Vol. 4 No. 5, 2007 - Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum

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Roxanna M. Brown
Ang Choulean, Ann Proctor,
Augustine Vinh, Berenice
Bellina, Bonnie Baskin, Chang
Kuang-Jen, Chhay Visoth,
Chui Mei Ho, David Rehfuss,
Dawn Rooney, Don Hein,
Donald Stadtner, Edward Von
der Porten, Else Geraets, Eusebio Dizon, Gary Hill, Guo
Li, Heidi Tan, Horst Liebner,
Ian Glover, Jennifer Rodrigo,
John Kleinen, Leng Rattanak,
Li Jianan, Louise Cort, MarieFrance Dupoizat, Melody Rodari, Mohd. Sherman bin Sauffi,
Ngueyn Xuan Hien, Pamela
Gutman, Patrick McGlyn, Peter Burns, Philippe Colomban,
Rasmi Shoocongdej, Rita Tan,
Sayan Praicharnjit, Shih Chingfei, Sten Sjostrand, Tim Hartill,
Timothy Rebbeck, Tran Ky
Phuong, Zheng Jin Ie
Editorial staff :
Burin Singtoaj
Walter Kassela
Southeast Asian Ceramics
Museum Newsletter
Letter from the editor
Southeast Asian Ceramics
Bangkok University
Rangsit Campus
Phahonyothin Road
Pathum Thani 12120
Tel.: (66-2) 902-0299
Ext. 2892
Fax: (66-2) 516-6115
Volume IV Number 5 September-October 2007
Nan Hai II surprise
According to Xinhua news, a shipwreck was
discovered in early June off Guangdong province. The ship, 17-18 meters long, lies at a
depth of 20 meters, and 300 ceramics were
collected from the site. Archaeologists were
working nearby on the Nan Hai I, a Song dynasty wreck which had been discovered in
1987, when they heard about fishermen retrieving blue and white ware from the sea.
The ceramics, which have been identified as
mostly Zhangzhou ware, together with some
Jingdezhen bowls, appear to be from about
1570-1600. Similar Zhangzhou pieces have
been recovered from two shipwrecks in the
Philippines, the Marinduque and San Isidro
sites. There has been no news about whether
this site will be further excavated or not.
The Nan Hai II photographs below come from
Chinese news sources. ¤
New shipwrecks in Korea and China
Two new sites add numbers to the growing stock
of shipwrecks with ceramics in Asia.
IT WAS OUR GREAT pleasure to have Ms. Mai Trebuil [photo, right] as a museum volunteer several days a week in July to early September.
Mai was in Bangkok visiting her parents during her summer holidays from
St. Andrews University in Scotland where she has one remaining year in her
undergraduate art history and Spanish studies. For now her topic is the effects
of Japonism on western art, but that did not stop her from learning about
ceramics. She helped register kiln site shard donations from Robert and Carol
Kim Retka that included pieces from the Kalong, Suphanburi, San Sai, and
Singburi kiln sites. The shards increase the depth and research value of our
growing Shard Archive.
Volunteers and donations are always welcome at the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum! RMB
Past newsletters at
Inside this issue:
New shipwrecks 1, 4
Letter from the editor 1
Letters to the editor 2
Khmer kiln, Zhangzhou
exhibition, Bounty on
the beach 3
Octopus Wreck
The story of a Korean fisherman’s catch of
a small octopus clinging to an antique dish
made it into mainstream news reports in
May 2007, but the story doesn’t end there.
For archaeologists, it continues to unfold.
The National Maritime Museum made
a quick survey of the area and discovered an area of broken ceramics where
they excavated during 2-26 June. After
a short break, excavations began anew in
early September and they will continue
into November. Our Newsletter staff was
able to contact Mr. Moon Whamsuk, head
of the excavation team, by telephone on 4
September, a day before he returned to the
‘Octopus’ continued, photos, p. 4
Mai at work with kiln shards.
Rare Burma underglaze
In reference to Don Hein’s le tter about underglaze decorated
Burmese ware [Sept-Oct 2006
issue] , I have fur ther evidence
for this. I have a Burmese celadon plate, 33 cms wide, about
15th-16th C. , with an underglaze black lotus on the exterior.
[photos below] I t was purchased
in Bangkok’s Chatuchak weekend market a couple of weeks
ago. According to the dealer i t
came from the Tak-Omkoi excavat ions in Thai land.
The s tems of the leaves and
the center of the blossom are
rendered in reserve, with the
center fur ther embel l i shed with
what may be an indecipherable
inscript ion in Burmese script .
