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The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )






Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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(1) Sten Sjostrand added by driwan studies info

The relative ease of transportation on


the Chang River

and its tributaries was a key circumstance in the successful development of


the porcelain industry in Jingdezhen. 

Look The jingdechen now please click

One Ming official,

Miu Zongzhou,

wrote that

Kilns are arranged along the rivers and boats and ships which carry porcelain come and go everyday”. (31)  


Despite Jingdezhen’s location in the remote corner of Jiangxi province,

these boats and ships managed to transport huge volumes of ceramics to domestic markets as far away as Beijing as well as to different seaports for shipping overseas.


Directly related to The Wanli shipwreck cargo


are porcelain shards collected at the Guanyinge kiln site. 

These are identical to

the delicate, thin-walled underglaze blue and red bowls found in the Wanli shipwreck cargo.

In addition to these samples, shards from thin-walled ‘crow’ bowls were also collected.

In March 2005 the author was also privileged to discover other production sites being uncovered when a bulldozer was completing the excavation for the basement of a new building along the ‘Thirteen Mile Road.’ This site is today known as the Weituoqiao kiln site.

The excavated area, four meters deep, with perfectly cut sides, revealed three independent waste piles of

Song dynasty coarse secondary clay pottery,


finer qingpai shards, and



Qing dynasty export ware.

These perfectly cut stratograpic levels were covered by a concrete basement before any recording of the material had taken place.

During the visit and cursory inspections of kiln sites in Jingdezhen, it became evident that wasters from the same site could include a wide array of porcelain.

Bowl motif from "The Western Chamber"

The finest export ware

was often mixed with rather crudely potted bowls with an unglazed biscuit ring in the well.  These bowls have often been called ‘Guangdong wares’

Guandong figurine ware

or more broadly attributed to ‘southern China.’  The array of forms, quality and decorative styles seen at the sites supports the idea of communal kilns that fired many different types of ware, presumably from different potteries. 

The fact that an exhibition of kiln wasters at

the Palace Museum in Beijing in November 2005 displayed shards similar to those seen at Jingdezhen — which were however attributed to various kiln sites in Fujian – demonstrates the difficulties in determining the origin on some of these types of wares.

There is little doubt that further investigation of these private kilns, and others, would be fruitful and much appreciated.  With the continuing demolition of late Qing dynasty buildings, which were constructed on top of old kilns, many more discoveries are due in the near future. 

However, it is sad, to hear that China’s new economic boom does not provide for the resources for a long-term archaeological program despite the fact that much information about Jingdezhen’s most important industry would be better understood. 

Simply to be able to document the varying decorative styles on export wares at different times in history is an important art-historical objective.

If we thought that making ‘fake’ pottery was a new phenomena, it is interesting to see that Perez’ d’ Entrecolle already in his famous letter of 1712 confirmed that the Jingdezhen potters had perfected the “art of imitating old porcelain being passed for being three or four centuries old or at least of the preceding dynasty of Ming”.


As enterprising now as then, Jingdezhen potters are still mining kaolin in the same quarries and pulverizing China stone in the same traditional manner.  The potting process, including the application of painted decoration, glazing, and firing in wood-fueled kilns is often identical to old techniques.  Porcelain made in this way today is sometimes also being passed as being centuries old.


The Complete informations cand read at t the litertaures studies  in part two.

Informasi lengkap dapat dibaca pada hasil kajian literature pada bab dua.

Read More

Bowl motif from "The Western Chamber"

Qing Finest Ware(not Upload)


  The findings of ceramic artifacts and art objects in the Indonesian Chinese empire

Temuan artifak keramik dan benda seni kerajaan Tiongkok di Indonesia oleh peneliti



The Finding Of Reseacher 

The findings by researchers relative amounted to quite a lot with various types of design motifs more, not withstanding the findings during a shipwreck there are huge numbers but relatively more limited type of design motive was primarily produced by special royal kiln for the companions of the Emperor of China. 

Temuan oleh peneliti relati berjumlah cukup banyak dengan variasi  tipe disain motif yang lebih banyak,kendatipun demikian  jumlah temuan kapal karam jumlahnya sangat banyak tetapi relative jenis disain motifnya lebih terbatas terutama yang diproduksi oleh kiln kerajaan khusus untuk para sahabat Kaisar Tiongkok.

Untuk lebih jelas  sebagian informasi dari bab dua  ditampilkan dibawah ini hanya dalam bahsa Inggris .

3.2.2 The Finding Of Shipwreck from The Sounth China Sea From Literatur studies


 maritime archaeology and antique pottery and porcelain from the South China Sea

3.2.2 a



By Rachel


The Gaspar Strait runs between the Indonesian islands of Bangka and Belitung, some 300 miles southeast of Singapore, where I sit today, writing these words. Its calm, blue surface belies the snarl of rocks and reefs beneath, and the so-called Belitung Wreck is just one of many ships that met its demise in these perilous waters. In 1998, a German prospector by the name of Tilman Walterfang dove into the strait and struck gold: or rather, some gold, silver, and lots of pots.

Tang treasure

 Over the year, his prospecting company pulled 60,000 handmade artifacts out of the heavily silted waters in the Gaspar, from the wreck of a large ship that we now know sunk sometime in the ninth century. Its contents, known vaguely as ‘the Tang treasure’, have been said to enlarge forever the boundaries of our knowledge of Chinese Tang dynasty maritime history and of the nature and dimensions of early Asian trade.

 For the next six years or so, the treasure languished in a New Zealand warehouse, while Qatar, Shanghai, Singapore and private collectors all vied vigorously for ownership. In 2005, Singapore bought the lot.

 And this afternoon, I had the good fortune to be taken for a private tour of it.


Tang treasure


Junks and their junk

The vessel that sunk was likely a dhow of Arab or Indian origin, a conjecture substantiated well by Michael Flecker, an archaeologist who was invited by Tilman Walterfang himself to direct and document the excavation.

Tang treasure

 (Some of Flecker’s academic papers on the topic, as well as a fascinating but brief clip of part of the excavation, can be found here).

According to Flecker, one of the most striking features of the dhow is that it was not held together with nails or dowels, but sewn together, likely with coconut-husk fibers. Its probable destination is also well established. In the world of the ninth century, dominated economically by two imperial giants —

Tang Dynasty China and Abbasid Persia — the ship has been reasonably thought to be sailing from one to the other, probably from Guangzhou to Basra. The vessel is purported to be the first of Middle Eastern origin found in Southeast Asian waters.

Singapore, alas, didn’t acquire the actual ship, so I didn’t get to see it. We saw the Tang treasure instead. At present, most of it is housed in an unassuming basement at the bottom of the Hua Song Museum in Singapore. The place looked to me, as I walked in this evening, a little like a bomb shelter.

Selat Gaspar berjalan antara pulau-pulau Indonesia dari Bangka Belitung dan, sekitar 300 km sebelah tenggara dari Singapura, di mana aku duduk saat ini, menulis kata-kata ini. Yang tenang, permukaan biru memungkiri kekusutan batu dan karang di bawah, dan disebut Belitung Wreck hanyalah salah satu dari banyak kapal yang mengalami kepunahannya di perairan berbahaya. Pada tahun 1998, seorang Jerman pencari dengan nama Tilman Walterfang terjun ke selat dan memukul emas: atau lebih tepatnya, beberapa emas, perak, dan banyak pot.

 Selama tahun ini, perusahaan calon nya menarik 60.000 artefak buatan tangan dari perairan berat tertimbun lumpur di Gaspar, dari bangkai kapal besar yang sekarang kita tahu tenggelam kira pada abad kesembilan. Isinya, samar-samar dikenal sebagai ‘Tang harta karun’, telah dikatakan untuk memperbesar selamanya batas-batas pengetahuan kita tentang sejarah maritim China dinasti Tang dan sifat dan dimensi perdagangan Asia awal.

 Selama enam tahun ke depan atau lebih, harta mendekam di Selandia Baru gudang, sementara Qatar, Shanghai, Singapura dan kolektor pribadi semua bersaing keras untuk kepemilikan. Pada tahun 2005, Singapura membeli banyak.
 Dan sore ini, saya memiliki nasib baik untuk diambil untuk tur pribadi itu.

Jung dan sampah mereka
Kapal yang tenggelam adalah kemungkinan dhow asal Arab atau India, sebuah dugaan didukung dengan baik oleh Michael Flecker, seorang arkeolog yang diundang oleh Tilman Walterfang dirinya untuk mengarahkan dan mendokumentasikan penggalian.
 (Beberapa makalah akademis Flecker pada topik, serta klip menarik namun singkat bagian dari penggalian, dapat ditemukan di sini).

Menurut Flecker, salah satu fitur yang paling mencolok dari dhow adalah bahwa itu tidak direkatkan dengan paku atau pena, tapi dijahit, mungkin dengan serat sabut kelapa. Kemungkinan tujuan juga mapan. Dalam dunia abad kesembilan, didominasi ekonomi oleh dua kekaisaran raksasa – Dinasti Tang China dan Abbasiyah Persia – kapal telah cukup dianggap berlayar dari satu ke yang lain, mungkin dari Guangzhou ke Basra. Kapal ini konon menjadi yang pertama asal Timur Tengah yang ditemukan di perairan Asia Tenggara.

Singapura, sayangnya, tidak mendapatkan kapal yang sebenarnya, jadi saya tidak bisa melihatnya. Kami melihat harta Tang sebagai gantinya. Saat ini, sebagian besar bertempat di sebuah ruang bawah tanah yang sederhana di bagian bawah dari Museum Song Hua di Singapura. Tempat tampak bagi saya, setelah saya berjalan di malam ini, sedikit seperti perlindungan bom

 Tang treasure

What strikes you almost as soon as you walk into the warehouse is the sheer scale of production. It seems that China then, as now, was mass producing and exporting their goods in staggering quantities — several centuries earlier than scholars have previously thought. You might say that in the hold of this sunken ship lurked, for 1200 years, a kind of ancient Ikea.

Apa yang mengejutkan Anda segera setelah Anda berjalan ke gudang adalah skala produksi. Tampaknya bahwa Cina kemudian, seperti sekarang, adalah massa memproduksi dan mengekspor barang-barang mereka dalam jumlah mengejutkan – beberapa abad lebih awal dari sarjana telah diperkirakan sebelumnya. Anda mungkin mengatakan bahwa dalam memegang ini kapal yang tenggelam mengintai, untuk 1200 tahun, semacam Ikea kuno.


The serial nature of most of the cargo, and the fact that the ceramics exhibit styles distinct to at least five different kilns from all over China, both seem to suggest that this was an export vessel. Of particular interest is the enormous quantity of mint-condition Changsha pottery, a form of Southern Tang ceramic readily identified by its distinctive brown and straw-coloured glaze.


 Tang treasure

Serial sifat sebagian besar kargo, dan fakta bahwa keramik menunjukkan gaya yang berbeda untuk setidaknya lima tanur yang berbeda dari seluruh Cina, kedua tampaknya menunjukkan bahwa ini adalah sebuah kapal ekspor. Yang menarik adalah jumlah besar-kondisi mint Changsha tembikar, bentuk Selatan Tang keramik mudah diidentifikasi oleh khas glasir coklat dan kekuning-kuningan


The Changsha specimens found in the Belitung wreck are decorated with an enormous range of motifs. There is something for everyone: lotuses, makara fish and Chinese calligraphy for the Buddhists, invocations of Allah and non-pictorial, geometric patterns for the Muslims, and everything in between. These are not terribly valuable in and of themselves; they are, as Simon Worrall’s droll appraisal in his article in National Geographic goes, “the Tang equivalent of Fiestaware”.

Tang treasure

Changsha spesimen ditemukan di bangkai kapal Belitung dihiasi dengan berbagai motif besar. Ada sesuatu untuk semua orang: teratai, ikan makara dan kaligrafi Cina bagi umat Buddha, doa Allah dan non-bergambar, pola geometris bagi kaum muslim, dan segala sesuatu di antaranya. Ini tidak sangat berharga dalam dan dari diri mereka sendiri, mereka, sebagai penilai lucu Simon Worrall dalam artikelnya di National Geographic pergi, “setara Tang dari Fiestaware”

This photo by Tony Law,
National Geographic

But there were a few big fish amidst these plebeian offerings: articles so valuable that they are kept elsewhere, under armed guard. These were artifacts found in the stern of the ship: a small clutch of exquisite, royal-grade items, valuable not only in dollar terms, or for their exquisite craftsmanship, but in terms of their historical import. They include a fine octagonal-shaped gold cup — the largest Tang dynasty gold cup ever found, featuring Persian-looking men and women embossed on each face — and three incredibly rare, perfectly preserved specimens of pre-Yuan blue and white porcelain.




Tapi ada beberapa ikan besar di tengah penawaran ini kampungan: artikel begitu berharga sehingga mereka tetap di tempat lain, di bawah pengawalan bersenjata. Ini adalah artefak yang ditemukan di buritan kapal: kopling kecil indah, item kerajaan-grade, berharga tidak hanya dalam dolar, atau keahlian indah mereka, tetapi dalam hal impor sejarah mereka. Mereka termasuk secangkir emas murni berbentuk segi delapan – yang terbesar dinasti Tang emas cangkir yang pernah ditemukan, menampilkan pria Persia tampan dan perempuan timbul pada wajah masing-masing – dan tiga sangat langka, sempurna diawetkan spesimen pra-Yuan biru dan porselen putih.

These photos by Tony Law,
National Geographic

The latter is a particularly interesting testament to the cross-cultural fertilization that characterizes Silk Road histories. Cobalt oxide was almost certainly brought to China by Arab traders; the ore from which it is made can only be found in West Asia, and particularly in Persia. When Arab traders brought cobalt oxide into Guangzhou and began commissioning blue and white ceramics from China, they set into motion the process by which China began to create porcelain that would, over the course of the next five centuries, become so iconic that they came forever to bear China’s name. The story of cobalt oxide is quite well known amongst scholars, but the Jingdezhen blue-and-whites only really began to take off in the late Yuan period. These three small plates, from a ship wrecked in the ninth century, disclose a longer, deeper history.

My personal favourites, however, were the most plebeian offerings of all: those artifacts encrusted with barnacles and corals. In the whole collection, they stood out to me like elegant anomalies, mute witnesses of a millennia of submergence, and utterly beautiful.

Yang terakhir adalah bukti yang sangat menarik untuk fertilisasi silang-budaya yang mencirikan sejarah Silk Road. Kobalt oksida hampir pasti dibawa ke China oleh pedagang Arab, bijih dari yang dibuat hanya dapat ditemukan di Asia Barat, dan khususnya di Persia. Ketika pedagang Arab membawa kobalt oksida ke Guangzhou dan mulai komisioning keramik biru dan putih dari Cina, mereka diatur ke dalam gerak proses dimana China mulai membuat porselen yang akan, selama lima abad berikutnya, menjadi begitu ikonik bahwa mereka datang selamanya untuk menanggung nama China. Kisah oksida kobalt cukup terkenal di kalangan ulama, tetapi Jingdezhen biru-putih hanya benar-benar mulai lepas landas pada periode Yuan terlambat. Ketiga piring-piring kecil, dari sebuah kapal karam pada abad kesembilan, mengungkapkan lebih lama, sejarah yang lebih dalam.
Favorit pribadi saya, bagaimanapun, adalah persembahan yang paling kampungan dari semua: mereka artefak bertatahkan teritip dan karang. Di seluruh koleksi, mereka berdiri keluar bagi saya seperti anomali elegan, saksi bisu dari ribuan dari rendaman, dan benar-benar indah.



Just like the waters of the Gaspar Strait, there too are hidden currents to the Belitung Wreck. For one thing, it came to Singaporean hands amidst a maelstrom of legal wrangling. In 2004, Tilman Walterfang became entangled in a court case when his own marketing agent, Baron Nicolai von Uexkull, took him to court for defaulting on the payment of his (the Baron’s) salary and commission, for the work of negotiating the sale of the treasure. In 2005, not long after the treasure was finally sold to Singapore’s Sentosa Leisure Group following months of negotiation, it emerged that the good Baron had, in his earlier negotiations with Singapore, allegedly disclosed price-sensitive information to the buyers. Walterfang then sued Von Uexkull in 2006 for breach of confidentiality.


As if that weren’t enough: in the course of the sale, Walterfang also became embroiled in a controversy with the Indonesian government, who accused him of failing to pay them the fair share of the proceeds from the treasure. 53,000 pieces of the Tang treasure were sold to Singapore for some US$32 million.

( sold by Indonesian government-Dr Iwan Note)

Under Indonesian conservation law, the state government is entitled to half of this, but it appears that only US$2.5 million or so ever made it into Indonesian coffers. The Indonesians are, naturally, highly displeased, and it seems unclear how Walterfang managed to get away with this. There have been, unsurprisingly, allegations of bribery.

