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The Mistery Of Celadon ceramic
The study Report Of
Celadon artifact found In Indonesia
Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA
Privated Limited E-book In CD-rom Edition
Special for Senior Collectors
Copyright @ 2012
I have found some artifact of celadon ceramic In Indonesia, and I met the difficulty in identification the source of that celadon artifact because near same in colour and design
especially the incised decoration of the imperial celadon from China during sung dynasty, Yuan dynasty and early ming dynasty.
The Qing dynasty
Korean celadon more common and easty to identification due to the typical colour nad desaign will not included in this study.
The same colour and decorations of the early china celadon with The Royal high quality Thailand celadon during Sincanalai, sukhotai and sawankhalok era and from Vietnam during anamis era made me difficult to identification
A Sisatchanalai celadon plate with floral motif
After study from literature especially the report of Marine Archeologist from the shipwreck ceramin which found in Asean and the sample from celadon ceramic auction in the world, I have succeeded to open the mistery.
And this are the report of the study special for senior collector s and historian to heklp them in identification their collections and artifact which found in their researching area.
This study still many lack and not complete that is why more info and correction ,also suggestion still need.
Jakarta October 2012
Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA
The Sample Of Celadon ceramic
Northern sung Lung Quan Kiln Celadon
Southern sung Celadon
Southern sung Celadon
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 – 1279 CE; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy. The Song Dynasty is divided into two distinct periods: the Northern Song and Southern Song. During the Northern Song 960 – 1127 and the Southern Song 1127 – 1279 refers to the period after the Song lost control pf northern China to the Jin Dynasty.
Southeast Asia has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The communities in the region evolved to form complex cultures with varying degrees of influence from India and China. The ancient kingdoms can be grouped into two distinct categories. The first is agrarian kingdoms. Agrarian kingdoms had agriculture as the main economic activity. Most agrarian states were located in mainland Southeast Asia. The second type is maritime states. Maritime states were dependent on sea trade. Srivijaya and Malacca were maritime states.
Srivijaya had established suzerainty over large areas of Sumatra, western Java and much of the Malay Peninsula. Dominating the Malacca and Sunda straits, Srivijaya controlled both the spice route traffic and local trade, charging a toll on passing ships. Serving as an entrepot for Chinese, Malay, and Indian markets, the port of Palembang, accessible from the cost by way of a river, accumulated great wealth. Envoys traveled to and from China frequently.
Six dynasty celadon
Yuan dynasty celadon
THE BIGGER YUAN CELADON DOUBLE FISH PLATE”
FOUND AT WEST SUMATRA
West Java small cup
Ming Dynasty celadon
A Sisatchanalai celadon plate with floral motif
a 14th century Chinese shipwreck,
This article was first published in “Southeast Asia – China Interactions” which was published by the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 2002.
Articles selected by Dr. Geoff Wade with foreword by Wang Gunawu.
upsetting Southeast Asian ceramic history
By Sten Sjostrand
Edited: Dr. Geoff Wade
Photographs, sketches, maps and images: Sten Sjostrand
The Turiang is one of several 14-16th century wrecks discovered in the South China Sea by Sten Sjostrand.
All carried ceramics and offer new insights into this glorious period of maritime trade in Southeast Asia, and in particular into the history of Thai ceramics.
The Turiang was a Chinese ship with a multinational cargo of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics, apparently heading for Borneo and/or Sulawesi.
The wreck is tentatively dated to AD 1305-1370. This is one of the earliest shipwrecks yet discovered with Thai export ceramics.
The find prompts a reassessment of the relative importance of the two major production centres at Sukhothai and Si-Satchanalai. It also proves that almost-identical black underglaze ware was available simultaneously from Sukhothai and Vietnam.
Turiang’s ceramic significance
The Turiang cargo suggests that:
Decorated underglaze ware from Thailand and Vietnam was popular before Chinese blue-and-white
Celadon Chinese celadon guan
1.1328 is the latest estimate for the date of first export, to the Middle East, by Liu Xinyuan of the Ceramics Archaeological Research Institute at Jingdezhen in China. Liu Xinyuan, op.cit., 1999.
2.Jeremy Green and Rosemary Harper, 1987, op.cit., fig 15.
3.Common features of the Turiang and Longquan plates include a bracket-type mouthrim, accented with incised lines which follow their shape on the flattened part of the mouthrim; an inward-slanting footrim, covered with glaze; and wide striations on the interior walls.
The Turiang‘s multinational cargo both challenges the chronology of Thai ceramics and presents its own dating puzzle.
One intriguing issue is the absence of blue-and-white porcelain from either China or Vietnam, and the large load of Chinese celadon.
