Eventually though, further distinction of the artifacts was developed.
Most Sukhothai antiques, such as the Sukhothai plates and Sukhothai bowls, are found scattered in two areas of the Sukhothai kingdom. The kiln sites are primary locations of ancient jars, antiques and other artifacts. The kilns are located around the northern wall of the ancient city, and also in Sri Satchanalai. Now, these two areas are archaeological sites and museums and exhibitions are frequently held in the area.
The production of sukhothai antiques, sukhothai plates, sukhothai bowls and sukhothai jars is estimated to have begun around the thirteenth century AD, alongside the fall and subsequent decline of the Khmer empire. By 15th century, China, the leading ceramics producer, faced a crisis that led to Sukhothai ceramics being given an advantage in export markets.
Eventually, Sukhothai wares reached their neighbors as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, China and many other destinations in Southeast Asia. Exported by sea, many unsuccessful voyages saw the ancient Chinese and Asian trading vessels containing collections of Sukhothai wares sink to the bottom of the ocean. Some of these have been recovered from the ocean many centuries after, and they still remain in excellent condition.
By the 16th century, the production and export of Sukhothai antiques, Sukhothai plates, Sukhothai bowls and Sukhothai jars was discontinued because of continuous wars between the Kingdom of Ayutthaya and the Burmese Kingdom. Another significant historical event was the revival of Chinese wares, ceramics and porcelain which were once again exported to the world markets.
Today, the best quality and most beautiful samples of Sukhothai ceramics are handled by private collectors. These are highly valuable nowadays and much sought after by collectors worldwide. Their value lies in their unique beauty, the expertise in the handicraft and their history dating back some 700 years to the Ancient Sukhothai Kingdom.