Sama seperti perairan Selat Gaspar, ada juga adalah arus tersembunyi untuk Belitung Wreck. Untuk satu hal, itu datang ke Singapura tangan di tengah-tengah pusaran perselisihan hukum. Pada tahun 2004, Tilman Walterfang menjadi terjerat dalam kasus pengadilan ketika agen pemasaran sendiri, Baron Nicolai von Uexkull, membawanya ke pengadilan untuk default pada pembayaran nya (Baron) gaji dan komisi, untuk pekerjaan negosiasi penjualan harta karun. Pada tahun 2005, tidak lama setelah harta karun itu akhirnya dijual ke Sentosa Leisure Group Singapura setelah berbulan-bulan negosiasi, terungkap bahwa Baron baik memiliki, dalam negosiasi sebelumnya dengan Singapura, diduga diungkapkan sensitif terhadap harga informasi kepada pembeli. Walterfang kemudian digugat Von Uexkull pada tahun 2006 untuk pelanggaran kerahasiaan.
Seolah-olah itu belum cukup: dalam perjalanan penjualan, Walterfang juga menjadi terlibat dalam kontroversi dengan pemerintah Indonesia, yang menuduhnya gagal untuk membayar mereka adil dari hasil harta itu. 53.000 buah harta Tang dijual ke Singapura untuk beberapa US $ 32 juta.
(Dijual oleh pemerintah Indonesia Dr Iwan Catatan)
Menurut hukum konservasi di Indonesia, pemerintah negara berhak atas setengah dari ini, tapi tampaknya hanya US $ 2,5 juta atau pernah jadi berhasil masuk ke pundi-pundi Indonesia. Orang-orang Indonesia adalah, alami, sangat senang, dan tampaknya jelas bagaimana Walterfang berhasil lolos dengan ini. Ada, tidak mengejutkan, dugaan suap.



But the most interesting hidden current, for me, is the way in which a find like this slowly gets shaped into history. Curators and creative minds at the Singapore Maritime Heritage Foundation,

 which was brought into existence for the purpose of administering the treasure, are right now groping for a Grand Story, a narrative into which the Tang treasure can fit. In particular, there’s talk of a great Maritime Silk Route Museum to be built in Singapore to house and exhibit these wares.

Its story will no doubt vaunt Singapore’s central place at the elbow of a great oceanic route that ran parallel to the overland Silk Road. Its objectives will no doubt be to inscribe Singapore into a wider and more ancient world history, and to give historical credence to a position that is crucial to Singapore’s self-image today: as a global, maritime entrepot, and the lodestone on which Southeast Asia turns.

Counterfactual thinking here might be illuminating. What if Qatar, or Shanghai, had been successful in the bid?

What if, amidst all that legal wrangling, Singapore had been jostled out of the buy, or if the Indonesian government had somehow got their act together, claimed the wreck and written it into a narrative demonstrating the magnificence and global reach of the great Srivijaya Empire, instead? What stories would be spun then, out of these fragments we shore up against our ruins? When you visit Singapore one day in not-too-distant years to come, and your Lonely Planet guidebook exhorts you to visit the brand new Maritime History Museum of Singapore, it will be beautifully done, stimulatingly presented. But remember this: none of it was set in stone. We sculpt our own stones, and we call that process history.

Tapi saat tersembunyi yang paling menarik, bagi saya, adalah cara di mana menemukan seperti ini perlahan-lahan akan dibentuk menjadi sejarah. Kurator dan pikiran kreatif di Heritage Foundation Maritim Singapura,
  yang dibawa ke dalam keberadaan untuk kepentingan pengelolaan harta, yang sekarang mencari-cari Grand Story, sebuah narasi ke mana harta Tang dapat ditampung. Secara khusus, ada pembicaraan tentang Silk Route Maritime Museum yang besar akan dibangun di Singapura ke rumah dan menunjukkan barang-barang tersebut.
Ceritanya tidak akan ragu tempat sentral memuji Singapura pada siku dari laut rute besar yang berlari sejajar dengan darat Silk Road. Tujuannya tidak diragukan lagi akan untuk menuliskan Singapura menjadi lebih luas dan lebih kuno sejarah dunia, dan memberikan kepercayaan sejarah ke posisi yang sangat penting untuk Singapura citra diri hari ini: sebagai, entrepot maritim global, dan lodestone di mana Asia Tenggara ternyata.
Kontrafaktual Pemikiran di sini mungkin mencerahkan. Bagaimana jika Qatar, atau Shanghai, telah berhasil tawaran?
Bagaimana jika, di tengah semua perselisihan hukum, Singapura telah berdesakan keluar dari membeli, atau jika pemerintah Indonesia telah entah bagaimana punya bertindak bersama-sama, mengklaim kecelakaan dan ditulis ke dalam narasi menunjukkan keindahan dan jangkauan global dari Sriwijaya Kekaisaran besar , bukan? Apa cerita akan berputar kemudian, dari fragmen ini kita menopang terhadap reruntuhan kita? Ketika Anda mengunjungi Singapura satu hari di tahun tidak terlalu jauh untuk datang, dan Anda buku panduan Lonely Planet mendesak Anda untuk mengunjungi baru Maritime History Museum of Singapore, akan indah dilakukan, stimulatingly disajikan. Tapi ingat ini: tidak ada itu diatur dalam batu. Kami memahat batu kita sendiri, dan kita sebut bahwa sejarah proses.



Shipwreck Cargo Report

By Sten Sjostrand


Sten has spent more than forty years in Southeast Asia designing and engineering various marine structures. His interest in Asia’s pottery and porcelain eventually lead to his search and excavation of numbers of ancient shipwrecks.

As a championship sailor Sten has extensive knowledge and interest in ancient maritime trade, ships designs and construction. It is these interests and gained knowledge that is the base for all his books and extensive lecturing.


Sten’s company; Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd. works with Malaysia’s Department of Museums and Antiquities and can therefore offer legally excavated artifacts from these shipwrecks.


In addition to working with recovering artifacts, Sten has located number of ancient kiln sites in Thailand and in China were his shipwreck ceramics was made centuries ago. He is therefore able to offer absolute provenance on all ceramics sold via Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd. and, with good conscience sign every Certificate of Authenticity supplied with the artifacts.

The maritime archaeology of Sten Sjostrand has led to major advances in the study of Asian trade and trade ceramics in Southeast Asia. 

His meticulous documentation of a series of nine shipwrecks from the 11th to 19th centuries reveals the early dominance of Chinese trade ceramics, a subsequent loss of the Chinese monopoly in the late 14th century when Southeast Asian ceramics entered the market, the basic parameters of the Ming gap shortages of the 14th-15th centuries, and a resurgence of Chinese wares in the 16th and 17th centuries.

  Just as important, Sjostrand freely shares the information from his discoveries.

  Researchers are welcome at his headquarters where he documents his finds and patiently answers the queries of others. 

A lifetime’s experience with the sea and sailing allows Sjostrand to bring new understanding to ancient ship construction, and his voluminous reading allows him to set the ships and their cargoes in historical perspective.




During the excavation phase of the Wanli shipwreck, about 7,000 pieces of porcelain pieces was registered.

Only those pieces which retained more than 50% of its original form was registered

while all other pieces was considered “shards”. 

 From the 7,000 registered pieces, there were less than 2,000 totally intact pieces with many of them showing glaze deterioration and other defects.

In addition to registered artifacts  9,083 kilo “shards” were recovered.

This weight was represented by less than 50% intact pieces (to avoid double registration), broken, fragmented and pulverized pieces. These “shards” was then separated into respective types, weighted and compared with the weight of an intact counterpart to find the total number of porcelains originally loaded onboard the ship. 

 It was thus calculated that the total cargo originally consisted of more than 37,000 pieces. 

Most of the damage to the cargo  is believed to have been caused by an fire followed by an explosion which is likely to have been caused by an attacking Dutch force.

The fire could also have been set by the Portuguese crew trying to avoid a Dutch capture.


Many of the broken plates with intact center medallions, have since been  trimmed and are now available for sale on this page.

Each one of these center medallions has been registered and now displaying its respective serial number on a sticker:

Historical shipwrecks with cargoes of porcelain and pottery are perfect time capsules if properly excavated and researched.

Frozen in time, shipwrecks provide an accurate insight into ancient maritime trade and the goods traded at the time when the ship was lost.

From the ten shipwreck excavated and researched by Nanhai Marine Archaeology, we have learned a lot about this trade and been able to assign estimated dates to these ten shipwrecks and thereby date the artefacts we recover.

 We have learned about different shipbuilding designs, construction methods and been able to map shipbuilding sites and learned how they changed over time, due to political events

European vessel loaded with Chinese kraak porcelain

From the shipwrecks presented here, and the archeology made, we have established how

the early Chinese monopoly on ceramic export was challenged in the 14th – 16th century


by two rivaling Thai kiln complexes, each making different types of traditional Chinese pottery.


 It also becomes clear that the Chinese regained its monopoly in the 17th century when the Europeans entered into the  Asian trade network


3.2.2. c

A seafarers tale – an archaeological elucidation of a shipwreck

(By Sten Sjostrand)

Dreary weather and intermittent rain has led to a dramatic drop in temperature over the last few days and then, just as the rain finally stopped, a cold wind began to blow from the north.

It whipped up high waves and enormous swells that broke repeatedly against the side of the ship giving the deck, and everyone on it, a good showering.  It was unbearably cold, wet and miserable.


Captain Heng Tai dexterously managed to avoid getting any salt water in his face as he crouched and turned with every hit. He was an experienced captain who had sailed this route many times before, but never so late in the season. 

The best time for the voyage was December when the northeast monsoon winds guaranteed a fair and safe passage all the way down the South China Sea. 


But now, late in February, the winds were forceful, occasionally violent and sometimes frightening. 

The swell generated by these waves was higher than any Heng Tai could remember.

As well as being cold and wet, Heng Tai was now starting to get a very uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach.

The junk he commanded was old and hadn’t been reinforced against the hungry attacks of the Teredo woodworms, which feasted on vessels like this.

The owner had recently lost a ship near the Malaysian islands and didn’t have sufficient reserves to pay for the sacrificial planks that would protect the hull from the woodworms’ greedy onslaught. 


 It was this cost-cutting that now worried Heng Tai and he bitterly regretted the time he’d had to spend waiting to load the cargo

in Ayutthaya. 

Without that delay he would have been at sea much earlier and none of this would be happening.

Ever since the ‘‘Ming ban’’

 when emperor Hongwu imposed restrictions on private overseas trade,

potters at the Thai kiln sites had been working flat out to meet the growth in demand from the Southeast Asian market.

Thuriang Kiln at Si Satchanalai ,Sukothai

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Thuriang Kiln at Si Satchanali . Sukothai

(not Upload)

They were now supplying more than half of the total ceramics for the whole region and the increase in orders meant the kilns were swamped and finding it increasingly hard to meet delivery deadlines.  Merchants and captains, like Heng Tai, were seriously concerned about these delays; after all, the monsoon waits for no man. 

( This info prooff  and related to the very hard to found the Middle Ming artwork In Indonesia from dynasti Yung Lo, Hung Wu,Hsuan de Cenghua and Ceng De in Indonesia, If found this only  the present from the Chinese emperor to the Indonesian Sultan or King only not  trading this wares and the sukothai from ayuthada sincanalai  artwork came to Indonesia  to fill the demand  -Dr Iwan note)


Heng Tai had docked in Ayutthaya in December and had waited patiently for two months before his main cargo finally arrived from the ceramic kilns up north. 

 He’d already loaded more than 20 tonnes of iron ore and


ingots and was worried about the uneven distribution of his cargo, so he was greatly relieved when, at last, the celadon ware was loaded and the junk was well balanced again.  


The last water containers were filled and the chickens and ducks, which would feed the crew during the voyage, were secured. 

Heng Tai was finally able to head downriver into

the Bay of Siam,

where he set his sails and laid a course for

the bay of Terengganu.

In those days this part of the Malaysian east coast was under the suzerainty of

the Kingdom of Ayutthaya,

so the waters off Terengganu were safe and familiar and Heng Tai could proceed without danger.

  When Heng Tai sighted the islands off Terengganu he set a new course for

Tioman Island further down the coast.

Tioman was a regular stopover point for sailors from all over Asia as it provided good navigational references and had a plentiful supply of fresh water.  For many centuries seafarers had stopped there to offer prayers for a safe voyage and trade for some local fruit before continuing their arduous journey.

Here Heng Tai would replenish his fresh water supply before setting sail for

Java, his

Kingdom Majapahit

final destination.

Kingdom of Majapahit in Mojokerto Trowulan Site, It’s time you stir the imagination of the life of a fictional kingdom in Indonesia a more than 700 years ago.

Yes, this is the site Trowulan Mojokerto, roomates is the site of a future century Majapahit Empire XIII – XV AD. Located in Trowulan, Mojokerto, East Java as a place where you can no longer remember his greatness and assume that we only know from history books or lessons at school first.

Trowulan is the only site in the Indonesian cities of the covering 11 x 9 km 99 km ² and save Hundreds of Thousands of archaeological remains, both discovered and is still buried. Traveled to this place is not just a vacation, but you can also climb the great history of an empire that inspired the Indonesian nation about “Unity Archipelago”. Additionally you will find out how the level of civilization in Trowulan in the Majapahit period, starting from the system of government, trade, foreign affairs, technology, architecture, agriculture, crafts to art.

Kingdom Majapahit in Mojokerto Trowulan Site

Majapahit kingdom established after the fall of the kingdom in 1293 AD Singosari. Founded by Raden Wijaya, initially centered in the forest area there are many attractions that Maja tree that has fruit with bitter, hence the Majapahit. Raden Wijaya himself is the son of King Singosari Kertanegara lineage Ken Arok, founder of the Kingdom Singosari. He Became the first king of Majapahit until 1309 AD

Greatness Majapahit golden peak during the reign of King Hayam Wuruk and Gajah Mada Mahapatih Palapa Oath pledged to unite the archipelago. Majapahit managed to assemble networks of local and regional trade with commodities and rice crops in exchange for spices, ceramics, and textiles. The currency used is money and money ma gobog of gold or silver, the unique currency of the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Song, Ming, and Qing applies also in Majapahit. Pooling Occurs in religious life with the Buddhist religion of Shiva, in addition to developing Karesian religion and Islam. This shows Majapahit as a multicultural country and its people to live in peace with the various Faiths in harmony. Majapahit have ups and downs due to the seizure of the throne in the royal family until finally experiencing collapse XV century AD.

Kingdom Majapahit in Mojokerto Trowulan Site 2

Majapahit palace building is estimated as terraced houses with roofs of thin wood, walls of brick, the floor of the wicker or rattan mats. While the general population of a thatched roof. Sites in Trowulan restored to preserve its beauty. Trowulan site is crowded, especially on Saturday and Sunday and school holidays. Every day an average of 50-person on weekdays and on average 170′s of people on holidays and school holidays.

Kingdom Majapahit in Mojokerto Trowulan Site 3

Trowulan own site first Appeared in the literature Entitled “History of Java I” written Sir Stamford Raffles in 1817. Raffles said that the name came from Trang Wulan Trowulan or Light of the Moon. When found throughout the site covered a fairly dense teak forests, so she was not seen as a classic city.

Kingdom Majapahit in Mojokerto Trowulan Site 4

Classic city town site Trowulan divided Showed some segments that its role in the past. Built with a pattern of alleged water canal has to do with the concept of the mandala is used as a reference and basic Cosmological distribution of this city. Swimming Segaran proves this is like like a lake in the city center. By sketch reconstruction City Majapahit and aerial photographs showing the old city has a system of irrigation canals for drainage and water supply were made in a straight line extending the northwest-the southeast and the northeast-southwest.

Normally the stretch between Terengganu and Tioman was an opportunity for the captain and navigator to relax for a while.

There was a straight deepwater trench all the way so it was usually plain sailing. 

 This was a well-used shipping lane and he was hoping to come across a Chinese junk, sailing in spite of the ‘‘Ming ban’’, which he could hail for the latest news from China. But on this cold February afternoon, the strong winds and towering waves had ruled out any possibility of such communication and as Heng Tai fought to keep control of his ship his thoughts wandered homewards.


Heng Tai’s father had been an experienced sea captain who had left China fifty years before, shortly after the ‘‘Ming ban’’ came into force.  With their livelihoods at stake many seafarers like Heng Tai’s father, as well as merchants and artisans, had fled to Thailand where they were able to continue their trade.  It was these people who had made the celadon ware he was now carrying.

The Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, towards which he was heading, was flourishing and attracted many foreign merchants from all over Asia and the Middle East who paid top price for celadon ware as they believed it had magical protective powers. 

This era Chinese celadon were ban and only

sukothai celadon exist

Celadon plate, Sukhothai era

Compare the differences of the quality between Sukothai and Chinese celadon (  info not upload0

Read more about

Sukothai (Sangkhalok)celadon ware

(info not upload) 

Heng Tai was a good trader and knew the buyers well he also knew this year’s celadon was the best quality to ever come out of the Sisatchanalai kilns in northern Siam so he was sure of making a handsome profit.  Hopefully then his ship could be reinforced.

(This  info  told us the fact that many Celadon wares found in Indonesia not from Ming dynasty era but from  sisatchanalai  Nothern Siam  sent  export to Indonesia  from Atuthaya,

That is way we called Ayuthaya Siam celadon with the low  color and motif  celadon, but some Lungquan Chinese best celadon still found but very limited because this were not for trading ony as the present to the Chinese emperor friend in Indonesia-Dr Iwan Note)

Sejak” Larangan Ming ”

Ketika Kaisar Hongwu memberlakukan pembatasan perdagangan luar negeri swasta, tembikar di situs kiln Thailand telah bekerja keluar flat untuk memenuhi pertumbuhan permintaan dari pasar Asia Tenggara.

 Mereka sekarang menyediakan lebih dari setengah dari total keramik untuk seluruh wilayah dan peningkatan pesanan berarti kiln yang sibuk dan menemukan itu semakin sulit untuk memenuhi tenggat waktu pengiriman. Pedagang dan kapten, seperti Heng Tai, yang sangat prihatin penundaan ini, setelah semua, musim hujan tidak menunggu manusia.

(Info ini sebagai bukti  dan terkait dengan sangat sulitnya  untuk menemukan karya seni Ming pertengahan  Di Indonesia dari Dynasti Yung Lo, Hung Wu, Hsuan de Cenghua dan Ceng De di Indonesia,

Jika menemukan Kraya seni ini hanya ada sebagai  dari kaisar Cina kepada Sultan Indonesia atau Raja dan  tidak untuk perdagangan .Barang seni  dari  sukothai  sincanalai  dari ayuthada karya seni dikirim  ke Indonesia untuk mengisi kebutuhan  – catatan  Dr  Iwan )

Heng Tai telah berlabuh di Ayutthaya pada bulan Desember dan telah menunggu dengan sabar selama dua bulan sebelum kargo utamanya akhirnya tiba dari kiln keramik ke utara.
 Dia sudah dimuat lebih dari 20 ton bijih besi dan ingot dan khawatir tentang tidak meratanya distribusi kargo, jadi dia sangat lega ketika, akhirnya, para celadon ware dimuat dan sampah baik seimbang lagi.

Wadah air lalu diisi dan ayam dan bebek, yang akan memberi makan kru selama pelayaran, diamankan.
Heng Tai akhirnya bisa kepala hilir ke Teluk Siam, di mana ia mengatur layar dan meletakkan kursus untuk Terengganu.
Pada masa ini bagian dari pantai timur Malaysia berada di bawah kekuasaan raja dari Kerajaan Ayutthaya, sehingga perairan Terengganu yang aman dan akrab dan Heng Tai bisa dilanjutkan tanpa bahaya.
  Ketika Heng Tai terlihat pulau-pulau Terengganu ia menetapkan arah baru untuk Pulau Tioman lanjut ke pantai.
Tioman adalah titik perhentian reguler untuk pelaut dari seluruh Asia karena memberikan referensi navigasi yang baik dan memiliki pasokan air tawar. Selama berabad-abad para pelaut telah berhenti di sana untuk menawarkan doa untuk perjalanan yang aman dan perdagangan untuk beberapa buah lokal sebelum melanjutkan perjalanan yang sulit mereka.
Berikut Heng Tai akan mengisi pasokan air tawar sebelum berlayar ke Jawa, tujuan akhirnya.
Biasanya peregangan antara Terengganu dan Tioman adalah kesempatan bagi kapten dan navigator untuk bersantai untuk sementara waktu.
Ada Air yang dalam di diparit lurus sepanjang jalan jadi itu biasanya berlayar polos.
 Ini adalah jalur pelayaran baik digunakan dan ia berharap untuk menemukan kapal China, berlayar terlepas dari” Ming larangan”, yang dia bisa hujan es untuk berita terbaru dari Cina.

Tetapi pada sore dingin Februari, angin kencang dan ombak menjulang telah mengesampingkan kemungkinan komunikasi tersebut dan sampai Heng Tai berjuang untuk tetap mengontrol kapalnya pikirannya mengembara pulang.

Ayah Heng Tai pernah menjadi kapten kapal yang berpengalaman yang telah meninggalkan China lima puluh tahun sebelumnya, tak lama setelah” Ming larangan” diberlakukan.

Dengan mata pencaharian mereka dipertaruhkan banyak pelaut seperti ayah Heng Tai, serta pedagang dan pengrajin, telah melarikan diri ke Thailand di mana mereka mampu untuk melanjutkan perdagangan mereka. Itu orang-orang yang telah membuat ware celadon sekarang dia membawa.
Kerajaan Jawa Majapahit, ke arah mana ia menuju, sedang berkembang dan menarik banyak pedagang asing dari seluruh Asia dan Timur Tengah yang membayar harga tertinggi untuk celadon ware mereka percaya itu memiliki kekuatan magis pelindung.
Heng Tai adalah seorang pedagang yang baik dan tahu pembeli baik ia juga tahu celadon tahun ini adalah kualitas terbaik yang pernah keluar dari kiln Sisatchanalai di Siam Utara sehingga ia yakin untuk membuat keuntungan tampan. Semoga maka kapalnya bisa diperkuat.

(Info ini memberi tahu k
ita fakta bahwa banyak Celadon barang yang ditemukan di Indonesia bukan dari era dinasti Ming tapi dari sisatchanalai Nothern Siam mengirim ekspor ke Indonesia dari Atuthaya,
Itulah cara kita disebut Ayuthaya Siam celadon dengan warna rendah dan motif celadon, tetapi beberapa Lungquan Cina seladon terbaik masih ditemukan tetapi sangat terbatas karena ini bukan karena ony perdagangan sebagai hadir untuk
sahabat  kaisar Tiongkok di Indonesia- catatan Dr Iwan )

Heng Tai’s attention was suddenly drawn away from thoughts of future profit and ship maintenance as the wind continued to increase. 

Sea conditions were getting worse by the minute putting untold strain on the vessel and his nerves as he worried about the safety of his ship, crew and the precious cargo. 

 However, Heng Tai’s anxiety was nothing compared to how one of the passengers, a young man called Phra Dharmaraja, was feeling.

Dharmaraja was the king of Siam’s envoy who had boarded the ship in Ayutthaya.

King U-Thong Of Ayuthaya Sukhotai siam Kingdom

Everyone could tell just by looking at him that he wasn’t a sailor.  

 As a child he’d been traumatised by a crossing of


the Chao Phraya River

and had kept away from boats ever since. 

 Now, here he was being tossed about in middle of the South China Sea living out his worst nightmare. 

 He was the proud and only son of the first ‘Phra Khlang’ – the minister in charge of Ayutthaya’s treasure. 

His father’s position had allowed him to pull enough strings to secure a well-paid job in the revenue department and a recent promotion had further increased his confidence and status. 

It was a rare thing for a civil servant to be summoned by the king, so he’d been surprised and honoured when he was called to the palace.

The king appointed Dharmaraja as his personal envoy and commanded he accompany Heng Tai to Java to deliver some gifts to

the king of Majapahit

Read More Info

Driwan CD-Rom The Majapahit History Collections

in reciprocation for the tributes the Majapahit ruler had earlier sent to Ayutthaya.

Now as he clung to the handrail for dear life he wondered, between bouts of nausea and waves of terror, whether he’d be able to complete the mission he had been entrusted to undertake.

Every wave was forcing the ship into a near broach; even a small shift in the heavy cargo could prove disastrous. 

 The crew had managed to lower some of the sails to reduce the strain on the hull and rigging and were now struggling to take down the remaining sails, which were glued, by the force of the wind, to the mast, yarn and rigging.  Heng Tai and his crew knew that if the sails remained aloft they would eventually overpower the vessel but there was nothing more they could do.

With his proud character reduced to a mere memory and, in spite of being seriously concerned about his own safety and comfort, Dharmaraja had not forgotten the importance of his mission. 


 He knew that if he failed to deliver the gifts to the Majapahit ruler, it might cause some diplomatic tension and it would certainly embarrass his father.

The most important of all the gifts he was bearing was a royal seal, which reaffirmed Ayutthaya’s friendship and military alliance. 


 He kept it in a silk pouch tied around his waist, which he checked from time to time to make sure that it was still secure.  Arriving without the seal would mean landing without any purpose.  He resolved that, no matter how sick and frightened he was, he would not let this happen.


Suddenly, the crates containing the chickens and ducks were picked up by a huge wave and thrown onto the deck with such force that they smashed to pieces flinging the traumatised animals all over the place. 

As he listened to their terrified honks and screeches a premonition of impending doom sent an icy chill down Dharmaraja’s spine.


The tiller and rudder were under enormous and constant pressure as Heng Tai battled


the raging storm to keep the ship on course. 

Then, just as night fell, the strain finally took its toll and the tiller broke. 

 There was nothing more to be done.  Without the ability to steer her, the ship remained parallel to the waves and the sails dragged the vessel down sideways. 

 In a last effort to save the ship, the crew tried to slash the sails but it was too late. Capsizing was imminent as water came crashing over the decks from all directions.  Heng Tai’s last effort of beaching the ship on the shores of Tioman Island had proved impossible. The struggle to stay afloat was over.


Dharmaraja tried to save himself by clinging to the main mast in the hope of climbing to safety from the water that now engulfed him. 

 Being more experienced in this kind of situation, Heng Tai and his crew scoured the sea for some floating debris to cling to and slowly drifted away from the rattling sails, away from the creaks and groans of the straining hull, away from Dharmaraja’s screams.  The ship was swallowed up, leaving nothing but darkness and silence in its wake.

Read more

The south east china  Shipwreck archeology

(info not upload)

Perhatian Heng Tai tiba-tiba ditarik dari pikiran keuntungan masa depan dan pemeliharaan kapal sebagai angin terus meningkat.
Kondisi laut yang semakin parah oleh menit meletakkan ketegangan yang tak terhitung di kapal dan saraf saat ia khawatir tentang keselamatan kapal, awak dan barang berharga.
 Namun, kecemasan Heng Tai apa-apa dibandingkan dengan bagaimana salah seorang penumpang, seorang pria muda bernama Phra Dharmaraja, adalah perasaan.
Dharmaraja adalah raja utusan Siam yang telah naik ke kapal di Ayutthaya.
Semua orang bisa tahu hanya dengan melihat bahwa dia bukan seorang pelaut.

 Sebagai seorang anak ia sudah trauma oleh persimpangan dari Sungai Chao Phraya dan telah dijauhkan dari kapal sejak itu.
 Sekarang, di sini dia sedang terombang-ambing di tengah Laut Cina Selatan hidup dari mimpi terburuknya.
 Dia adalah anak bangga dan hanya yang pertama ‘Phra Khlang’ – menteri yang bertanggung jawab atas harta Ayutthaya.
Posisi ayahnya telah memungkinkan dia untuk menarik string cukup untuk mengamankan pekerjaan bergaji di departemen pendapatan dan promosi terbaru telah lebih lanjut meningkatkan kepercayaan diri dan statusnya. Itu adalah hal yang langka bagi seorang PNS untuk dipanggil oleh raja, sehingga ia terkejut dan merasa terhormat ketika ia dipanggil ke istana.
Raja mengangkat Dharmaraja sebagai utusan pribadinya dan memerintahkan dia menemani Heng Tai ke Jawa untuk memberikan beberapa hadiah kepada raja Majapahit di balasan untuk upeti penguasa Majapahit sebelumnya dikirim ke Ayutthaya.
Sekarang saat ia menempel pegangan erat-erat ia bertanya-tanya, antara mual dan gelombang teror, apakah dia akan bisa menyelesaikan misi yang telah dipercayakan untuk melakukan.
Setiap gelombang yang memaksa kapal ke dekat bros, bahkan pergeseran kecil di kargo berat bisa membuktikan bencana.
 Para kru berhasil menurunkan beberapa layar untuk mengurangi ketegangan pada lambung dan tali-temali dan sekarang berjuang untuk mencatat layar yang tersisa, yang terpaku, dengan kekuatan angin, tiang, benang dan tali-temali. Heng Tai dan krunya tahu bahwa jika layar tetap tinggi-tinggi mereka akhirnya akan mengalahkan kapal tapi tak ada lagi yang bisa mereka lakukan.
Dengan karakter bangga nya dikurangi menjadi memori belaka dan, meskipun secara serius prihatin tentang keamanan dan kenyamanan sendiri, Dharmaraja tidak melupakan pentingnya misinya.

 Dia tahu bahwa jika ia gagal untuk memberikan hadiah kepada penguasa Majapahit, mungkin menyebabkan beberapa ketegangan diplomatik dan tentu saja akan mempermalukan ayahnya.
Yang paling penting dari semua karunia ia bantalan adalah stempel kerajaan, yang menegaskan kembali persahabatan Ayutthaya dan aliansi militer.

 Dia menyimpannya di kantong sutra diikatkan di pinggangnya, yang ia diperiksa dari waktu ke waktu untuk memastikan bahwa itu masih aman. Sesampainya tanpa segel berarti mendarat tanpa tujuan apapun. Dia memutuskan bahwa, tak peduli betapa sakit dan takut dia, dia tidak akan membiarkan ini terjadi.

Tiba-tiba, peti yang berisi ayam dan bebek dijemput oleh gelombang besar dan dilemparkan ke geladak dengan kekuatan sehingga mereka hancur berkeping-keping melemparkan hewan trauma seluruh tempat.
Saat ia mendengarkan klakson mereka ketakutan dan pekikan firasat akan terjadinya kiamat mengirim dingin dingin ke tulang belakang Dharmaraja itu.

Penggarap dan kemudi berada di bawah tekanan besar dan konstan seperti Heng Tai memerangi amukan badai untuk menjaga kapal di jalur.
Kemudian, saat malam tiba, ketegangan akhirnya mengambil korban dan anakan pecah.
 Tak ada lagi yang harus dilakukan. Tanpa kemampuan untuk mengarahkan dia, kapal tetap sejajar dengan gelombang dan layar menyeret kapal turun menyamping.
 Dalam upaya terakhir untuk menyelamatkan kapal, kru mencoba untuk memangkas layar tapi itu terlalu terlambat. Terbalik sudah dekat seperti air datang menerjang atas deck dari segala arah. Upaya terakhir Heng Tai dari beaching kapal di tepi Pulau Tioman telah terbukti mustahil. Perjuangan untuk tetap bertahan usai.

Dharmaraja mencoba menyelamatkan diri dengan berpegangan pada tiang utama dengan harapan memanjat ke tempat yang aman dari air yang kini melingkupinya.
 Menjadi lebih berpengalaman dalam situasi seperti ini, Heng Tai dan krunya menjelajahi laut untuk beberapa puing-puing mengambang untuk melekat dan perlahan-lahan bergeser dari layar berderak, jauh dari pelan dan erangan dari lambung tegang, jauh dari jeritan Dharmaraja itu. Kapal itu ditelan, meninggalkan apa-apa kecuali kegelapan dan keheningan di belakangnya.




Almost 600 years later, a lone Swedish diver, monitored by an advanced ROV (remote operated vehicle) descended on the very spot where the vessel sank 

The only visible remains of the once proud ship was a mound of broken and overgrown ceramics. There was no sign of any ship’s timber above the seabed, the Teredo woodworms had taken care of that long ago.

The mound still points towards Tioman Island but the distance is too far for Heng Tai and his crew to have reached it safely in those sea conditions.  Dharmaraja would not have survived by clinging to the mast top either as the water was too deep, but the relationship between Ayutthaya and Majapahit did survive, even without the royal gifts.

Although fictitious, everything in Heng Tai’s story is based on evidence uncovered during the excavation of the Royal Nanhai shipwreck.  A seal was found next to the mast step but no remains of Dharmaraja could be found.