Could this wreck be so old that it pre-dates the export of Chinese blue-and-white, now estimated to have started in 1328?(1)
Individual dish pictures on the Longquan page of the Nov’01 exhibition.
Longquan celadon’s made in China were fired on tubular supports, identical to those later used at Si-Satchanalai 7. Beta Analytical test report: Beta-130708, June 1999
THE “TURIANG ” SHIPWRECK (CE 1370)
Early Signs of China’s Ming Dynasty in Malaysian Waters
Among the oldest shipwreck findings in the South China Sea, it was discovered by a Swedish marine archaeologist, Sten Sjostrand on May 1998 about 100 nautcal miles from the nearest land. This ship was found to be from the Ming Dynasty era (CE 1368 – CE 1644). Numerous Sukhotai vases, Sisatchanalai green glazed wares and underglazed fish and flower plates of Thai and Vietnamese origin were found.
These ceramics offered new clues about the maritime trade in Southeast Asia, and in particular into the history of Thai ceramics. The Turiang was a Chinese ship apparently heading for Borneo and/or Sulawesi.
Why were there so manyThai & Vietnamese ceramics on board a Chinese Ship?
Thanks to Sten Sjostrand who discovered the Turiang, we got to know that Thai ceramics was BIG business in South-east Asia.
The Turiang (named after the kiln-sites in Thailand from which most of the stoneware was produced) was actually a Chinese ship but had Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics on board. It was probably sailing from Ayutthaya, then capital of Thailand to Borneo and/or Sulawesi. With over half the cargo making up Thai ceramics, historians began to reassess the importance of the two major production centres of Sukhothai and Si-Satchanalai in Thailand.
Ayutthaya City Founded by King Ramathibodi I (King U-Thong)
Uthong was the first Ayutthaya king of the kingdom Ayutthaya reigning between 1351 to 1369. He was also called Ramathibodi I. He was known as Prince U Thong. He promoted Theravada Buddhism the state religion. He was married to a daughter of the ruler of Suphanburi; and he may also have married a princess connected to the ruling line of Lopburi. This combination of relationships-to two powerful principalities and to a growing commercial community-represents a least in symbolic form the fundamental strength upon which U-Thong was to base and develop his political ambitions.
But in 1568/69
Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese. The kingdom was however re conquered by King Naresuan after killing the Burmese crown prince with his lance, in a duel on elephant backs. In the coming 100 years, Ayutthaya started to established trade agreements and diplomatic relations with some of their neighbors and the leading European states at this time.
The most “cosmopolitan” regent, at the Ayutthaya era, was King Narai. The Frenchmen tried to convert Narai to Christianity but when Narai died, in 1688, the French were driven out, and the king’s Greek advisor, Constantine Phaulkon was executed. After over a century of peace, the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya again in 1766, and after more than a year long siege the city was burned down.
The Turiang also tells us that the dominance of Chinese ceramics in export markets during the Song (CE 960 – CE 1276) and early Yuan (CE 1271 – CE 1368) dynasties later faced serious competition from Vietnamese and Thai ceramics (notably from the 14th century onwards during the Ming Dynasty).
Some believe it was due to Chinese potters fleeing the Mongol invasion in northern China for safer pastures in Thailand and Vietnam, implying a transfer of technical know-how of ceramic making from Chinese migrants to their would-be competitors. Some ship builders are also thought to have left China in CE 1371.
It has also been suggested that the decline in Chinese ceramics may be due to the ‘Ming ban’.
The ‘Ming ban’ was a ban imposed by the Emperor Hongwu on all maritime activities primarily to curb piracy activities.
Apparently this move was counter-productive and caused untold misery to the coastal communities and legitimate sea traders.
This ban not only made it painful for business, it also made it tough for foreigners to visit China.
At that time, the only way for foreigners to visit Ming China was via the tribute system.
Close Shot of a Celadon plate from The Turiang
A Sisatchanalai celadon plate with floral motif.
There has been humans in the South-East Asia region for tens of thousands years. Early, they got their food from hunting and fishing and later on they also became farmers and started to grow rice more than 5000 years ago. Also, one of the first bronze age cultures in the world, was found here.
The Dvaravati and Mon period
Theravada Buddhist missionaries came from India to the region in the 2nd century and the Mon and Dvaravati period was a loose collection of Indian city states. It was flourishing until about the 9th century but lasted in a few areas until the 11th or 12th century.
The Khmer Period
From about the 8th century the Khmer’s’ started to expand their territory around the capital of Angkor into Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and South China and finally they dominated the region. Lopburi became the Khmer’s head quarter in present Thailand. The influence of Khmer and language, culture, architecture and art was also effecting the whole region at this time. In the 13th century the Khmer domination was weakened from various reasons, such as; bad economy, mutual conflicts and malaria, plague and other diseases.