Walter Kassela , Bangkok
Editor: This i s only the 3rd example of this ware that I have
ever heard about .
Chocolate bases, more
I would like to add a further note on
chocolate bases: they are very occasionally found on Chinese pieces, e.g. a Ming
incense burner in ( John Guy and John
Stevenson, 1999) Vietnamese Ceramics: A
Separate Tradition, #304.
John Stevenson, USA
plate, very similar to the Sinan Boat of
the Yuan period. What Manguin did not
seem to notice were the boat’s high freeboard, high bulwark, three masts with a
typical slanting foremast, with cupolas
on top, all hallmarks of a typical MingQing period Chinese junk. He must have
also missed the Chinese pagoda at the
stern. I cannot quite understand how a
ship so depicted can be labeled as Insular Southeast Asian.
K.L.Tam, Hong Kong
Southeast Asain Ceramics Museum Newsletter
Letters to the editor
page 2
Where are they now?
Most Vietnamese lime pots were made
in Vietnam, but there are exceptions. For
example, envoys of King Minh Manh
(1820-40) to London ordered some
Copeland and Garrett pottery, including
(possibly 4) lime pots, for the court. The
whereabouts of two are known. One is in
a private collection in HCM City, another
is at Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum. Two
others are missing:
1. MKD: ‘A white porcelain pot with
polychrome decoration. H. 18cm, Base
11cm. Received from Thua Thiên Province. Inventory: M.K.D. 653’. See P. Jabouille and J-H Peysonnaux in Bulletin
des Amis du Vieux Hue, 1929, No. 2,
2. ‘… faience lime pot with polychrome
decoration, made after the Chinese originals in England, especially for Annam.
Copeland and Garrett (1835-47) mark.
H 18.5cm’ , see Huet Clément in Bulletin
des Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire [à
Bruxelles] (1941/4: 81).
Anyone with information about their
whereabouts, please contact me at nguyenxhien@orange.nl.
Nguyen Hien, Netherlands
Shards identification
Can you tell if these shards could be from
AD 1601 or not? I am on a field survey
without reference books available.
Bobby Orillaneda, Underwater Archaeology Section, National Museum, Manila
Ship debate
I wish to comment on Pierre-Yves
Manguin’s remark about the ship depicted on the Vietnamese stem plate
[July-Aug issue]. The protruding keel
piece does not seem to belong to that
boat, but is the upper cover of a small
junk in front of that ship with a man
squatting on its stem. The big boat itself has an inverted triangular front
Editor: For this question, I have asked the
opinion of Tim Hartill who is fresh from
doing background research for the coming book The Wanli Shipwreck and its Ceramic
Cargo (Kuala Lumpur: 2007).
Tim Hartill: “Yes, the short answer is that
these shards are consistent with a date of
about 1601. They appear to be Zhangzhou
(Swatow) ware; rear views would help
confirm this. The shard of the water bird
and the floral front is the most conclusively
identifiable. It is the border pattern for a
Zhangzhou copy of the Jingdezhen ‘twin
deer’ kraak plate with one of the earlier
kraak border types (see Rinaldi’s Kraak Porcelain, A moment in the history of Trade). Twin
deer plates with this border type have been
found in the following wrecks. (All examples
of which are the Jingdezhen rather than the
Zhangzhou version in my opinion in spite
Continued next page
Volume IV Number 5 September-October 2007
2nd Anlong Thom kiln report
A NEWLY PUBLISHED report on a 2nd Anlong Thom kiln,
like an earlier report on another kiln at the site [July-August 2007issue], gives an 11th century date from C14 results
(Calibrated BP 1,070+/-30).
This excavation, a joint Khmer-Japanese effort headed
by Yukitsugu Tabata and Chhay Visoth, was conducted 27
December 2006 to 10 January 2007. The kiln was unusually
small at only about 1.4 meters width, destroyed at its upper
end, and built entirely of clay. It was set steeply up the side
of an artificial dyke. Remnants from two older kilns were
identified beneath the excavated chamber. Like other Khmer
kilns, it featured clay pillars on the central axis that must
have supported a roof. A large amount of waster material was
collected that represents six basic product types; all were
green-glazed or unglazed. No brown glazed ware was seen.
The report, written by Yukitsugu Tabata and Chhay Visoth,
was published in the Journal of Southeast Asian Archaeology
27 (2007), a publication of the Japan Society for Southeast
Asian Archaeology. ¤
Zhangzhou ‘Swatow’ in the Philippines
October 2007 – January 2008
AN EXHIBITION OF Zhangzhou ware found in the Philippines
has been re-scheduled from September to 11 October 2007. Some
130 ceramics have been drawn together by Rita C. Tan for a show at
the Yuchengco Museum (in Makai, Metro Manila) as a joint project
with the Oriental Ceramics Society of the Philippines, Inc. The exhibits are from ceramics society members and from the San Isidro
and San Diego shipwreck materials at the National Museum.