3,2,2 d

Brief historical background to Asia’s Maritime trade

(By Sten Sjostrand)

bagian terakhir dr suatu karya sastra
Hampir 600 tahun kemudian, tunggal Swedia penyelam, dipantau oleh ROV maju (dioperasikan kendaraan jarak jauh) turun di titik di mana kapal tenggelam
Satu-satunya sisa terlihat dari kapal sekali bangga adalah gundukan rusak dan ditumbuhi keramik. Tidak ada tanda-tanda kayu setiap kapal di atas dasar laut, para woodworms Teredo telah diambil dari perawatan yang lama.
Gundukan masih menunjuk pada Pulau Tioman namun jaraknya terlalu jauh untuk Heng Tai dan krunya telah mencapai dengan aman pada mereka kondisi laut. Dharmaraja tidak akan bertahan dengan berpegangan pada tiang atas baik sebagai air terlalu dalam, tetapi hubungan antara Ayutthaya dan Majapahit bisa bertahan, bahkan tanpa hadiah kerajaan.
Meskipun fiktif, segala sesuatu dalam cerita Heng Tai didasarkan pada bukti ditemukan selama penggalian dari Royal Nanhai kapal karam. Sebuah segel ditemukan di sebelah langkah tiang tetapi tidak ada sisa-sisa Dharmaraja dapat ditemukan.
Latar belakang singkat historis untuk perdagangan Maritim Asia
(By Sten Sjostrand)


Early Arab and Indian explorers opened the earliest maritime trade route between China, India and the Middle East.  By the 8th century Chinese merchants joined the trade and it wasn’t long before the South China Sea became a bustling marine highway.


Ships laden with Chinese pottery, textiles and iron stopped and trade all along the route, returning with cargoes of exotic indigenous products regarded as luxury items in China.  By the 13th century, green glazed celadon ware was in big demand as its colour resembled jade. It also had a reputation for having magical powers; Marco Polo was once told that celadon emitted a ringing tone when danger approached its owner. It was also reputed to change colour if poisoned food was placed on it. No wonder everyone wanted this ware, it was the only kind of life assurance available in those days. But whether celadon was really magical, or its “special powers” were nothing more than an innovative marketing strategy, the reality was that sales soared.  As a result Chinese ware enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the ceramics trade until the late 14th century.


As maritime trade increased, the Yuan dynasty slipped deeper into decline and eventually fell in 1368 to Zhu Yuan Zhang, a Chinese peasant who had led a successful rebellion against the Mongols.  He set up court in Nanjing where he established the Ming dynasty and named himself Hongwu, the ‘Son of Heaven’. Hongwu was eager to restore Chinese culture and so he reintroduced Confucian ideology that ranked chivalry higher than profit. Confucian scholars were given key positions at court but had little interest in seeing China develop into a great maritime trading power. Instead they concentrated on developing internal trade by rebuilding the network of canals that had been destroyed during the Mongol dynasty.  Hongwu felt threatened by the wealthy merchants and forcefully moved many of them inland. He then ordered their ships to be destroyed and prohibited all private overseas trade and the building of ocean going vessels.  This ‘‘Ming ban’’ on overseas private trade was introduced in 1371 and was often heavily enforced.  Anyone caught smuggling paid with his life.


By the beginning of the15th century however, a new ruler, the Yongle emperor (1403-1324) sent admiral Zheng He (also known as Cheng Ho) on a series of famous ocean voyages to promote tributary trade. This kind of trade emphasised the giving and receiving of tribute, which was in harmony with Confucian principles and meant trade could continue in the name of the emperor.  The expeditions visited Java, India, Mogadishu on the coast of Africa, Hormuz on the Persian Gulf, and sailed up the Red Sea to Jeddah. Gifts were exchanged, and rare spices, plants and animals, including a giraffe, were sent back to China.


The ‘‘Ming ban’’ caused China to loose its monopoly of the ceramic trade forcing many Chinese potters to migrate.  During the 14th century, ceramic production in Thailand and Vietnam increased and the Thai ceramic industry became internationally famous. The main developments seem to have been at the Thai kilns of Sukhothai and Sisatchanalai, which flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries. The kilns at Sukhothai produced underglaze black ware, which was very similar in design and decoration to pots that had been made in the northern Chinese kilns of Cizhou centuries earlier. The kilns at Sisatchanalai made celadon, which began appearing in overseas marketplaces from the last quarter of the 14th century


Evidence from 14th to 16th century South China Sea shipwrecks supports the idea that the Chinese shipbuilders also moved to S.E. Asia.  Traditionally, Chinese ships were made from a temperate climate species of wood and constructed around transverse bulkheads that were held together by square iron nails.  In contrast, Southeast Asian vessels were made from tropical hardwood and built around a framework joined by wooden dowels; a technique still used by boat builders in Terengganu today.  Almost all the shipwrecks from this period had transverse bulkheads attached to a framework, joined by wooden dowels and built from tropical hardwood. These hybrids are commonly referred to as South China Sea vessels and provide evidence that Chinese shipbuilders migrated southwards.


The ‘‘Ming ban’’ was officially abolished in 1567 and this allowed the Portuguese to openly trade with China.  By now Chinese potters were crafting exquisite blue and white porcelain ware that was as translucent as jade and almost as precious.  It captivated an ever-increasing group of European buyers and by the beginning of the 17th century blue and white porcelain was being exported to Portugal, Holland and England. From the beginning of the 18th century, more and more European merchant vessels were crossing the South China Sea with thousands of pieces of blue and white porcelain onboard. Many private European traders settled in Asia, using locally built ships to join in this lucrative commerce.


The ten historical South China Sea shipwrecks presented in this web page span these centuries of change.  Before the discovery of these wrecks, most of the information available to ceramic collectors came from pots that had been found at various archaeological excavations on land. These became a sort of benchmark for art historians who tended to date all types of similar ceramic pieces according to the dates of these sites.  Finding the ten shipwrecks not only resolved many of the questions I had about dating my own collection, it also provided important evidence for past maritime trade, ceramic development and shipbuilding techniques during a time when Asia was the leading technological hub and a dominant force in global trade.



Awal Penjelajah Arab dan India  membuka awal rute perdagangan maritim antara Cina, India dan Timur Tengah.

Pada abad ke-8 pedagang Cina bergabung perdagangan dan itu tidak lama sebelum Laut Cina Selatan menjadi jalan laut yang ramai.

Kapal sarat dengan tembikar Cina, tekstil dan besi berhenti dan perdagangan sepanjang rute, kembali dengan kargo produk asli eksotis dianggap sebagai barang mewah di Cina.

 Pada abad ke-13, hijau mengkilap celadon gudang adalah permintaan besar karena warnanya menyerupai batu giok. Ini juga memiliki reputasi karena memiliki kekuatan magis, Marco Polo pernah diberitahu bahwa celadon dipancarkan nada dering ketika bahaya mendekati pemiliknya.

Hal ini juga terkenal untuk mengubah warna jika makanan beracun ditempatkan di atasnya. Tak heran semua orang ingin gudang ini, itu adalah satu-satunya jenis asuransi jiwa yang tersedia pada masa itu. Tapi apakah itu benar-benar ajaib celadon, atau “kekuatan khusus” yang tidak lebih dari strategi pemasaran yang inovatif, kenyataannya adalah bahwa penjualan melonjak. Akibatnya gudang Cina menikmati monopoli virtual dalam perdagangan keramik sampai akhir abad ke-14.

Sebagai perdagangan maritim meningkat, dinasti Yuan tergelincir lebih dalam ke penurunan dan akhirnya jatuh pada tahun 1368 ke Zhu Yuan Zhang, seorang petani Cina yang telah memimpin pemberontakan berhasil melawan Mongol. Ia mendirikan pengadilan di Nanjing mana ia mendirikan dinasti Ming dan menamai dirinya Hongwu, ‘Anak Langit’. Hongwu sangat ingin untuk mengembalikan budaya Cina dan jadi dia diperkenalkan kembali ideologi Konghucu yang peringkat ksatria tinggi daripada keuntungan.

Konfusianisme ulama diberi posisi penting di pengadilan, tetapi memiliki sedikit minat dalam melihat Cina berkembang menjadi kekuatan perdagangan besar maritim. Sebaliknya mereka berkonsentrasi pada pengembangan perdagangan internal dengan membangun kembali jaringan kanal yang telah hancur selama dinasti Mongol.

 Hongwu merasa terancam oleh pedagang kaya dan tegas pindah banyak dari mereka pedalaman. Dia kemudian memerintahkan kapal mereka harus dihancurkan dan melarang semua perdagangan luar negeri swasta dan pembangunan kapal akan laut. Ini”” Ming larangan perdagangan luar negeri swasta diperkenalkan pada 1371 dan sering ditegakkan. Siapa pun yang tertangkap menyelundupkan dibayar dengan nyawanya.

Pada awal abad the15th Namun, penguasa baru, Yongle kaisar (1403-1324) mengirim Laksamana Zheng He (juga dikenal sebagai Cheng Ho) pada serangkaian perjalanan laut yang terkenal untuk mempromosikan perdagangan anak sungai.

 Ini jenis perdagangan menekankan memberi dan menerima upeti, yang selaras dengan prinsip Konfusian dan berarti perdagangan bisa berlanjut dalam nama kaisar.

 Ekspedisi mengunjungi Jawa, India, Mogadishu di pantai Afrika, Hormuz di Teluk Persia, dan berlayar ke Laut Merah ke Jeddah. Hadiah ditukar, dan rempah-rempah langka, tumbuhan dan hewan, termasuk jerapah, dikirim kembali ke China.

The” Ming larangan” menyebabkan China kehilangan monopoli dari perdagangan keramik memaksa banyak tembikar Cina untuk bermigrasi. Selama abad ke-14, produksi keramik di Thailand dan Vietnam meningkat dan industri keramik Thailand menjadi terkenal secara internasional.

Perkembangan utama tampaknya telah di kiln Thailand Sukhothai dan Sisatchanalai, yang berkembang antara abad 14 dan 16. Kiln di Sukhothai diproduksi underglaze hitam ware, yang sangat mirip dalam desain dan dekorasi untuk pot yang telah dibuat di tanur Cina utara Cizhou abad sebelumnya. Kiln di Sisatchanalai membuat celadon, yang mulai muncul di pasar luar negeri dari kuartal terakhir abad ke-14

Bukti dari 14 sampai 16 abad Laut Cina Selatan kapal karam mendukung gagasan bahwa pembuat kapal China juga pindah ke SE Asia. Secara tradisional, kapal Cina dibuat dari spesies iklim dari kayu dan dibangun di sekitar bulkheads melintang yang dilekatkan dengan paku besi persegi. Sebaliknya, kapal Asia Tenggara yang terbuat dari kayu keras tropis dan dibangun dengan kerangka bergabung dengan pena kayu, teknik masih digunakan oleh pembangun kapal di Terengganu hari ini.

Hampir semua bangkai kapal dari periode ini memiliki bulkheads melintang melekat pada kerangka, bergabung dengan pena kayu dan dibangun dari kayu keras tropis. Ini hibrida sering disebut sebagai Laut Cina Selatan dan kapal memberikan bukti bahwa pembuat kapal Cina bermigrasi ke selatan.

The”” Ming larangan secara resmi dihapuskan pada tahun 1567 dan ini membuat Portugis untuk secara terbuka perdagangan dengan China. Sekarang tembikar China kerajinan biru dan putih porselen indah yang seperti tembus seperti batu giok dan hampir sama berharganya. Ini terpikat kelompok yang terus meningkat dari pembeli Eropa dan pada awal abad porselen biru dan putih-17 telah diekspor ke Portugal, Belanda dan Inggris. Dari awal abad ke-18, lebih dan lebih Eropa kapal pedagang yang menyeberangi Laut Cina Selatan dengan ribuan keping porselen biru dan putih onboard.

Banyak pedagang swasta Eropa menetap di Asia, menggunakan kapal lokal dibangun untuk bergabung dalam perdagangan ini menguntungkan.

Kesepuluh sejarah Laut Cina Selatan bangkai kapal yang disajikan dalam halaman web rentang ini berabad-abad perubahan. Sebelum penemuan bangkai kapal ini,

sebagian besar informasi yang tersedia bagi kolektor keramik berasal dari pot yang telah ditemukan di berbagai penggalian arkeologi di darat. Ini menjadi semacam acuan bagi para sejarawan seni yang cenderung saat ini semua jenis potongan keramik yang sama sesuai dengan tanggal dari situs ini.

Menemukan sepuluh bangkai kapal tidak hanya diselesaikan banyak pertanyaan saya tentang kencan koleksi saya sendiri, juga memberikan bukti penting untuk perdagangan, pengembangan keramik masa lalu maritim dan teknik pembuatan kapal selama waktu ketika Asia adalah hub teknologi terkemuka dan kekuatan yang dominan di dunia perdagangan


Time capsules

(By Sten Sjostrand)


Diving on any shipwreck is an exciting experience full of mystique, but diving on an historical shipwreck is even more thrilling and definitely more challenging. 

These shipwrecks are fragile time capsules containing important information about a bygone era and the information they contain can be easily destroyed by careless excavation.  Some divers only value the cargo but the real treasure is the whole ship: its structure, cargo and the historical context.


Studying each shipwreck from this perspective means that everything onboard is valuable in determining the date and origin of the vessel.  The remains of perishable items onboard at the time of sinking, as well as the vessel’s design and construction method, are just as crucial as the cargo when it comes to fully understanding the importance of the wreck site.


By applying the same fastidious methods of excavation to each of the ten shipwrecks found in the South China Sea, I have been able to plot a proposed chronology for the development of ceramics. This wouldn’t have been as clear or comprehensive, if ten different people using different research criteria and techniques had undertaken the excavations.


Examining each ship’s cargo provided a lot of information. Most ships were loaded with items from different countries of origin, which not only sheds light on the trading routes, but also provides important information about the range of contemporaneous forms and styles of trade goods that were available along the route. 

Recording where each artefact was located often helps to unravel the true circumstances surrounding the item.  For example, on one occasion we found a few pieces of pottery that were older than the rest of the cargo, which possibly indicates the existence of a small trade in antiques at that particular time.  However as these pieces were discovered in a different location from the main cargo, it’s more likely to assume they were intended as gifts or were part of the personal effects of someone onboard.


By examining the remains of the ship it’s possible to determine its design, construction method and the type of timber used.  This information can tell much about the spread of shipbuilding techniques throughout the region.

A further examination of the ship’s loading arrangement and other objects found onboard provide a rather good picture of the historical events preceding the ship’s sinking.  It’s only when we combine all these factors that we can fully understand a shipwreck site.


Excavating historical shipwrecks is a daunting and painstaking business requiring enormous patience and stamina. I couldn’t wait to get started.


Kapsul waktu
(By Sten Sjostrand)

Diving pada setiap kapal karam adalah pengalaman yang menarik penuh mistik, tapi menyelam pada kapal karam sejarah bahkan lebih mendebarkan dan pasti lebih menantang. Ini adalah bangkai kapal kapsul waktu yang berisi rapuh informasi penting tentang zaman dulu dan informasi yang dikandungnya dapat dengan mudah dihancurkan oleh penggalian ceroboh. Beberapa penyelam hanya menghargai kargo tapi harta yang sesungguhnya adalah seluruh kapal: struktur, kargo dan konteks historis.

Mempelajari setiap kapal karam dari perspektif ini berarti bahwa segala sesuatu onboard berharga dalam menentukan tanggal dan asal kapal. Sisa-sisa barang tahan lama atas kapal pada saat tenggelam, serta desain kapal dan metode konstruksi, yang sama pentingnya dengan kargo ketika datang untuk sepenuhnya memahami pentingnya situs kecelakaan.

Dengan menerapkan metode rewel sama penggalian untuk masing-masing dari sepuluh bangkai kapal yang ditemukan di Laut Cina Selatan, saya telah mampu merencanakan sebuah kronologi diusulkan untuk pengembangan keramik. Ini tidak akan sejelas atau komprehensif, jika sepuluh orang yang berbeda menggunakan kriteria penelitian yang berbeda dan teknik telah dilakukan penggalian.

Memeriksa kargo setiap kapal memberikan banyak informasi. Kebanyakan kapal yang sarat dengan barang-barang dari berbagai negara asal, yang tidak hanya menyoroti rute perdagangan, tetapi juga menyediakan informasi penting tentang berbagai bentuk kontemporer dan gaya barang perdagangan yang tersedia di sepanjang rute. Rekaman di mana setiap artefak terletak sering membantu untuk mengungkap keadaan yang sebenarnya sekitar item. Misalnya, pada satu kesempatan kami menemukan beberapa potong tembikar yang lebih tua dari sisa kargo, yang mungkin menunjukkan adanya perdagangan barang-barang antik kecil pada waktu tertentu. Namun sebagai potongan ini ditemukan di lokasi yang berbeda dari kargo utama, itu lebih mungkin untuk menganggap mereka itu dimaksudkan sebagai hadiah atau merupakan bagian dari efek pribadi seseorang onboard.