The Sukhothai Period
The Thais became the largest population in the area after the decline of the Khmer empire. Even if Thai states, such as Lanna, existed in the North, Sukhothai is often considered as the first Thai kingdom. The Sukhothai kingdom was founded in 1238 and Intradit became the first king. Forty years later, Ramkhamhaeng became the third king in this era, and he is often considered as one of the most important figures in the Thai history. The Theravada Buddhism became the state religion and Ramkhamheang was the inventor of the Thai written language. The Sukhothai culture was still flourishing and expanded it’s territory. It lasted until 1378.
The Ayutthaya Period
A new powerful kingdom Ayutthaya, in the South, was founded in 1350/51 by U Thong or king Ramathibodi as his name was after he ascended the throne. Ayutthaya expand it’s territory and Sukhothai became a vassal state of Ayutthaya in 1378. Ayutthaya became a powerful and rich kingdom and King Ramathibodi and his successors expanded Ayutthaya’s territory. Also Angkor was attacked and in 1550 it had about same borders as present Thailand. But in 1568/69 Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese. The kingdom was however re conquered by King Naresuan after killing the Burmese crown prince with his lance, in a duel on elephant backs. In the coming 100 years, Ayutthaya started to established trade agreements and diplomatic relations with some of their neighbors and the leading European states at this time. The most “cosmopolitan” regent, at the Ayutthaya era, was King Narai. The Frenchmen tried to convert Narai to Christianity but when Narai died, in 1688, the French were driven out, and the king’s Greek advisor, Constantine Phaulkon was executed. After over a century of peace, the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya again in 1766, and after more than a year long siege the city was burned down.
The Thonburi Period
The Ayutthaya General Taksin fled southwards, with some of the remaining troops and soon they got many new followers. He became the king in 1768 and Thonburi (in present Krung Thep or Bangkok at the waterside of the Chao Praya river) became the new capital city in the Kingdom of Siam. Taksin and his troops attacked the Burmese troops northwards and successfully chased them away from the country. Thonburi grew to became a strong but peaceful state for 15 years, but Taksin himself probably started to have megalomania tendencies. When he proclaimed that he was a reincarnation of the Lord Buddha, his previous supporters had enough. Taksin was killed in 1782 and his former military advisor, the army general Chakri became the new King of Siam.
The Chakri Dynasty (Rattanakosin)
The kings of the Chakri dynasty in Thailand:
King Buddha Yodfa Chulalok (Rama I) 1782-1809
Also known as Chao Phraya Chakri. He continued to defend the country against the Burmese troops and he also moved the capital city across the Chao Praya river. The name of the town became:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
The world’s longest place name! It is popular called Krung Thep or The City of Angels. For most foreigners the town is known as Bangkok.
King Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) 1809-1824
Also known as prince Issarasundhorn or Phuttaloetla Nabhalai and the son of Rama I. He expanded Thailand’s territory and strengthened it’s position in the area. Also the Englishmen, the Frenchmen and the Dutchmen strengthened their position in the South-East Asia during his regency and they colonized many of the countries around Thailand. Rama II became father of 73 children during his lifetime! (38 boys and 35 girls)
King Nangklao (Rama III) 1824-1851
Also known as Jessadabodindra. The oldest son of king Rama II. He increased the trade between Siam and China, defended Thailand successfully against Vietnamese troops and conquered parts of Cambodia and almost all Laos. Rama III also built and restored some of the most important temples in Thailand.
King Mongkut (Rama IV) 1851-1868
Also known as Vajirayana. The son of Rama II. Many Thais and historians consider him to be on of the most significant kings of the Chakri dynasty. He prevented England and France from colonizing Siam, with lowered import and export duties. King Mongkut spoke English almost fluently. Thailand was one of few countries in the region that was not colonized by an European state. This is still a fact which makes Thai people proud. King Mongkut got infected by malaria and died in October 1868.
Other relevant wrecks
To set the context, this is a brief description of the other wrecks investigated by Sten Sjostrand which were carrying Thai ceramics.
The advantage of the point-in-time snapshots presented by shipwrecks in analysing historical development can be seen, with tentative dates, in the following photograph:
c. AD 1380
The Nanyang is in Malaysian territorial water, 10 nautical miles from the island of Tioman, which was a popular stop for fresh water on the Southeast Asian routes.
The remains of the wreck sit upright on the seabed in 54 metres of water.
Excavation is intended, some time in the future. So far the site has been only partially surveyed.
The construction details noted so far, which include transverse bulkheads and wooden dowels, suggest a ship of the South China Sea type.
The remains indicate that the vessel measured about 18×5 metres.
