A Kendi is pouring vessel with a spout on the side but without a handle. While pouring, the pot is held around its neck. Pouring vessels of this kind is not found at all in China before the Song dynasty where the earliest types seems to have been straight spouted vessels with South Chinese brown-black Jian type glaze.
During Yuan white types with creamy white glaze over moulded decorations also with straight spouts, occurs in South Chinese export wares. In South East Asia kendis seems to have had all uses a pouring vessel with a spout could possibly have from medication, drinking, washing, blessing to sacrificial. Its main use seems to have been as a water drinking vessel, where many persons hygienically and without using any cups could share one water bottle by drinking directly from the stream coming from its spout when tilted.
It might also be that a "Kendi" is the vessel which is actually referred to in Jingdezhen Tao Lu translated by G. R. Sayer in 1951, where the following entry #65, page 90, tells that "Southerners practice nose-drinking. They have pottery vessels like cups or bowls with a small tube like the lip of a bottle fixed at the side ... " The source Tao Lu is citing is a Treatise on the Geography and Natural History of the South of China, dated to the eleventh century (mid Northern Song dynsaty).
Any paintings, litterary or archaeological evidence seems to be lacking confirming that anybody ever "drank through the nose". The original name mentioned in the Northern Song source above might instead have been spout drinking vessel instead of nose drinking, since the protruding spout even today sometimes are called the "nose" of a vessel and the Kendi was unique by that one actually were supposed to drink directly from the spout. The 'nose drinking cup' in the Northern Song source above might in that case have been a Kendi. Kendis comes in all sizes from very large ones to miniatures possibly used as water droppers. Some kendis from medium size to small have confirmed use for medication. Whether some of the drugs at some time could have been administred through the nostrils will probably remain an open question.
See also Nose drinking cup