Dengan memeriksa sisa-sisa kapal itu mungkin untuk menentukan desain, metode konstruksi dan jenis kayu yang digunakan. Informasi ini dapat memberitahu banyak tentang penyebaran teknik perkapalan di seluruh wilayah. Pemeriksaan lebih lanjut dari pengaturan pemuatan kapal dan benda-benda lain yang ditemukan onboard, memberikan gambaran yang lebih baik dari peristiwa sejarah sebelum tenggelamnya kapal. Hanya ketika kita menggabungkan semua faktor ini bahwa kita dapat sepenuhnya memahami situs kapal karam.

Menggali bangkai kapal sejarah adalah bisnis yang menakutkan dan melelahkan yang membutuhkan kesabaran yang sangat besar dan stamina. Aku tidak bisa menunggu untuk memulai.


Why Shipwrecked?

(By Sten Sjostrand)


Even though today’s ships are strongly built, carry good navigational equipment and charts and are manned by highly trained officers, an average of two ships per day still end up on the seabed – a staggering statistic!


Without any of this modern equipment and knowledge to rely on, ancient ships sailed virtually blind.  Some, like Heng Tai’s ship, were also weakened through lack of proper maintenance and some were in the hands of inexperienced officers, who were not always aware of all the navigational hazards they needed to avoid.  On top of this, these old ships were often terribly over crowded.


A common rule of trade was that individual merchants had to live above the compartment they had hired for their cargo. Consequently, there were a lot of passengers onboard and decks were often so crowded that people had to lie down to sleep in shifts.  Water jars, and other smaller items of cargo, were stored on deck too, which made it almost impossible for the crew to respond quickly in an emergency.  Presumably this would have been one of the reasons why Heng Tai’s crew couldn’t get their sails down fast enough to save the ship.  Another negative effect of this overcrowding was the fire risk created by the numerous cooking fires on deck.  Some of these old ships carried saltpetre and gunpowder so any fire onboard was potentially explosive.


The South China Sea offered plenty of hiding places for pirates and over the years these brigands became familiar with the course and destination of various trading ships and would lie in ambush along the route.  Normally the pirates stripped the ship of its precious cargo, firearms, cannons and anchors before killing everyone onboard and setting the ship ablaze. Destroying all evidence of the ship meant they could avoid detection. Surprisingly, the ship’s iron fittings were amongst the most valuable items onboard. Iron was very scarce in Southeast Asia, during this period, which is presumably why their shipbuilders didn’t use iron nails.


The European era adversely affected the safety of shipping in the South China Sea as the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and Spanish tried their best to minimize competition by inflicting as much damage as possible on each other’s vessels as well as any other Asian ship they encountered. Numerous reports exist about Portuguese captains beaching their own ships and setting them on fire rather than letting the Dutch capture them. Yet other reports describe how the Dutch immobilised ‘unfriendly’ ships by shooting down their masts. Then the cargo, anchors and bronze cannons were looted before the ship was set ablaze. Many later blew up ‘like thunder’ after the fire had spread to the powder store.


The Chinese and hybrid Southeast Asian vessels were better at surviving storms and reefs than any other local type of ship.  Their transverse bulkheads divided the ship into watertight compartments that could stay afloat if one or two of them became flooded. They would simply jettison the cargo from the damaged compartments, repair the broken structure from inside and then continue sailing.  All Chinese ships had bulkheads that went all the way to the deck and were quite watertight.  Watertight transverse bulkheads are still employed by ship designers today, which shows how innovative these early Chinese craftsmen had been. The Titanic sank because her watertight bulkheads didn’t go all the way to the upper deck and water was able to flow from one compartment to the other.


When a ship did sink it would have been almost inevitable that everyone onboard perished.  The chance of survival depended on how far the ship was from shore when it sank.  Of the ten historic wrecks excavated in the South China Sea, there’s only three (the Desaru, Tanjung Simpang and Wanli) that were close enough to shore for survival to have been possible. Sadly, most people onboard would have died and there would be no record of them. The human cost this early trade exacted is something I’m always respectfully mindful of when we work on a site.  Thankfully it’s very rare to find human remains on these sites.  Most of the passengers and crew would have jumped overboard before the ship sank and would have been swept away on the current.

Mengapa terdampar?
(By Sten Sjostrand)

Meskipun kapal hari ini yang kuat dibangun, membawa peralatan navigasi yang baik dan grafik dan diawaki oleh petugas terlatih, rata-rata dua kapal per hari masih berakhir di dasar laut – statistik mengejutkan!

Tanpa semua ini peralatan modern dan pengetahuan untuk mengandalkan, kapal kuno berlayar hampir buta. Beberapa, seperti kapal Heng Tai, juga melemah karena kurangnya perawatan yang tepat dan ada yang di tangan petugas berpengalaman, yang tidak selalu menyadari semua bahaya navigasi yang mereka butuhkan untuk menghindari. Di atas ini, kapal-kapal tua sering sangat lebih ramai.

Aturan umum dari perdagangan adalah bahwa pedagang individu harus hidup di atas kompartemen mereka telah menyewa untuk kargo mereka. Akibatnya, ada banyak penumpang onboard dan deck sering begitu ramai bahwa orang harus berbaring untuk tidur dalam shift. Tempayan, dan barang-barang kecil lainnya kargo, disimpan di geladak juga, yang membuat hampir tidak mungkin bagi kru untuk merespon dengan cepat dalam keadaan darurat. Agaknya ini akan menjadi salah satu alasan mengapa awak Heng Tai tidak bisa mendapatkan layar mereka turun cukup cepat untuk menyelamatkan kapal. Efek negatif lain dari kepadatan penduduk adalah resiko kebakaran yang diciptakan oleh berbagai kebakaran memasak di dek. Beberapa kapal tua dilakukan sendawa dan mesiu sehingga setiap kebakaran onboard, itu berpotensi meledak.

Laut Cina Selatan menawarkan banyak tempat persembunyian untuk bajak laut dan selama bertahun-tahun perampok ini menjadi akrab dengan program dan tujuan berbagai kapal dagang dan akan selalu menghalangi sepanjang rute. Biasanya para perompak dilucuti kapal kargo yang berharga, senjata api, meriam dan jangkar sebelum membunuh semua orang di pesawat dan pengaturan kapal terbakar. Menghancurkan semua bukti kapal berarti mereka bisa menghindari deteksi. Anehnya, fitting besi kapal berada di antara barang-barang yang paling berharga atas kapal. Besi sangat langka di Asia Tenggara, selama periode ini, yang mungkin mengapa pembuat kapal mereka tidak menggunakan paku besi.

Era Eropa berdampak buruk terhadap keselamatan pelayaran di Laut Cina Selatan sebagai Portugis, Belanda, Inggris, dan Spanyol mencoba terbaik mereka untuk meminimalkan persaingan dengan menimbulkan kerusakan sebanyak mungkin di kapal masing-masing serta setiap kapal Asia lainnya yang mereka temui . Sejumlah laporan ada tentang kapten Portugis beaching kapal mereka sendiri dan menetapkan mereka terbakar daripada membiarkan Belanda menangkap mereka. Namun laporan lain menggambarkan bagaimana Belanda amobil kapal ‘tidak ramah’ dengan menembak jatuh tiang-tiang mereka. Kemudian kargo, jangkar dan meriam perunggu dijarah sebelum kapal itu dibakar. Banyak kemudian meledak ‘seperti guntur’ setelah api telah menyebar ke toko bubuk.

Kapal Tenggara Cina dan hibrida Asia lebih baik dalam bertahan badai dan terumbu daripada jenis lokal lainnya kapal. Bulkheads melintang mereka dibagi kapal ke kompartemen kedap air yang bisa tetap bertahan jika salah satu atau dua dari mereka menjadi banjir. Mereka hanya akan membuang kargo dari kompartemen yang rusak, memperbaiki rusak struktur dari dalam dan kemudian melanjutkan berlayar. Semua kapal Cina memiliki bulkheads yang pergi semua jalan ke geladak dan cukup kedap. Kedap melintang bulkheads masih digunakan oleh desainer kapal saat ini, yang menunjukkan bagaimana inovatif ini pengrajin Cina awal telah. Titanic tenggelam karena dia bulkheads kedap air tidak pergi semua jalan ke atas dek dan air bisa mengalir dari satu kompartemen ke yang lain.

Ketika kapal itu tenggelam itu akan menjadi hampir tak terelakkan bahwa setiap orang atas kapal tewas. Kesempatan untuk bertahan hidup tergantung pada seberapa jauh kapal itu dari pantai ketika tenggelam. Dari sepuluh bangkai kapal bersejarah digali di Laut Cina Selatan, hanya ada tiga (di Desaru, Tanjung Simpang dan Wanli) yang cukup dekat dengan pantai untuk kelangsungan hidup telah menjadi mungkin. Sayangnya, kebanyakan orang atas kapal akan mati dan tidak akan ada catatan dari mereka. Biaya manusia perdagangan awal ini dituntut adalah sesuatu yang saya selalu hormat sadar ketika kita bekerja di situs. Untungnya sangat jarang untuk menemukan sisa-sisa manusia di situs tersebut. Sebagian besar penumpang dan awak akan melompat ke laut sebelum kapal tenggelam dan akan telah hanyut pada saat ini.

Early Laws of the Sea

(By Sten Sjostrand)

I was intrigued to discover that there were several Thai laws that related specifically to sailors even though there are no records of a strong maritime tradition.  

One law from 1350 prohibits the wife of a shipwrecked sailor from remarrying for seven years after his departure. 

This seems to have been quite a sensible law when you consider how long it might take for a shipwrecked survivor to eventually make his way back home. 


In 1690 a German traveller boarded a Dutch ship in Batavia that was heading first to Thailand and then onto Japan. 

Onboard he met a Japanese passenger who was finally going home after being shipwrecked in the South China Sea 10 years earlier. He and a few other survivors had been washed onto on a small sandbank in the middle of the South China Sea where they lived for a few years before being spotted and rescued.  The sandbank offered little in terms of quality of life being only fifty-three paces long and twenty-four paces wide!   When he finally returned to Japan, he found his wife had remarried and produced a son.


thai palace in bangkok

The same law states that a sailor has the right to give evidence in court in the furtherance of settling disputes involving other sailors. The fact that these laws had already been formulated by 1350 indicates that there was already a thriving Chinese seafaring community in Thailand before the ‘Ming ban’ of 1371. It also adds weight to my theory that part of the Chinese migration of Cizhou potters started as early as 1280 when the Mongols invaded China and established the Yuan dynasty.

These early immigrants most likely started the production of underglaze painted ceramics at Sukhothai, almost a hundred years before celadon production got underway at the Sisatchanalai kilns.  This theory is supported by evidence gathered from the Cizhou kiln sites and the Turiang shipwreck. This shipwreck cargo also reversed the earlier belief that Sisatchanalai was the first Thai kiln in export production.


The 15th century Melaka Maritime Code specifies rules pertaining to merchants and provides a general guide for ships as well as trading procedures. In this, the earliest known maritime code, it states that neither the merchant or the captain are liable to the owner for any lost goods if the cargo had to be jettisoned (a common practice if the ship hit a reef and needed repairs) or was totally lost by shipwrecking.  One can only assume that ships must have been lost quite frequently otherwise there would be no need for such a law.

Hukum  Laut Awal
(By Sten Sjostrand)
Saya tertarik untuk menemukan bahwa ada beberapa undang-undang Thailand yang khusus berkaitan dengan pelaut meskipun tidak ada catatan dari tradisi maritim yang kuat. Satu hukum dari 1350 melarang istri pelaut terdampar untuk menikah kembali selama tujuh tahun setelah kepergiannya. Hal ini tampaknya telah cukup masuk akal hukum ketika Anda mempertimbangkan berapa lama waktu yang diperlukan untuk korban terdampar akhirnya membuat jalan kembali ke rumah. Pada 1690 seorang musafir Jerman menumpang kapal Belanda di Batavia yang menuju pertama ke Thailand dan kemudian ke Jepang. Onboard ia bertemu seorang penumpang Jepang yang akhirnya akan pulang setelah terdampar di Laut Cina Selatan 10 tahun sebelumnya. Dia dan beberapa korban lainnya telah dicuci ke pada gosong pasir kecil di tengah Laut Cina Selatan dimana mereka tinggal selama beberapa tahun sebelum melihat dan diselamatkan. Gosong pasir ditawarkan sedikit dalam hal kualitas hidup yang hanya lima puluh tiga langkah panjang dan dua puluh empat langkah lebar! Ketika dia akhirnya kembali ke Jepang, ia menemukan istrinya sudah menikah lagi dan menghasilkan seorang putra.

Sama hukum menyatakan bahwa pelaut berhak untuk memberikan bukti di pengadilan dalam kelanjutan penyelesaian sengketa yang melibatkan pelaut lainnya. Fakta bahwa hukum-hukum ini sudah dirumuskan oleh 1350 menunjukkan bahwa sudah ada komunitas pelaut berkembang Cina di Thailand sebelum ‘Ming larangan’ dari 1371. Ia juga menambahkan bobot teori saya bagian dari migrasi Cina Cizhou tembikar dimulai sedini 1280 ketika Mongol menyerbu Cina dan mendirikan dinasti Yuan. Imigran awal ini kemungkinan besar mulai produksi keramik dicat underglaze di Sukhothai, hampir seratus tahun sebelum produksi celadon mendapat berlangsung di kiln Sisatchanalai. Teori ini didukung oleh bukti yang dikumpulkan dari situs kiln Cizhou dan Turiang kapal karam. Ini kapal karam kargo juga membalik keyakinan sebelumnya bahwa Sisatchanalai adalah kiln Thailand lebih dulu dalam produksi ekspor.

Abad ke-15 Melaka Maritime Kode menetapkan aturan-aturan yang berkaitan dengan pedagang dan menyediakan panduan umum untuk kapal serta prosedur perdagangan. Dalam hal ini, kode maritim dikenal paling awal, ia menyatakan bahwa baik pedagang atau kapten bertanggung jawab kepada pemilik untuk setiap barang yang hilang jika kargo harus dibuang (praktek umum jika kapal menabrak karang dan perbaikan diperlukan) ataukah benar-benar hilang dengan shipwrecking. Kita hanya bisa berasumsi bahwa kapal harus telah kehilangan cukup sering jika tidak, tidak akan ada kebutuhan untuk undang-undang tersebut.


The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( continiu )






Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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 Sunken Ship Found Treasure Ceramics and Jars from a old chinese Shipwreck in the South China Sea

Sunken Ship Found Treasure Ceramics and Jars from a old chinese Shipwreck in the South China Sea

3.3 Type and Motif Of Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork


Type And Motif Of Chinese Imperial Artwork Ceramic from

Shipwreck pottery

(By Sten Sjostrand)

Before sipwrecks were discovered there was little archaeological evidence available to help art historians date ancient pottery.

They theorised about origin, style of painting and choice of motifs, the kind of oxides used in the decorations and, in some cases, the density of the colour.

They also considered the type of clay used to mould the pot and the techniques involved in making the pottery.

But without a reference point much of this was educated guesswork mostly based on museum collections of unproven origin.  

 It was even thought that finer and more detailed decorations belonged to an earlier period and that somehow the art of decorating pots had devolved over time and become less refined 

The problem with this early method of dating is that it places too much emphasis on separating the different types of pottery into narrow time periods.

This has led to pieces that were actually made at the same time and place being given different dates. 

 Experts rarely considered the possibility that these different styles were produced contemporaneously.  

There was also little appreciation of the fact that not all of the potters and decorators would be equally skilled and that therefore some pots would look artistically superior to others.  

 In addition, these criteria were often applied to pieces in museum collections from unknown origins and so the research didn’t contribute to a long lasting chronology of ceramic ware. 

It’s in this area that historical shipwrecks have provided valuable new insights. 

 Most of the cargoes we’ve examined contained an array of pots, which according to the old way of dating, would have been made many years apart. 

But in fact most, if not all, of the objects found onboard these historic wrecks have revealed that a greater variety of ware was available than had previously been expected.

 It also seems clear that the production of different forms and styles of decoration overlapped and that each type was manufactured over a longer period than previously thought.

The contribution these shipwreck cargoes have made to the dating of ancient ceramics is one of the most important things to have come from their discovery and excavation.

Keramik Kapal Karam
(By Sten Sjostrand)

Sebelum sipwrecks ditemukan ada bukti arkeologi sedikit tersedia untuk membantu sejarawan seni saat tembikar kuno. Mereka berteori tentang asal, gaya lukisan dan pilihan motif, jenis oksida yang digunakan dalam dekorasi dan, dalam beberapa kasus, kepadatan warna. Mereka juga dianggap sebagai jenis tanah liat yang digunakan untuk cetakan panci dan teknik yang terlibat dalam pembuatan gerabah.