The Nanyang carried an estimated 10-15,000 pieces of Si-Satchanalai celadon, and does not appear to have had any other ceramics on board. This may have been one of the earliest shipments including celadon plates. These are unusual for the spur marks on their face. Spur marks are also seen on the earlier underglaze decorated plates, but on celadon the disfiguring is more marked, and the practice of stacking with disc-shaped supports was thought to have been discontinued soon after celadon production started. By the time the Royal Nanhai sailed in the mid 15th century, spur marks on celadon are rare. Most of the large dishes among the 420 pieces recovered from the Nanyang display spur marks; only five of the thousands from the Royal Nanhai do. Instead, many pieces from the Royal Nanhai have circular scars on the base from tubular stacking supports; fewer Nanyang plates have these, and when they exist they are of larger diameter than the later examples – a size reflecting the earlier practice of stacking in piles.
The foot-ring of the celadon plates on the Nanyang is tapered inwards and is shorter than on later ware; it resembles the foot-ring of the earlier underglaze black decorated plates found on the Turiang. Most of the Nanyang plates have an undecorated exterior and plain rim, and provide a stylistic bridge between the earlier Turiang and the later Longquan.
The Nanyang also carried very large storage jars, maybe as large as the jars of approximately 260
litres on the Turiang and Longquan – much bigger than those on the later Royal Nanhai.
Longquan – c. AD 1390
The Longquan may be one of the largest trading ships of the period yet found. Like the Nanyang, the site has been only pre-surveyed, but suggests a vessel over 30 metres long and 8 metres wide.
The ship appears to have been built of tropical hardwood with a typical South China Sea design, and to be largely intact, so may eventually provide invaluable details on shipbuilding.
Located 23 nautical miles from shore (15 from the nearest Malaysian island) and in 63 metres of water, this wreck would be time-consuming and costly to excavate.
The Longquan appears to have been fully loaded, and the cargo of ceramics is estimated at 100,000 pieces.
Samples collected from the surface include white-glazed porcellaneous bowls from southern China and celadon from the kilns of Longquan;
Chinese ware represents perhaps 40% of the ceramics visible. Another 40% is Si-Satchanalai celadon of an early character, the majority distinguished by a rare bluish glaze unknown on the Si-Satchanalai celadon from other wrecks.
The decoration of these pieces is more similar to those of the Nanyang than to the more elaborate decoration of the Royal Nanhai celadon.
There are various dish shapes and jars; no jarlets have yet been seen. The remainder of the visible ceramics are Sukhothai ware, including underglaze black decorated plates, with fish and flower designs but not the cakra (solar whorl) motif which seems to have appeared around the mid 15th century.
The later Xuande wreck has bowls decorated with cakra, but no fish or flowers. No Vietnamese pieces have been found so far on the Longquan.
1/.Sten Sjostrand, 1996, The Royal Nanhai Shipwreck and its Ceramic Cargo, including preliminary report on the excavations to date, written for the Malacca Museum Corporation, unpublished. Sten Sjostrand, 1998, The Ceramic Cargo of the Royal Nanhai. Unpublished. Royal Nanhai discovered 1995; excavation completed 1998.
2.Royal Nanhai wood sample dating by Beta Analytical Inc. Radiocarbon report no. 125179. Conventional carbon age 560+/-50 years BP. Calibrated with the latest available data set and adjusted for additional year-rings of wood sample, seasoning/construction and the likely age of the ship when lost, the date of shipwreck was estimated as AD 1320-1460 at 95% probability.
3.Similar in the use of figures in landscape in scenes separated by cloud outline borders. See Larry Gotuaco, Rita C Tan and Allison I Diem, 1997, op.cit. p 126.
The Longquan is tentatively dated on the basis of the Chinese and Si-Satchanalai celadon to AD 1390. Sappanwood from the ship’s cargo will be recovered as soon as possible for radiocarbon dating.
No Chinese blue-and-white ceramics have yet been found on the Turiang, Nanyang and Longquan, which follow each other in time sequence. The earliest occurrence of Chinese blue-and-white will be interesting. These wares are believed to have been extremely scarce on Southeast Asian trade routes during the early Ming dynasty.
Royal Nanhai –
c. AD 1450
The Royal Nanhai was a South China Sea vessel carrying more than 21,000 pieces of mature
which have provided new insights into mid 15th century techniques and developments.
The cargo and position suggest that the ship was heading from Ayudhya to Java or Sumatra. The only wreck to have been fully excavated(1), the Royal Nanhai was found 40 nautical miles east of Kuantan in Peninsular Malaysia, in 46 metres of water.
The vessel was about 28x7metres, and built of tropical hardwood of the Hopea species, which grows throughout Southeast Asia.
