To mark its 20th anniversary, Starbucks Thailand is partnering with the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (SACICT) and the heirs of master artisan Wirat Pinsuwan in creating a heritage Benjarong coffee mug collection.
The aim is to honour the exquisite Thai craft and promote the fine art internationally. The collection is now available for purchase at Starbucks.
“Starbucks is delighted to play a role in promoting Thai craftsmanship through our Benjarong collection,” said managing director Nednapa Srisamai. “The mugs are available in different designs for customers to choose and collect. One of the designs is ‘Ayutthaya’, with a beautiful pattern that remains popular today. It’s mostly composed of a flower or lotus pattern then blended with the delicate Thai pattern.”
Benjarong porcelain was first produced in China late in the 20th century of the Buddhist calendar, a period that aligns with Thailand’s Ayutthaya Kingdom.
In the past, the use of Benjarong porcelain was limited to the nobility. The name Benjarong is derived from the Pali word “benja” meaning “five” and the Sanskrit word “rong” or “colour”. Combined, the words mean five colours, namely red, yellow, green, blue and white. On occasion, deep purple, a brownish hue and pure gold are also used.
The painting process of Benjarong requires an artisan with experience and finesse since the painting of each line and the colouring steps are done by hand.
The patterns have evolved and grown as the cultural beliefs and values have shifted from the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the present day and are also inspired by nature.