Tapi tanpa titik acuan banyak ini adalah dugaan berpendidikan sebagian besar didasarkan pada koleksi museum asal terbukti. Itu bahkan berpikir bahwa dekorasi halus dan lebih rinci milik periode sebelumnya dan bahwa entah bagaimana seni dekorasi pot telah diserahkan dari waktu ke waktu dan menjadi kurang halus

Masalah dengan metode ini awal kencan adalah bahwa hal itu menempatkan terlalu banyak penekanan pada memisahkan berbagai jenis gerabah dalam periode waktu yang sempit.

 Hal ini telah menyebabkan potongan-potongan yang benar-benar dilakukan pada waktu dan tempat yang sama diberi tanggal yang berbeda. Ahli jarang mempertimbangkan kemungkinan bahwa gaya yang berbeda yang diproduksi serentak. Ada juga sedikit apresiasi terhadap fakta bahwa tidak semua tembikar dan dekorator akan sama-sama terampil dan oleh karena itu beberapa pot akan terlihat artistik unggul dari orang lain. Selain itu, kriteria tersebut sering diterapkan untuk potongan dalam koleksi museum dari asal tidak diketahui sehingga penelitian tidak berkontribusi kronologi jangka panjang ware keramik.

Ini di daerah ini bahwa bangkai kapal sejarah telah memberikan wawasan baru yang berharga. Sebagian besar barang kami telah diperiksa berisi sebuah array pot, yang menurut cara lama berpacaran, akan telah dibuat bertahun-tahun terpisah. Namun pada kenyataannya sebagian besar, jika tidak semua, dari benda yang ditemukan onboard, ini bangkai kapal bersejarah telah mengungkapkan bahwa berbagai besar ware yang tersedia daripada yang sebelumnya telah diharapkan. Hal ini juga tampak jelas bahwa produksi berbagai bentuk dan gaya dekorasi tumpang tindih dan bahwa setiap jenis diproduksi periode yang lebih lama dari yang diperkirakan sebelumnya. Kontribusi tersebut kargo kapal karam telah dibuat untuk penanggalan keramik kuno adalah salah satu hal yang paling penting telah datang dari penemuan dan penggalian mereka


3.3.1 a


(11th century)

The Tanjung Simpang ship

Wreck location
Brown glazed kendi
Bronze gong
Copper ingot
Same marks on bronze & ceramics

The wreck found off Tanjung Simpangmangayau, in the north of Sabah, carried a cargo of Chinese ceramics tentatively dated to the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126 AD). Some pi


A 1000 year-old wreck site providing archeology and art history with new information

The Tanjung Simpang shipwreck site, the oldest in Malaysian waters, was unusual in many ways. 

 It was the only site the company discovered in shallow water and close to shore. The site was heavily looted by local fishermen.

Despite this looting, a number of Sung dynasty ceramic wares and few hundred kilos of pottery shards were recovered together with bronze gongs.

Some of these gongs were signed with Chinese characters, painted on the reverse

It has been known for a long time that the ancient Chinese potters made markings in the base of his pots to identify each individuals wares after its firing. These markings are referred to as “potters marks”.

Few of the Tg. Simpang ceramic wares had “potters marks” painted in the base of the pots. These characters are however masterly executed, and question its signing by a lesser educated potter

Luckily, the bronze gongs remaining on the site showed identical painted characters as those seen on the pottery. Such identical markings should start a new debate about whom and when the artifacts were signed and for what purpose. The main point of contention seems to be if the pots were ‘signed’ before or after it firing and if it should continually be referred to as “potters marks”.

One argument presented here, with the evidences from the Tanjung Simpang shipwreck, is that these markings were not “potters marks” but markings made by the Captain or an onboard merchants to identify their individual objects when reaching their destination.


Directed to an area off Tanjung Simpang-mangayau, the northwestern point of Sabah, by a local fisherman (who prefers to remain anonymous) the site was discovered on the 15th of April 2003. It was located 400 meters from the shore and in twelve meters of water.

The surface of the site is sandy but close to the fringing reef edge. The only indication of a shipwreck was stacks of bronze gongs that could be discerned above the flat seabed. This sandy layer varied between two and three feet in depth and is likely to have accumulated after the ship sunk.

This location is directly exposed to the northeast monsoon winds that generate large waves, which increases in height as they meet shallower water. After sinking, the ship appears to have landed on coral rocks. Pounding on these rocks by every wave, the ship is likely to have broken up almost immediately. This theory seems supported by the number of artefacts found scattered between the rocks.

Assuming that the ship sailed directly from China, it may have been damaged on the reefs extending east and west from Pulao Kalampunian and then sunk before the shore at Tanjung Simpangmangayau.

3.3.1 b



(AD. c. 1370)

Chinese Ceramics From the Shipwreck Turiang 14th Century

Around 1400, a Chinese ‘junk’ sank off the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The ship was probably sailing from Ayutthaya, then capital of Thailand, to Indonesia. The cargo was stoneware, mostly with green and brown glazes, from Thailand (57%), southern China (35%) and Vietnam (8%).

Archeology on this shipwreck site adds both information and confusion to today’s art history.

The archeology and the early Ming pottery found on the site suggest that present knowledge need review.  For More information about the importance of the Turiang shipwreck and its mixed ceramic cargo,

It was thought in the 70’s that potters moved from Sukhothai to start additional kilns at Sisatchanalai when sources for better clay were discovered in that area. Sisatchanalai, it was supposed, first made a few fishplates in imitation of Sukhothai and then concentrated their production on the main body of their ceramics, which included pottery like underglaze black and celadon wares


This chronology was adjusted in the 1980s after archaeological excavations at the Sisatchanalai kiln complex.

These showed that these kilns were more ancient, and definitely larger than Sukhothai.


Consequently, it became accepted that the Sisatchanalai site was the earliest producer of hign-fired ceramics and consistently manufactured larger numbers of ware than Sukhothai.


 Then it was thought that the Sukhothai kilns might not have made more ceramics until the 15th century, and that they produced only about 10-12% as much as Sisatchanali.

This seemed like a reasonable conclusion, since at least 800 kilns have been counted at Sisatchanalai but only 50 have been noted at Sukhothai.



There have however been no comprehensive excavations at the Sukhothai site, much of which was destroyed for the building of a new road within the Sukhothai Historical Park.


Various scholars devised theories to explain the differences in size and the relationships between the two kiln sites.


 It was thought that Sukhothai might have had insufficient clay resources and/or the Sisatchanalai site was simply better managed.


Shipwreck pottery recovered in the Bay of Thailand generally supported the idea that Sukhothai was a relatively minor producer.


This company’s discovery of four fully loaded wrecks, all with Thai pottery, did little to contradict the idea of lesser numbers of ware from Sukhothai.


The Longquan wreck did however indicate that the low percentage of Sukhothai exports might not be correct after all, at least not during all periods.


The cargo from this early Ming-period wreck comprised about 20% Sukhothai wares, and only 40% Sisatchanali ceramics.


The remainder of the wares came from China. In this one instance the proportion of Sukhothai wares to Sisatchanalai was 1:2.


Then came the discovery of the Turiang wreck. Not only is the proportion of wares surprising, the date for the founding of the Sukhothai kilns must also be revised.


Thousands of Sukhothai fish plates were seen on the first dive, without any example from Sisatchanalai in sight.


This, despite the fact that the ship was headed for Indonesia, a major market for Thai ceramics.


Further investigation did reveal Sisatchanalai wares but in limited numbers and from a time before the Sukhothai kilns are believed to have opened.


The obvious conclusion is that the Sukhothai kilns were in operation earlier than supposed, at the same time that the so-called ‘Mon’ wares (which are the type recovered) were being produced at Sisatchanalai.


 This Mon group of wares has been securely dated by radiocarbon samples from the kiln site to the mid 14th century. Thus it seems that the Sukhothai kilns must have begun exporting before the time of the Ming ban in AD. 1369.


The few Chinese ceramics recovered, indeed, are types traditionally assigned to the Yuan dynasty (AD. 1279-1368).


While the Turiang cargo may not exactly represent the proportions of production at the two main kiln centers in the Sukhothai kingdom, it gives pause for thought. It is even possible that brick-built kilns were first introduced at Sukhothai and then copied at Sisatchanalai, where in-ground non-brick kilns were previously in use.



The cargo also suggests that the first major exports of Thai pottery came from the Sukhothai rather than Sisatchanalai site.


 Of course, by the 15th century, when the Sisatchanalai potters were producing higher quality ceramics, they became the major source.


In suggesting a time when Sukhothai was the major supplier, it is interesting to review old data from the Philippines. H. Otley Beyer, who first looked at the presence of Thai ceramics in the islands, was convinced that Sukhothai wares typified lower stratigraphic levels.


Sisatchanalai wares, he believed, came later and were associated with 15th-century Chinese blue and white ceramics. It should be noted, incidentally, that 95% of the ceramics from the Turiang wreck are highly deteriorated after their long submersion in salt water. This makes the few intact examples extremely valuable.

In summary, it is believed that the Turiang wreck sank at a time in the 14th century, possibly around the very beginning of the Chinese Ming dynasty in AD. 1368.

3.3.1 c

Nanyang shipwreck

(AD. c. 1380)

Nanyang, a 14th century shipwreck was located in Malaysian Territorial water 11 miles from nearest island. She was loaded with now antique celadon wares from the famous Sisatchanalai kilns. The ship was found ten miles from Tioman island, a popular tourist spot and a popular stopover for seafarers since the 9th century.

The construction details noted thus far, which includes transversal bulkheads, joined with wooden dowels, fits a South China Sea type ship. The site has been surveyed but not yet excavated as much of the ships feature and the ceramics onboard are similar to that of the Royal Nanhai. The length of the vessel appear to be 18 meters and the beam 5 meters and it may have carried as much as 10.000 pieces of pottery, primarily celadon from the Sisatchanalai kilns, many of them showing scars from the use of spur discs.

Celadons dishes with spur marks have hardly ever been documented and seem to indicate an early production technique. Because the same type of dish, when found onboard the Royal Nanhai, does not have these spur marks, it is believed that the Nanyang is an earlier shipwreck perhaps dating to the later part of the 14th century. All evidence from the kiln site suggests that celadon dishes with spur marks are earlier than similar dishes without them. The larger storage jars on the Nanyang also suggest an earlier date. The tentative date for the loss of the Nanyang is therefore set to the period 1372-1390.

Four hundred and two pieces recovered from the wreck, for comparison purposes, were deposited in the collection of the Malacca Museum Corporation, State of Malacca. Malaysia. Without the promised conservation and registration, the artefacts were later returned to the company for proper treatment.



Early celadon cups from the Sisatchanalai kilns



Celadon jarlets and water dropper from Sisatchanalai



Incised decortaions in the early days at the Sisatchanali kilns was simple but elegant3.3.1 d

Longquan shipwreck

(AD. c. 1400)

The Longquan shipwreck was located in 63 meters of water, 22 nautical miles from the nearest Malaysian Island. She was loaded with 15th century antique celadon wares of the best quality. The site is only surface investigated but is expected  to provide archeology and art history with new archaeological data. The ship seems to have been a rather large Chinese junk seemingly measuring more than 30 meters in length, with a beam of 8 meters. The Longquan is the largest Ming-period shipwreck found fully loaded

Celadons from the Sisatchanalai kilns feature incised decorations. A smaller number of plates shows large tubular support scars, suggesting that the traditional stacking method is being phased out(Copy longqusn celadon with low quality colour Driwan found this plate at West Borneo and also the original  longquan celadon)

compare with the longquan original also found below


Chinese celadon from the famous Longquan kilns was probably loaded in China, where the ship is likely to have departed

3.3.1 e


(AD. c. 1460)

Over 20,000 ceramics were discovered in a vessel found north of the Turiang wreck.

The Royal Nanhai’s cargo consisted almost entirely of green- and brown-glazed stonewares of 1450-1500 made at Si Satchanalai in Thailand. The wares were probably being shipped to Indonesia. The discovery shows the success of the Si Satchanalai kilns in supplying this trade

The ceramic not upload because this werenot chinese imperial ware

3.3.1. f



(AD. c. 1540)

While the outline of the finds produced an acoustic image of a sea going vessel, approximately 28 x 8 meters in size, on site investigation did not produced any evidence of timber. Scattered ceramics on the surface of the seabed outlined the shape of a wreck 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.

The ceramics recovered include Chinese blue and white porcelain and monochrome white-glazed wares, Sisatchanalai celadon and underglaze black decorated wares, as well as Sukhothai underglaze black decorated bowls. Seven of the Chinese pieces display the reign mark of the emperor Xuande (AD 1426-1435). These pieces were probably made after the end of that reign, however, sometime in the late 15th century or mid 16th century. The Sukhothai samples, with their ‘solar whorl’ motifs, tend to confirm this later date. The whorl design is believed to belong to the later years of the Sukhothai kilns.

Excavation of the Xuande site was discontinued since no further evidence has warranted additional search and/or recovery attempts. Since the ceramics recovered from this site include examples of at least 20 different designs of Chinese ware, along with some Thai pieces, and the age of the pieces is still controversial, the assemblage should remain intact. One single museum is sought to accommodate the entire collection of some 250 artefacts.

…..It was therefore concluded that the ship sunk in the middle of the 16th century but carried a few ceramics that were already old. The concept of an early trade in antique ceramics, is beginning to be considered by some scholars.

Despite earlier date on the ceramics, it was the Sukhothai underglaze wares and these, Portuguese cannons that eventually confirmed an mid 16th century date for the shipwreck site.

Ewer without any Reignmark with Chrysanthenum moti


Chrysanthenum motif Ewer


with emperor Xuande’s (1425-1436) reign mark

in the base


Reign mark in bowls

3.3.1 g



(AD. c. 1550)

The Singtai shipwreck lies at a depth of 53 meters, 12 nautical miles from the island of Pulau Redang off the north-eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia.  The site was discovered in April 2001 and only a brief surface survey on the seabed has been conducted thus far.  The survey revealed a heavily loaded vessel perhaps 22 meters in length.  The construction of the ship which includes transverse bulkheads made from soft wood (joined by square iron nails) suggest that it may have been built in China.

the collections not upload because  this werenot chinese imperial ware

3.3.1 h



(AD. C. 1625)

The Wanli

Ming dynasty porcelain, kraak porcelain and other antique Chinese porcelain from the Wanli shipwreck. This site also offers information about Jingdezhen pottery development, other shipwreck pottery and antique Chinese export porcelain as well as pages for Chinese pottery marks and Asian antiques



A small kraak dish from the Wanli (c.1625) shipwreck. This dish is more than likely made at the Guangyinge kiln complex (Jingdezhen, China) where we have located production waster similar to this dish. The main decorative motifs are Chinese auspicious symbols wishing for a healthy and long life. The dish is totally intact with good glaze and soft decoration and limited ‘tender edges’



Zhushan butterfly bowl from the Wanli (c.1625) shipwreck. Similar butterfly bowls are reportedly found at the Zhushan (imperial) kilns at Jingdezhen, China, during excavations in the late 1990’s. Although not likely made at those kiln, it is possible that this bowl was made by an imperial Zhushan potter after the ‘official’ factory was closed in 1608. This bowl was found in two parts but now restored. The glaze surface is satin and the rendering in high contrast. The rim is smooth and free from ‘tender edges’. The base show a apocryphal six character (Chenghua Nian Zao) reign mark of emperor Chenghua (1464-1487)



A RARE peony dish painted in reserve where the background, rather than the motif, is painted in blue. The painting is crispy blue and well executed. The rim has, as it should, some ‘tender edges. The dish is intact although with some warping and limited glaze (surface) deterioration.


This kraak plate shows a grasshopper on a rock below a lotus arrangement. The plate is in good condition with contrasty decoration and no tender edges’  whilst here is a small, short, shallow rim repair at 7 o’clock. Grasshopper is a rather rare motif in the Wanli cargo. The plate will be delivered  with a Certificate of Authenticity



This fungus bowl belongs to the ‘best available’ group of ceramic artefacts from the Wanli shipwreck site. It shows a series of fungus liangcao motifs. This plant is a rare Chinese herbal medicine reputed as “elixir of life”. The bowl is totally intact with little ‘tender edges’along the rim. The glaze is in a very good glossy condition and the resonance of the bowl is very high pitch

Large Character Bowl


This RARE and much south after character type of bowl depicts Shou Lao, the God of longevity, riding a crane above crested waves in the well. The exterior decoration feature four medallions, each depicting two of the Eight Immortals, surrounded by repeated shou (longevity) characters.  This repeated use of the the shou character  is known as Bai Shou Tu in Chinese, meaning the ‘Picture of One Hundred shou characters’ and is very common in Chinese traditional work of art. These bowls are traditionally an excellent gift as they provide wishes for long life. The Eight Immortals are the favorite pantheon in Daoism.