Transverse bulkheads were 1.35metres apart throughout the length of the vessel, and the bulkheads and limited remains of the hull planking were edge-joined with wooden dowels. The single layer of hull planking was 8cm thick. (Schematic plan of the site.)
Radiocarbon dating(2) of the timber gave a wide date range of AD 1320-1460. Four pieces of Chinese blue-and-white ware found in a hidden compartment next to the keel were similar(3) to others which have been dated to the Jingtai/Tienshun years of the Interregnum period, 1450-1564, and the style of the Thai ceramics also points to a date in the mid 15th century. (Two Vietnamese blue-and-white covered boxes in the same compartment could be dated only broadly as 15-16th century.)
4.Sten Sjostrand, 1997, op.cit.
5.The Xuande cannon were of Portuguese design, but probably cast in Asia. Portuguese designs and influence may have preceded the arrival of the Portuguese
The Royal Nanhai is therefore about the same age as the Pandanan wreck, found in the Philippines in 1993. Both carried Chinese blue-and-white ware of the Interregnum period, but in both cases it was a small percentage of the cargo; 75% of the Pandanan cargo was from central Vietnam. There were four 14th century Chinese ceramics on the Pandanan wreck, two of them blue-and-white, which are assumed to have been part of an early antique trade. From the first exports in 1328 to the mid 15th century, Chinese blue-and-white ware seems to have been a rare commodity. Analysis of thousands of the Si-Satchanalai celadon dishes distinguished one group which had survived in relatively good condition, with a straight foot-ring, and little re-oxidised colouring in the base. These are likely to have come from a particular kiln which had perfected its technique.
Besides Si-Satchanalai celadon and black-glazed storage jars, and various Chinese blackish brown glazed jars, a variety of utilitarian earthenware, probably used by the crew, was recovered. No Sukhothai ware was found on the Royal Nanhai, although there was some in the Pandanan cargo.
Non-ceramic finds included bar-shaped iron ingots and conical lead ingots, and large concretions of iron, which appears to have been shipped in a loose granular form, spaced along the centre line of the ship. The iron shipment must have weighed at least 20 tonnes. Traces and imprints of woven bamboo on the iron ore indicate that it was packed in bags. The Turiang appears to have carried similar granular iron, but no ingots of any kind. Conical lead ingots were found on the Nanyang and Longquan sites.
The hidden compartment contained exquisite items: a carved ivory sword handle (with traces of the vanished blade originally visible on the seabed), a cylindrical lacquer box and cover incised with floral designs, and an elephant-shaped bronze seal with a moon-hare impression.
c. AD 1500-1520
The Xuande site, which is 30 nautical miles north of the Malaysian island of Tioman, in 53 metres of water, offers no evidence of a ship’s structure.
The outline of the finds produced an acoustic image of a vessel approximately 28×8 metres in size, but site investigation produced no evidence of timber. Scattered ceramics on the surface of the seabed outlined the shape of a wreck, as did side-scan sonar, but the finds extended only a few inches into the muddy sea floor. Despite extensive scanning with a sub-bottom profiler and a magnetometer, plus probing three meters into the sea bed with water jets, no wood fragments at all could be found.(4)
The ceramics recovered include Chinese blue-and-white porcelain and monochrome white-glazed ceramics, and Si-Satchanalai and Sukhothai underglaze black decorated ware.
Seven of the Chinese pieces display the reign mark of the emperor Xuande (1426-1435), but two cannon imply that the wreck post-dated the arrival of the Portuguese in Asia(5), and date the wreck to the early sixteenth century. The ceramics may have been commemorative, as Xuande-reign pottery was highly regarded, rather than early counterfeits. The Sukhothai samples, with the ‘solar whorl’ motif believed to be from the later years of the Sukhothai kilns, confirm this later date
Shipwreck treasure In Malaysia
Sunken Treasure Uncovered
Mention the country Malaysia, people will probably tell you about the gastronomic delights of Penang, the Portuguese / Dutch ruins of Malacca and the orang-utans of Sarawak. Visitors here may rant about the captivating corals of Pulau Redang and white pristine beaches of Tioman. Talk exploration, there’s the National Park of Pahang
and the enchanting Mount Kinabalu. Famed for its lime-stone hills, Ipoh is also known for its beautiful women folk, which also happens to be the birth place of former Bond-girl, Michelle Yeoh.
By the way, the world famous shoe designer, Jimmy Choo is also Malaysian, did you know that?
Yeah, all the stuff associated with this charming place called Malaysia is nice and each topic richly deserves a separate lens. But today, I’d like to talk about Malaysian treasures.
No, not of the legal tender kind but in the form of artefacts salvaged from the bottom of the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits.
They are now on display at the National Museum of Malaysia and will be there for the remaining of 2011. I took some shots and thought of sharing them with you.