The exhibition, which will continue through 16 January 2008,
will have a catalogue with contributions by Rita C. Tan, Li Jian’an,
Eusebio Dizon and Bobby Orillaneda. The expected price is hardcover US$55, and soft cover US$40.
The opening is set for 6 p.m Thursday, 11 October. The Yuchengco Museum is situated in Makati, Metro Manila. A guided tour by
Ms. Tan is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday October 20th. ¤
Letters, continued
of alternative attributions by some
authors.): - The Drake (1579)/
Cermeno(1595) recoveries, see The
Drake and Cermeno Expeditions’ Chinese Porcelains at Drakes Bay, California
1579 and 1595 by Clarence Shangraw
and Edward P. Von Der Porten.
- San Diego Wreck (1600), see Treasures of the San Diego (1996).
- Mauritius Wreck (1608), see
Michel L’Hour, Luc Long, Eric Rieth,
Le Mauritius La Memorie Engloutie.
Later wrecks, e.g. the Pepper wreck
(1606), Witte Leeuw (1613), Wanli
(1620s), Sao Goncalo (1630), Hatcher Junk (1644), contain no examples of this border type. The only
catch, assuming the shard is in fact
Zhangzhou, is that it’s not possible
to tell how long the Zhangzhou version appeared after the Jingdezhen
original. As noted above I haven’t
seen any shipwreck evidence for the
Zhangzhou version.”
Bounty on the beach after storm
News from Valerie Esterhuizen
Recent storms, including an especially ferocious one on
19 March, on the east coast of South Africa sent shards
onto a beach just north of Port Edward. This area still
hides the Sao Joao, a Portuguese ship that sank in 1552.
Some of the shards show unusual Jiajing (1522-66) reign
motifs. One piece [photos left] has a coxcomb (a flower
with small leaves on both sides of the stem) drawn in
outline and wash technique in dark blue on the interior.
The base is
unglazed and
Two other
shards [right]
show Arabic
script in penciled style. ¤
Ceramics Museum
The museum houses an initial
collection of 2,050 ceramics
donated by Mr. Surat Osathanugrah. With few exceptions, these
ceramics were all found in Thailand. There is pottery from as
early as about 3,000 BC and as
late as the 19th century.
There are ceramics from
production centers in Thailand
as well as ceramics that were
imported in olden times from
neighboring countries.
Khmer ceramics from old
kilns presently located within
Thailand are represented.
There are also Vietnamese ceramics, a great variety of Chinese ceramics, Burmese, Lao
and Japanese ceramics.
Display galleries show all
the types of ceramics found in
Thailand and the technology
involved in local Thai production. The museum collections
include kiln site wasters and
fragments that are essential for
teaching ceramics dating and
It is also home to one of the
largest collections of ceramics
from the 14th-16th centuries
Tak-Omkoi sites of western
The museum formally opened
to the general public on 11 May
Interior views of the museum (from upper left) show a variety of storage jars;
a 5-period outline chronology for Thai
trade ceramics; and an open ‘sandpit’
mixture of Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese ceramics made about AD 13801430, with Northern Thai ceramics in
the background.
Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum
Bangkok University, Rangsit Campus
9/1 Mu 5, Phahonyothin Road
Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani 12120
For enlarged map, go to
Southeast Asain Ceramics Museum Newsletter IV/ 5 September-October 2007
Octopus wreck ceramicsContinued from page 1.
Mr Moon confirmed that the ceramics appear to be Korean wares
from southern Kangjin province
and the ship was probably en
route to the Koryo dynasty capital
at Kaijueng. The most likely date
is12th century. So far Korean
ceramics are not known to have
ever been exported overseas.
The ship lies about 8 meters
deep at low tide (14 meters at
high tide) in a muddy seabed. In
addition to ceramics, iron pots,
rope and packing materials have
so far been recovered. The packing material included rice straw.
Mr Moon estimates a cargo of
about 10,000 ceramics. Five to six
divers are working at the site.
Initial news reports gave the
estimated size of the boat itself
as 7.7 meters long. The site is off
Taean, southwest of Seoul. ¤
Photographs (below left & center
from Moon Whansuk) show some of
the recovered objects, including the
octopus and its dish at lower right.

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