Character bowl W-5908 is well made with all decorations perfectly executed and in high contrast This bowl is intact except for a rim repair which is hard to see. A fine hairline has been professionally mended and the resonance of the bowl is fully restored and now provide a high pitch sound when tapped. The base is glazed and show the (apocryphal) reign mark of emperor Chenghua whom ruled China between 1464 – 1487. The bowl will be delivered with a Certificate of Authenticity The diameter of the bowl is 22 centimeter.


Ming Wanli Turtle Motif Bowl.

The Chinese Imperial Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu )






Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

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 Sunken Ship Found Treasure Ceramics and Jars from a old chinese Shipwreck in the South China Sea

Sunken Ship Found Treasure Ceramics and Jars from a old chinese Shipwreck in the South China Sea

3.3.1 i



Historical Shipwreck




Shipwrecks which remain undisturbed on the seabed for centuries provide vital information about the past. The challenge of archaeology is to understand the past by studying material traces.

On land, archaeologists may excavate burial sites, lost monuments or deposited waste.

At sea, marine archaeologists may excavate ships fully loaded with today’s antique pottery. Object on board are usually assumed to be contemporary products dating from the year of sinking. Antique pottery recovered from such dated assemblages in the South China Sea, yield important clues about Asia’s ceramics developments and associated maritime trade.

“As time capsules, each with content deposited at a single moment in time, these are more valid as dating evidence than are decades of scholarly guesswork based on unprovenanced museum collections” (Asian Ceramic Research Organization)

The European East India ships of the 17th century provided the first direct contact with Asia’s spices, silk and ceramics. The Wanli Shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia in November 2003. It was fully excavated in mid-2005 in association with the then Malaysian Department of Museums and Antiquities. Believed to be a Portuguese vessel circa 1625, the ship was carrying an impressive cargo of late Ming Dynasty blue-&-white kraakware, a form of export porcelain produced during and following the reign of Emperor Wanli (1563-1619).

Kraak was the first blue & white porcelain to arrive in Europe in large quantities where it became highly sought after. The Ming


Wanli Kraak Porcelain with Bied on the rock symbol and surround by eight buddhist emblem and treasure emblem motif bigger palte 70 cm

porcelain of this period charmed buyers with its lively and spontaneous free painted images of deer, crickets and birds in natural settings.

The porcelain was named after the Carracks, the Portuguese ships that first transported this cargo. 

The Wanli Shipwreck bears testimony to the treacherous nature of maritime trade in the 17th Century. The distribution and condition of the porcelain cargo suggest that the ship’s gunpowder room may have exploded before sinking. It is thought that it was boarded and set alight by a ship from a rival nation.



Still Life with Fruit in a Wan-Li Bowl A Roemer c.1630

Detail from Tulips in a Wan-Li Vase c. 1619,


Chinese kraakware was far superior in terms of form and style to anything available at the time. It inspired the development of blue & white Delftware in Holland which emerged more than a century later. Prized Wanli bowls and plates featured prominently in the still lifes of the Dutch Masters of the 1600s who wanted to demonstrate their skill at depicting the delicate surfaces and intricate detailing of the exotic blue & white porcelain from the Far East.

Quoted from Sten Sjostrand essay:

“The ‘‘Ming ban’’ was officially abolished in 1567 and this allowed the Portuguese to openly trade with China.  By now Chinese potters were crafting exquisite blue and white porcelain ware that was as translucent as jade and almost as precious.  It captivated an ever-increasing group of European buyers and by the beginning of the 17th century blue and white porcelain was being exported to Portugal, Holland and England. From the beginning of the 18th century, more and more European merchant vessels were crossing the South China Sea with thousands of pieces of blue and white porcelain onboard. Many private European traders settled in Asia, using locally built ships to join in this lucrative commerce. “



The Bin Thuan Shipwreck Ceramics

Motif duck and lotus flower

Salvaged in 2001, from the Bin Thuan shipwreck situated 40 miles east of Phan Tiet, Vietnam, these Zhangzou (Swatow) ceramics were produced in China between 1550 and 1650

(3) The Camau Shipwrec’ 

The Ca Mau wreck


Tea bowl and saucer from the Ca Mau wreck, about 1725

A tea bowl and saucer.

Where and how it was made

This tea bowl and saucer were made in about 1725 at a porcelain works in Jingdezhen in southern China. The blue and white pattern is called ‘over the wall’. It shows a man climbing over a wall to meet two maidens, and may have been inspired by a Ming dynasty novel. While this is a Chinese design, some of the other ceramics found in the same shipwreck feature European motifs.

Two decorative dishes.

Left: These ‘Scheveningen’ dishes were recovered from the Ca Mau shipwreck. The decoration shows the Dutch fishing village of Scheveningen. Courtesy: Sothebys.

Where and how it was traded

It’s believed the wreck at Ca Mau was a Chinese merchant’s junk on its way from Canton (Guangzhou) to Batavia when it caught fire and sank in about 1725. The goods on board had been ordered by the merchant for Dutch traders who had limited access to China and its ports.

Engraving of a port.

Left: This engraving shows the port of Canton (Guangzhou) in China, about 1669. Courtesy: The Bridgeman Art Library.

22 ceramic dishes stuck together.

Right: Many of the ceramics in the Ca Mau wreck were tightly packed in 60-centimetre pinewood barrels. The fire on board was fierce enough to fuse some of the ceramics together. Courtesy: Sothebys.



(AD. c. 1830)

Pirates could have attacked the Desaru ship, killed her captain, captured passengers and crew, taken the most precious cargo, and set fire to the ship before selling the captured as slaves.

If this happened, the pirates would have been likely to take the ship’s cannons, valuable commodities at the time. Piracy was virtually uncontrolled during the first half of the 19th century. Writing in the late 1830’s, Newbold indicated that pirate activities around the Malay peninsula were seasonal and determined by the wind conditions.

From April to May, pirates would focus on the east coast; from June to September the brunt of their depredations fell on Johor and nearby islands. One pirate chief boasted that he had killed twenty-seven captains of European ships with his own hands. Piracy was curbed in 1837 when Admiralty jurisdiction granted prosecuting authority to the Straits Settlements; until then, all cases had to be referred to Calcutta. Around this time, Singapore started to supply ships with anti-pirate cannon, similar to the one found on the Desaru ship.

During excavation, structural members were held in place only by the ceramics and the surrounding compacted mud.

The scattered shards are found up to 4 metres either side of the ship, and up to 20 metres to the north and south, along the trawling directions.

Ceramics found in the port bow area were more broken and disorganized than in other sections of the ship

The blue and white porcelain found on the ship is attractive and of not  high quality,

The many large and crudely-potted storage jars found onboard suggest that more practical objects were in higher demand than decorative objects or wares for fine dining – although the discovery of over 50,000 soup spoons

unmatched with bowls also demonstrates the scale of contemporary trade and the danger of extrapolating too much from a single cargo.

 By the 18th century imitations were being made in Europe.  Genuine Yixing pots are made from a distinctive purplish red clay found only in Jiangsu province, and each of the examples from the Desaru displays a mark on the base giving either a potter’s or a supervisor’s name.  A number of the teapots carry the mark of Shao Youlan who is known to have been active in the Daoguang reign (1821-1850) and this, for the time being, is the best indication for the age of the shipwreck.




Blue & white porcelain on board consisted of a range of tableware from the Dehua and Jingdezhen kilns. Among these were flower bowls and dishes, lion dog and chrysanthemum blossom plates, Kamcheng jars decorated with delicate pea blossoms, covered wine bowls with Double Happiness motifs, and a large quantity of spoons.
The cargo comprised items typically used throughout Southeast Asia throughout this period.

Lion Dog Kamcheng Jars, teapots and Om plates from the Desaru Shipwreck

Much of the blue & white survived intact.  Excavated shards, however, were less abundant.  Due to the relative scarcity of these shards, pieces from from Tradewind Treasures’ Desaru Collection

The Desaru Shipwreck was found off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia at a depth of 20 metres. It was fully researched and excavated in 2003. 

Chinese ceramics comprised 10% of the cargo of this Chinese vessel.  This included finely crafted Yixing teapots, and brown, black and green glazed stoneware for practical everyday use.

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( continiu )






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 The International Shipwreck Treasures

Other Shipcwrek Traesure Report


International Shipwreck Treasures Report

Chinese Shipwreck Treasures Revealed

A fabulous hoard of Chinese antiquities salvaged from shipwrecks in the South China Sea is causing a terrific stir among collecting and museum circles.

Until now, almost no one has been allowed to view material or pictures from the finds; certainly no one in the general public.

Though this doesn’t include every item, the treasures shown here, mark the first time they’ve been on such general display.

There are estimated hundreds of objects, most nearly 1,000 years old. According to experts, the number and rarity of the pieces found will significantly affect both the commercial market and scholarly research in top-flight East Asian antiques for years to come.

The shipwrecks were discovered six years ago in international waters between Malaysia and Borneo.

Tilman Walterfang Tilman Walterfang , the German mechanical engineer and director of a large concrete-supply company who discovered the wrecks, created a new company to pursue a salvage project, dubbed Seabed Explorations. Despite mounting costs and regular visits from pirates, Seabed Explorations , based in New Zealand, completed on-site raising operations in three years.

But the company decided to keep quiet about its findings until recently, because the company had been running the treasures through the painstaking desalination and immersion processes necessary for proper preservation. Costs to date have exceeded $7.5 million, according to Rolf Marie and Nikolai von Uexküll, marketing directors at Seabed.

So far the company has unveiled the details of two separate shipwrecks named after small landmarks near their sites of discovery. One is an 11th century wreck called Intan, which was filled with Song dynasty artifacts; the other is the 14th century Maranei, replete with Ming artifacts.

Between them, the ships held export cargoes of ceramic, stoneware and earthenware bowls and plates, bronze mirrors and containers, gold and silver jewelry, ingots and coins, and other things. Nobody knows just how much the hoard is worth, but according to Seabed officials, “The investors are thoroughly satisfied by the importance and value of the finds.”

The ships also offer revelations of hitherto unseen artifacts. For example, the Maranei wreck features a small hand cannon the size of firearms that was not thought to exist until three centuries later.

The Intan wreck is notable for the cultural diversity of its contents, wrought in Chinese, Javanese, Buddhist and Persian styles, denoting Chinese-made objects for foreign markets.

Such early examples of Chinese exports had not been seen before, according to experts consulted by Rolf Marie in the U.S. and Europe. It appears that Tilman uncovered a pivotal spot on the trade route from China out to the West. “It’s a kind of seaborne silk route,” Marie says, “so the finds are important and educational on many levels.”

The company emphasizes that, unlike standard treasure hunters, Seabed paid meticulous attention to historical, archeological and conservation procedures throughout its operations. Indeed Seabed seems to have received top marks from experts who were invited to supervise, such as Lothar Ledderose, Heidelberg University East Asian art history professor, who is now at the Getty Museum. He wrote the preliminary introduction to the Intan find. Says Marie: “Not a single object was ruined or a site irresponsibly excavated.”

Marie and colleague von Uexküll have been in the U.S. for a few weeks on a show-and-tell mission, assessing the market and talking to professionals.

They were in New York recently to take advantage of Asia Week’s concentration of the world’s top curators, collectors, dealers and experts. Marie met with dealer Khalil Rizk of the Chinese Porcelain Co. in Manhattan; Rizk is a well-known world authority on Asian antiques. In remarks made after their meeting, Rizk was clearly impressed by what he saw, though he wondered about the effect of so many artifacts descending on the market in one fell swoop.

According to Marie, Seabed has considered this issue. “We are in no hurry to unload or let go of anything. We will take our time and do it right, over several years if necessary–that includes consideration for the market as well as for the cultural and historical value of our finds. So we’re certainly talking museums too, who might be interested.”

It appears that Seabed may have more to reveal and other projects simmering, so a strategy over time would not be surprising.

According to Tilman, the whole thing began when he was chatting with Asian in-laws who told him of rumored treasures in the general area of the finds. Complete with scuba gear, he traveled to the area and went on his own underwater expedition.

Between then and now, Tilman’s perseverance and diplomacy in getting backers, creating a salvage company, mustering the technology and dealing with locals before raising the wreckage, then preserving it all patiently, seems nothing short of phenomenal. Under the circumstances, no doubt he feels he can wait a little longer.

White porcelain bowl with yingqinq glaze, Song dynasty or earlier, from the Intan shipwreck.

Green glaze ceramic box with rough incised petal design, Song dynasty or earlier, Intan( This Yuan Qinpai coverbox-Driwan note)

Ceramic flask with circular body and tall neck, Song dynasty, Intan

Porcelain headrest or pillow with flower design, Song dynasty, Intan

Glass bottle with strong early Islamic or mid-eastern design influence,

Gold handle, possibly part of ladel or other ritual implement,

Ingot with Chinese inscription showing weight and warning against forgery, Inta

Religious bronze icon with Buddhist styling, possibly Javanese,

Gold stud earring with seven precious stones,

Bronze mirror frames both Javanese and Chinese Song dynasty styles,

 Dasaru Shipwreck

large dragon Jar


Chrysanthemum Porcelain Vase

  Item 1: Large 16th century bronze Portuguese breech lock cannon measuring 66″. Barrel length measures 42″ with a 1 1/2 bore, 12″ breech inside. On top of the front breech is a motif with an early Arabic inscription which might have been put there years ago by early Arab traders as a good luck gesture for future trading by Portuguese mariners. Estimated weight 150-200 lbs. This is probably one of the nicest larger of the breech cannons I have found in years and are becoming rarer as the years go by. This piece was found in the Dutch East Indies Kalimantan Timur. Comes complete with knock down carriage.

Item 2: Early c17th century well used ornate bronze breech lock for a breech lock loading cannon. Was found on the Island of Maluku Dutch East Indies and probably came from a Portuguese breeched cannon. The lock measures 10 1/2″ long with a rear circumference of 8 1/4″ and front 7 1/4″. Weight is 14 lbs
Breech No 1: plus close-up of inside. Measures 25 1/2″
Breech No 2 with sight: plus close-up of inside. Measures 35 1/2″
Breech No 3 with sight: plus close-up of muzzle. Measures 34 1/2″ Item 3: Three bronze Portuguese breech lock cannons c1589-1600 found on a Portuguese shipwreck off the island of Ternate Dutch East Indies. These cannons were of small size and could have probably been used for barter for trade in the Dutch East Indies or were used as samples by a Portuguese salesman working for a gun company in Portugal. The cannons look as if they have been in the ocean for some time but are still stable. They measure No 1: 25 1/2″ No 2: 35 1/2″ and No3: 34 1/2″
Item 4: Early Dutch honey coloured genever (gin) pictorial bottle c1880 “Cosmopoliet Schiedam”. The bottle was found in jungle East Kalimantan Dutch East Indies and is in excellent condition. 10″ Tall

Item 5: Shipwrecked Dutch salt glazed drinking mug found on an un-known shipwreck near Guyana South America. Mug dates c1600 and has been somewhat distorted after years under the ocean. Still in excellent condition measures 4 1/2″ tall and has been cleaned




Item 6: Early 16th century bronze breech lock from a breech loading cannon probably Portuguese. Measures 9 2/3″ long x 10″ high and weights 13 lbs. Was found near Ambon Dutch East Indies

Item 7: Early Dutch shipwreck Onion wine bottle c1740 found on a unknown shipwreck near Makassar Dutch East Indies Indonesia, 7 1/2 high


  Item 8: Three shipwreck boarding cutlass swords found on a shipwreck in the Malaka straits Dutch East Indies.All swords c1860-1880 and are in excellent condition still in a solid state with some stress lines due to drying out.There have been a number of these swords found over the last three years on this site and these will probably be the last ones to come out of the wreck site as most of the wreckage has now been salvaged.It’s been very hard over the last three years to determine their place of origin but it looks as if a early Dutch Indiaman and a Chinese junk might have collided there at one time.
Sword No1: 23 1/2″
Sword no2: 22 1/4″
Sword no3: 21 1/2″
  Item 9: Quarter deck brass ships bell found on a shipwreck near Batam Singapore. Photos show the bell half way through cleaning and just after a mild polish to maintain its original patina. There were no marks found on the bell to determine its origin, weight 10 lbs, 8″ high x 8″ dia

Item 10: Four early Dutch long neck free blown Dutch wine bottles also know as “Hoof Wine Bottles” c1740 with twisted pontils. All are in excellent condition 7″-8″ tall and were dug in Ternate Dutch East Indies Indonesia

Item 11: Three late 18th century Dutch shipwreck bottles found on a shipwrecked Dutch East Indies retourship which is being salvaged off of the coast of Portugal. The two mallets are 9″ tall and the Dutch ” Cosmopoliet” gin is 11″ tall.