It’s been said that shipwrecks are like time capsules. The things they leave behind tell you a bit about the past; yup, we’re talking history here. Having said that, I’m sure you’d agree that unless you have a PhD in archaeology specializing in ancient Asian civilization, looking at shipwreck remains may not tell you very much.
Good thing though the museum provided some information on the ships and the exhibits so your’s truly didn’t look like a complete ignoramus.
That plus other people’s views on the subject (and my, ahem.. basic knowledge of Malayan history) sort of heightened my appreciation for shipwrecks (that didn’t sound quite right, did it?
What I really meant was my deepest sympathies for those who perished, but I appreciate the evidence they left behind).
Table of Contents
- 1. WHAT LIES BENEATH THE MALAYSIAN SEAS?
- 2. Malaya History in Brief
- 3. A Ring-handled Storage Urn
- 4. THE “TANJUNG SIMPANG MENGAYAU” SHIPWRECK (CE 960 – CE 1126)
- 5. Who were the Songs ?
- 6. EMPEROR TAIZU (CE 960 – CE 976) OF THE SONG DYNASTY
WHAT LIES BENEATH THE MALAYSIAN SEAS?
Unravelling the Secrets of The Past
Malaya History in Brief
I’ll tell you a little bit about Malayan history. Not that all these shipwrecks are tied to Malayan history. But I was hoping to give you a glimpse of the events that took place here when these shipwrecks occured off our shores.
But I’ll keep it short so as not to bore you.. Also please note that the town Malacca is often quoted because a lot of stuff happened here. It’s like the icing of the Malayan cake, get it? So please don’t confuse Malacca with Malaya. One is a town, the other is an entire country.
Imagine a primordial civilization where the early Chinese, Arab and European merchant ships converge in this tropical port-town called Malacca and carrying on board spices, precious stones, silk, porcelain, food stuff and even luxuries such as kingfisher feather, elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns and pearls from the region.
Hundreds of Chinese “junks” dot the Malacca Straits and dozens of sail ships ferry traders and missionaries to our shores.
Looming in the distance, a darker picture emerges; a fleet of Portuguese warships laden with canons prepare for an all-out invasion of Malacca (CE 1511).
They capture Malacca after a fierce battle with the Malacca Sultanate, which later goes on to establish the Johor Sultanate. The Dutch, equally tempted to control this lucrative trade route subsequently overthrows the Portuguese with the help of the Johor Sultanate (CE 1641).
But the Dutch then surrenders Malacca to the British (CE 1824) who then rules the British colonies of Singapore, Penang and Malacca (CE 1826 – CE 1946).
And finally, the Second World War; the British relinquishes power to the Japanese without a fight but reclaims it three years later. That’s Malayan history condensed. After gaining independence from the British in 1957 it became Malaysia..
Those were the days when this peninsula was known as “Tanah Melayu” which is translated to English as “Malay Land” or simply “Malaya”.
From the writings of the Greek mathematician and geographer, Claudius Ptolemy (CE 90 – CE 168), we know that the early Europeans traversed our waters sometime in the first century.
The Chinese are also believed to have sailed our seas during the Han Dynasty (BCE 206 – CE 220) and had trade ties with the Roman Empire. That’s a long way back.
And the fact that Malacca Straits was part of the most happening trade route in the early days (known as the “Silk Road”), can you imagine the amount of maritime traffic here?
And considering the perils of sea travel; storms, pirates, treacherous reefs, people dozing off at the wheels, many poor souls must have succumbed to the dangers.
Over two thousand years of maritime trade, the ocean floor of the South China Sea would have become a graveyard of numerous shipwrecks.
The actual number of shipwrecks here is anyone’s guess. A Malaysian Minister recently announced there’s been 75 reported shipwrecks in our waters alone, and many more were not reported.
Hmm… think about all the wreckage still lying there just waiting to be discovered? By the way, some of the shipwrecks discovered was as recent as in 2003, so I won’t be surprised if another discovery is made pretty soon.
Before I digress further into outer-space, let me get back to the topic at hand which is to show you the items salvaged from the Malaysian seas.
I’ve arranged the photos in the chronological order of the shipwreck events with accompanying notes of the wreckage and recovered items.
To get a perspective of the TIMES during which these mishaps took place, I have included snippets of other information I thought was relevant.
A Ring-handled Storage Urn
An Antique Featured in The Exhibition
THE “TANJUNG SIMPANG MENGAYAU” SHIPWRECK (CE 960 – CE 1126)
The oldest shipwreck discovered from Malaysian waters
The wrecksite was found by a local fisherman in 2003. It was located 700 meters from the shores of Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah. under 12 meters of water.
The artefacts included bronze gongs and ceramic wares believed to originate from the Song Dynasty of China (CE 960 – CE 1276).
This ship may have been sunk by strong north-east monsoon waves and then broken up almost instantly as the pounding waves smashed it against the coral rocks . Little remains of the timber that made up the ship.
A sample was sent for analysis and the results indicated that it came from a tree species only found in temperate climate, which suggests that the ship was built in China
There was also extensive looting, so that may explain the limited items on display (couldn’t see any bronze gongs!).
Who were the Songs ?
This ewer has been fired with an olive green glaze and is appears to come from the Northern Song Dynasty of China.
Now a little background on the Songs. Who were they? Sources say they were the most advanced society of their time. That was around CE 1000. Credit goes to them for advancing international trade even with people from as far as the Arabian peninsula and east Africa.
They were also leading in the technological fields of agriculture, iron-workings and printing.
Not only that, they initiated an orderly system of government administration. May not be a big deal today, but people actually had to pass public examinations to get jobs as government officials.
But sadly, I read that the practice of binding feet of women flourished during the Song Dynasty (although it started with its predecessors, the T’angs).
I’m not getting into the details of binding little girls feet…it’s simply too ugly to describe.
EMPEROR TAIZU (CE 960 – CE 976) OF THE SONG DYNASTY
This emperor was responsible for unifying China, establishing a central government with an effective system of administration, promoting technological innovation and foreign diplomatic relations.
Indonesian Shipwreck treasure
A mind-bogglingly huge treasure trove found on a 1000-year-old shipwreck by Indonesian fishermen is going on sale in Jakarta Wednesday.
It’s the biggest treasure ever found in Asia, and comparable to the most valuable shipwreck ever found period, the Atocha, an early 17th century Spanish vessel found off the Florida coast.
On sale will be 271,000 individual pieces, including precious gems, Iranian glassware and Imperial Chinese porcelain all dating back to the first millennium A.D. The estimated value of the auction is a staggering 80 million dollars.
The pieces include the largest known vase from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125)
INDONESIA TREASURE SALE IN SINGAPORE CENTURY 10 Indonesia Treasures Worth 720 Billion Found In North Cirebon.
Treasure recovered from a ship that sank in the waters of Indonesia 1,000 years ago, eventually to be sold. This happened eight years after the goods from the 10th century AD were found.
Approximately 250 thousand objects, including ceramics, crystals, gems and gold were discovered by divers in Cirebon, West Java. Now, some of these treasures will be sold in Singapore. Two years earlier, these treasures auctioned in Indonesia failed in 2010 because there are no takers.
Treasure is estimated to be worth around Rp 720 billion. The existence of the treasure was originally revealed by the fishermen who found the wreckage of a ship as far as 187 feet below sea level.
According to Luc Heymans, director of Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd.., A company based in Dubai who raised these treasures from the sea, a remnant is the greatest treasure ever found in Southeast Asia in terms of quantity and quality.
Treasure worth Rp 720 billion was taken from shipwrecks in the waters of the Java Sea, north of Cirebon, by Paradigm PT Putra Sejahtera (PPS) in collaboration with the Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd (Cosmix).
Treasure hunters from Belgium, Luc Heymens, which is involved in the project says it needs to dive 22 thousand times to transport the treasure from the ocean floor within the period February 2004 until October 2005.
Belgian treasure-hunter Luc Heymans said the haul was one of the biggest found in Asia and was comparable to the most valuable shipwreck ever found anywhere, that of the Atocha, a Spanish vessel which sank off Florida in 1622
Items that are on sale include rubies, pearls, gold jewelry, rock crystal from the Fatimid, Iranian glassware and porcelain from China’s imperial heritage beautifully around the year 976 AD
Details of the auction treasures include the largest vase from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125), ceramic Yue Mise of the Five Dynasties era (907-960) with a special green color to the Emperor. There are also 11 000 pearls, 4,000 rubies, 400 sapphires and more than 2,200 red agate.
famous Yue Mise wares from the Five Dynasties (907-960), with the green colouring exclusive to the emperor.
Around 11,000 pearls, 4,000 rubies, 400 dark red sapphires and more than 2,200 garnets were also pulled from the depths by [Belgian treasure-hunter Luc] Heymans and his team of international divers.
It took 22,000 dives to bring it all to shore. There was a great deal of trade between Arabia, India, Java and Sumatra back then, but even so, whoever was on that ship must have been a big shot. Heymans speculates that all the Imperial porcelain suggests there was an ambassador on board. There was so much of it that when he first dove to the site, all he could see was a mountain of porcelain, no wood from the ship structure at all.
Recovering the treasure turned out to be the least of Heymans’ difficulties. He had arranged permits for the excavation and retrieval of the shipwreck, but the Indonesian police still arrested two of the divers. They stayed in jail for a month while Heymans worked out the problem. Meanwhile, other treasure-hunters tried to poach the find, the Indonesian navy got all up in his grill and the government spent a couple of years drafting new legislation to deal with the discovery.
Finally he cut a deal: the Indonesian government declared some of the treasure national heritage and therefore not salable, and it gets 50% of the sale proceeds from the rest of the treasure. So Heymans and his backers will have to settle for a mere $40 million at minimum.
“At the time there was a lot of trade going on between Arabia and India and coming down to Java and Sumatra,” said Heymans, who led the salvage effort and subsequent battles with Indonesian officialdom to bring the treasure to light.
“But we think there must have been an ambassador on board because so many pieces are imperial Chinese porcelain.”
Descending for the first time onto the wreck site north of Cirebon, West Java, in 2004, the veteran diver said he couldn’t believe what appeared out of the gloom on the sea floor.
“The site was 40 metres (130 feet) by 40 metres and it was just a mountain of porcelain. You couldn’t see any wood,” he said.
And not just any porcelain. The pieces include the largest known vase from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125) and famous Yue Mise wares from the Five Dynasties (907-960), with the green colouring exclusive to the emperor.
Around 11,000 pearls, 4,000 rubies, 400 dark red sapphires and more than 2,200 garnets were also pulled from the depths by Heymans and his team of international divers.
It took 22,000 dives to bring it all up but Heymans said the salvage work, from February 2004 to October 2005, was the easy part. “All the major problems began after we got the stuff on shore,” he said.
The police arrested two of the divers even though Heymans’ company, Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd., and his local partner, Paradigma Putra Sejathera PT, had painstakingly arranged survey and excavation licences.
The divers spent a month behind bars before the mix-up was resolved.
There were also run-ins with the Indonesian navy, efforts by rivals to move in on the wreck, a year of litigation and two years of waiting while Indonesia drafted new regulations to govern such work.
Some of Heymans’ backers who covered him to the tune of 10 million dollars began to worry that their investment would be lost at the bottom of the Java Strait, he said.
“I feel some relief now because so many people told me I would never be able to get the permits and get the stuff out of the country,” he said. He adds, however, that it was one of the most difficult ordeals of his career.
By coincidence, officials last week said another treasure hunter who is well-known to Indonesia, Michael Hatcher, is under investigation for allegedly plundering valuable Chinese porcelain from a new wreck.
Marine and Fisheries Ministry official Adji Sularso said the probe came after authorities seized 2,360 items dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) which Hatcher was allegedly trying to smuggle out of the country.
The porcelain was loaded in two ships that were intercepted in waters off West Java in September, he added.
No charges have been laid but police said Friday that Hatcher was a fugitive and alerted border officials to block him from attempting to flee the country. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Hatcher, who was reportedly born in Britain but grew up as an orphan in Australia, is believed to have made 17 million dollars from auctioning gold ingots and 160,000 pieces of porcelain salvaged from wreck found in the Riau islands in the mid-1980s.
Under the terms of Heymans’ arrangement with the Indonesian government, which declared some of his treasure to be of national heritage, the state will take 50 percent of the proceeds of Wednesday’s auction.
The remainder will be shared among the salvagers.
The auction will be conducted by the Indonesian government, bidders will have to front up a deposit of 16 million dollars to take part and the artefacts will be sold as a single lot. The deadline for registration is Monday.
“We hope to get more than 80 million dollars — it all depends on how the auction runs,” Marine and Fisheries Ministry official Ansori Zawawi said.
Bidders are expected from China, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan, he added.
1. The Turiang also tells us that the dominance of Chinese ceramics in export markets during the Song (CE 960 – CE 1276) and early Yuan (CE 1271 – CE 1368) dynasties later faced serious competition from Vietnamese and Thai ceramics (notably from the 14th century onwards during the Ming Dynasty).
2. Some believe it was due to Chinese potters fleeing the Mongol invasion in northern China for safer pastures in Thailand and Vietnam, implying a transfer of technical know-how of ceramic making from Chinese migrants to their would-be competitors. Some ship builders are also thought to have left China in CE 1371.
3. It has also been suggested that the decline in Chinese ceramics may be due to the ‘Ming ban’.
The ‘Ming ban’ was a ban imposed by the Emperor Hongwu on all maritime activities primarily to curb piracy activities.
Apparently this move was counter-productive and caused untold misery to the coastal communities and legitimate sea traders.
This ban not only made it painful for business, it also made it tough for foreigners to visit China.
4.At that time, the only way for foreigners to visit Ming China was via the tribute system.
5,Imperial Five dynasty Celadon
THE END @ COPYRIGHT @ 2012