  Item 12: Early T’ang water jar c1618-906, 12″ high found on a shipwreck Tuban Indonesia
Item 13: Free blown Dutch mallet wine bottle found on a Dutch East Indies shipwreck in the Dutch East Indies, c1700, 6 ½”
  Item 14: Early Renish salt glazed Bellarmine jug c1650 found in the Dutch East Indies shipwreck. Some external light crustacean 10 3/4″ high excellent condition
Item 15: Martaban South East Asian storage jar 15th-16th century. Found at sea near Malaysia Timur 14″
    Item 16: Large masked Dutch saltglazed stoneware bellarmine jug c1700. Found Dutch East Indies. Probably VOC .Co 19 ½”
  Item 17: Early c1750 free blown Dutch onion wine bottle with twisted pontil with early rolled string lip 7″ in excellent condition. Found in the jungle Dutch East Indies

Item 18: Four 17th century cannon balls recovered from a Dutch East Indies shipwreck in the Celebe Islands. All four in very good condition. Circumference from 8″ to 10″. Almost have no weight.

  Item 19: Dutch-Portuguese signal cannon in its original carriage. Found in a small village in Menado Sulawesi Utara Indonesia. Cannon measures 18″ long with a large 1 1/4″ bore, trunnion length 1 3/4″ with a 1″ dia, trunnion. Length of carriage is 37″ and is missing its front leg. I have inspected the brackets and nails holding the trunnions and they look to be hand made and the cannon looks to have been imbedded in the same position for some years. This item would make a beautiful display item
WAS $3,000 + shipping

Item 20: Early Ming plate found on a shipwreck near Ternate Moluccas Indonesia. 10½”.
In excellent condition with some
crustacean on backside. c1850.
Stand not included.

Item 21: Mei-Ping Chinese flask. c1368. This large size is most unusual for this
type of early Mei-Ping flask which was
used in the early days by the Chinese to
store mercury. Measures 14″ high and was
found in the port of Tuban Indonesia on a
shipwreck. Stand not included.
Item 22: Early English seal “RHC 1815″ provenience, Richard Hall Clarke 1759-1821 was JP of Dridwell, Uffculme in Devon. Bottle was to commerate his return from the battle of Waterloo. 10 1/4″ mint condition


Item 23: Early 16th century bronze breech lock for a Breech Loading cannon. This is a shipwreck item and was found near Ternate Dutch East Indies Indonesia. This breech lock is marked just above the touch hole which is rare. Length 10 3/4″, front dia 2 1/4″, rear dia 3″, weight est, 18 lbs. Photos of mark available on request

  Item 24: Early English seal bottle dug in Johannesburg S.A “RHC 1815″ Provenience, Richard Hall Clarke 1759-1821 was JP of Dridwell, Uffculme in Devon. Bottle was to commerate his return back from the battle of Waterloo. Bottle measures 10″ high and has slight chip damage along outer top left hand side of seal.

Item 25: Early Dutch case sealed gins with rolled lips c1880. These two case gins were dug at Batavia Dutch East Indies.
Left A.H Avanhoboken.Co



 The Portugeus Shipwreck treasures

Info International Shipwreck treasures end

The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continius )






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(1)   The Indonesian Ocean Shipwreck Treasure Report

Indonesian Ocean Shipwreck Traesures


Ceribon Shipwreck Treasures

 Liao Bigger Vase and many unmotif cups and bowls

ceribon shipwreck coins

Ceribon shipwreck gold treasures 


 Posted Image

Late  Ming Duck symbol motif ewer, Chrysanthenum Bowl and unmotif ginger jars


Late Qing chrysnathenum plate,bowl,cover box also  Wanli grasshopper motif plate

Liao  Lotus flower pattern  plate


Ceribon shipwreck Liao Fish  moulded ewer pottery


ceribon shipwreck Liao  moulded Lotus flower motif bowl

Ceribon shipwreck Liao dynasti unmotif bowl


Ceribon shipwreck liao moulded chrysanthemum motif plate


 Teksing porcelains

Late qing fungus longevity motif  bowl

late ming chysanthenum geometric motif cup

The reseacher Dr Iwan Note

The Indonesian Ocean Shipwreck ceramic many found from era before Sung Dynasti  because the Yuan and Ming Ban to export their artwork to Indonesia due to the political situation at that era ( read Driwan CD-ROM  the Majapahit history collections) without Chinese symbolic Motif, except some from Wanli dynasti , late ming dan late qing  with symbolic motif.

The Indonesia report of Shipwreck not told the Chinese symbolic motif, they only told the problem to sold, and the price they get.

The reasecher hope all Indonesia Archeologist will read this studies report from South China Shipwreck  at the before chapter  and in the next chapter to ge the informations of the Chinese imperial ceramic artwork symbolic motif whicn tell everybody why they produced the artwork ceramic and relation with the Indonesian Tionghoa ethic tradition and religious.

After that they can write the most best informations to all Indonesian  and iinternational ethnic and thay will understand and can make more good relation with the Tionghoa ethnic  and living together with peace and get the propesrity, wealthy ,healthy and longevity life together.


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Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik

.Types and meaning of symbolic motifs discussed in the following section below only in English language

Tipe dan Arti motif simbolik dibahas dalam sub bab berikut dibawah ini hanya dalam bahasa Inggris

From This report   found the design mand meanng of motif siymbolic  of ceramic artwork which found  in shipwreck excavation in southeast asia which some can found in Indonesia, the info will compare with the artwork found in Indonesia

Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik





There is a thing confusedly formed,
Born before heaven and earth,
Silent and void
It stands alone and does not change
Goes round and does not weary,
It is capable of being the mother of the world.
I know not its name
So I style it “the way.”
Man models himself on earth,
Earth on heaven,
Heaven on the way,
And the way on that which is naturally so.

Ada hal yang terbentuk scara membingungkan,
Lahir sebelum langit dan bumi,
Diam dan batal
Ini berdiri sendiri dan tidak berubah
Berputar   dan tidak lelah,
Hal ini mampu menjadi ibu dari dunia.
Aku tidak tahu namanya
Jadi saya menggyakan  itu “jalan.”
Manusia  memeragakan dirinya di bumi,
Esurga diatas bumi bumi ,
jalan menuju Surga ,
Dan Jalan diatas  yang secara alami


Marshall Wen The focus of Taoism is the individual in nature rather than the individual in society. It holds that the goal of life for each individual is to find one’s own personal adjustment to the rhythm of the natural (and supernatural) world, to follow the Way (dao) of the universe. In many ways the opposite of rigid Confucian moralism, Taoism served many of its adherents as a complement to their ordered daily lives. A scholar on duty as an official would usually follow Confucian teachings but at leisure or in retirement might seek harmony with nature as a Taoist recluse.

Taoists stress the importance of harmonizing with nature by balancing yin and yang, and developing chi through meditation and disengagement. The human body is regarded as a source of chi-derived energy, which some people have the power to concentrate and congeal into an essence. Chi (also spelled ch’i or qi) is variously known as the “breath of heaven,” “mystical breath,” the “breath of nature” and the “quality of spirit”

In classic Taoist cosmology, matter and energy are thought to be governed by five basic movements. The strength and influence of these movements wax and wane over the course of a year; with wood peaking during spring, fire during summer, metal in autumn and water in winter. The remaining movement, earth, asserts its presence most powerfully during the periods before the start of each season.

Taoists advocate a life of simplicity, and encourage their followers to perform good deeds not bad ones, and seek inner peace through the cultivation of optimism, passivity, and inner calm. “The simple, natural life is the ideal one, the wise person seeks to conform to the slow gentle rhythm of the universe.”

Going with the flow rather and accepting things as they happen rather than pursuing power and wealth are important concepts in Taoism. Unlike the Confucians, who emphasize ritual, rigidity and surrender to authority, Taoists emphasize naturalness, personnel freedom and happiness. Taoists believe that sickness is often caused by sin and bad deeds that disrupt the healthy flow of chi. Taoism morality is based on the Three Treasures of Taoism: 1) be charitable; 2) be thrifty; 3) do not push ahead of others.

Confucian and Taoism basically contradict and are in conflict with one another. Confucianism, emphasizes achievement and propriety while Taoism stresses unseen strengths in being humble and in some cases, being perceived as average.

Good Websites and Sources: Religious Tolerance ; Stanford Education ; ; Taoist Texts Chinese Text Project ; Taoism ; Chad Hansen’s Chinese Philisophy ; Taoism Virtual Library ; Links in this Website: TAOISM ; ORGANIZED TAOISM


Taoist Texts

The Taoist canon is huge. Even in its reduced form it contains 1,120 volumes. The most important Taoist text is Tao De Jing (“The Way and Its Power”), a 5000-character synopsis of Taoist beliefs reportedly written by Lao-tzu shortly before he died. This short book was the inspiration for a primarily philosophical form of Taoism. Two other important Tao texts are the Tao The King (a series of wise sayings) and the Writings of Chuang Tzu (a discourse written by the Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu), which appeared a few centuries after Lao-tze’s reported death. These two texts are more mystical and religious in nature.

Chuang Tzu voiced ideas that later were made fashionable in the West by philosophers like Descartes and Sartre. In the forth century B.C., he wrote: “Once I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering here and there; in all ways a butterfly. I enjoyed my freedom as a butterfly, not knowing that I was Chou. Suddenly I awoke and was surprised to be myself again. Now, how can I tell whether I was man who dreamt that he was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly who dreams that he is a man?…This is called the interfusion of things.”

The oldest version of the Taoist canon, the Laozi, and a group of early Confucian texts, were found in a 2300-year-old tomb in Guodian, Jingmen, Hubei Province. Copied onto chop-stick-like bamboo slips in the 4th century B.C., these manuscripts have been described as China’s Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the texts were found by archaeologists after graverobbers were discovered looting the tomb. Others were found in antique shops around Hollywood Road in Hong Kong.

Concepts of Tao and Tê

Tao and tê are central concepts of Taoism. Tao (meaning “The Way”) has been described as “the divine way of the universe” and the “unproduced producer of all that is.” Tê is the power of Tao and the power to bring Tao into realization. It incorporates the belief that human interference is damaging.

Tao is invisible, unnameable, impalpable, unknowable and imitable. Taoists believe that nothing exists before something, inaction exists before action and rest exists before motion. Thus nothingness is the fundamental state and qualities inherent to this state include tranquility, silence and humility and associations with femanine yin rather than masculine yang. Motion and change are important concepts, because from the state of inaction every kind of action is possible, and is why the term “Way” (Tao) is used.

The famous Taoist philosopher Liu Ling said, “I take the whole universe as my house and my own room as my clothing…Tao invariably does nothing, yet there is nothing Tao can not be perceived with the five senses, thoughts or imagination and it can not be expressed in words. It can only perceived though mystical insight. Tao is the power behind nature and the force that creates order.” Taoists encourage people to organize their lives around Tao so they are in harmony with nature, heaven and the universe.

Tê is sort of like virtue viewed as a kind of force behind nothingness that provides a basis for nothing to exist thus unifies things that do exist. The notion of tê has been expressed in three different ways: 1) a philosophical “power” reached though reflection and insight that provides a method to organize one’s life; 2) a psychic power attained though yoga-like exercises that can be used for healing and psychic activities; and 3) a magical power associated with alchemy and the use of the power of the universe to perform magic, sorcery and other mystical deeds.

Chi, See Superstitions

Taoist Creation Theory

According to the Taoist creation theory (which is similar to the Chinese Creation Theory): “In the beginning of the universe there was only material-force consisting of yin and yang. This force moved and circulated, turning this way and that. As this movement gained speed, a mass of sediment was pushed together and, since there was no outlet for this, it consolidated to form the earth in the center of the universe…How was the first man created?…through the transformation of the material force. When the essence of yin and yang and the five agents are united, man’s corporeal form is established. This is what the Buddhist call production by transformation. There are many such productions today, such as lice.”

According to the Taoist text Tso Chuan, written in the early Han era: “Heaven and earth gave rise to yin and yang, wind and rain and dark and light, and from these are born the Five Elements [Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth]. Out of man’s use comes the Five Flavors [sour, salty, acrid, bitter, sweet], the Five Colors [green, yellow, scarlet, white, black] and the Five Modes [in music]. But when these are indulged to excess, confusion arises and in the end man loses sight of his original nature.”

The key to keeping the universe going was harmony. “In the order of their succession they gave birth to one another, while in a different order they overcome each other. Therefore in ruling, if one violates this order, there will be chaos, but if one follows it, all will be well governed.”

Reflections on Taoist Creation Theory

Many of the key concepts of Taoism are incorporated into the Taoist Creation Theory. One of the most important is summed up in the following passage: “The creator of things is not among things. If we examine the Great Beginning of antiquity we find that man was born out of nonbeing to assume form in being. Having form, he is governed by things. But he who can return to that form which he was born and become as though formless is called a “true man.” The true man is he who has never become separated from the Great Oneness. [Source: Huai-nan Tzu, reprinted in the People’s Almanac]

In his explanation of the universe Lao-tzu wrote:

There is a thing confusedly formed,
Born before heaven and earth,
Silent and void
It stands alone and does not change
Goes round and does not weary,
It is capable of being the mother of the world.
I know not its name
So I style it “the way.”
Man models himself on earth,
Earth on heaven,
Heaven on the way,
And the way on that which is naturally so.

Addressing the beginning of the universe, Taoist philosopher Kuo Hsiang wrote in A.D. 312, “If I say yin and yang came first…then since yin and yang are themselves, what came before them?…There must be another thing, and so ad infinitum. We must understand that things are what they are spontaneously and not caused by something else.”

When asked about the existence of God, Kuo Hsiang said, “But let us ask whether there is a Creator or not. If not, how can he create things? If there is he is capable of materializing all forms. Therefore, before we can talk about creation, we must understand the fact that all forms materialize by themselves. Hence everything creates itself without the direction of any Creator. Since things create themselves, the are unconditioned. This is the norm of the universe.”

Mountains of immortals

Taoist Beliefs and Nature

Rather than stressing human salvation with the help of a transcendent beings as is often the case with Western religions, Taoism stresses that meaning and energy are found in all natural things and that reality unfolds with its own rhyme and reason impervious to human intervention. Lao-tze wrote: “The real is originally there in things, and the sufficient is originally there in things. There’s nothing that is not real and nothing that is insufficient. Hence, the blade of grass and the pillar, the leper and the ravishing beauty, the noble, the sniveling, the disingenuous, the strange—in Tao they all move as one and the same.”

Unlike Confucianism and traditional Western religions, which portrays nature as something evil or immortal which man has to overcome, Taoism encourages its followers to act in “harmony with the order of nature” and view life as a “series of transformations, procreation and re-creations.” In Taoist thought the path to heaven is through nature and the terms “heaven” and “nature” are often used interchangeably.

In pursuit of naturalism some Taoists in the old days let their hair grow as long as possible, refused to talk and expressed themselves by whistling. Others took off their clothes and lay on the ground and drank large amounts of wine, in part to thumb their noses at Confucian manners and codes Some of China’s greatest poets and artists tapped into this interpretation of Taoism.

Taoism often argues against human action, saying it is better to do nothing and let nature take its course than do something that could have terrible, unforseen consequences.

Taoism, Life, Death and the Afterlife

At the beginning of time, some Taoists believe, nine vapors were created. The purest vapors formed the heavens and the coarser ones made up the human body. Life, they assert, begins when one of these primordial vapors enters the body at birth and mixes with essence to form spirit. Death occurs when the vapor and essence go their separate ways once again. Taoists believe that immortality is possible if essence and vapor can be kept together. [“World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder, Facts on File Publications, New York]

Some Taoist believe the dead are sent to one of the Buddhist paradises or end up ina mountain occupied by the immortals. The concept of a hell is largely absent. Taoists have traditionally believed in the existence of earthly paradises such as the blessed islands of Peng-lai, Ying-chou and Fusang that exist off the coast of Shandong and are said to have been reached by the immortals. On these islands everyone is immortal; all the birds and animals are pure white; and palaces are made of gold and silver.

Another paradise, in the Kunlun mountain in western China, is presided over by the “Western Royal Mother,” a diety with a panther tail, tiger teats and unruly hair. The Taoist paradises are characterized as places where everyone lives in harmony; marriage and poor treatment of women are unknown; and there are no princes or feudal lords.

When Chuang Tzu was asked by a friend why he was singing and drumming and not grieving after his wife died, he said: “When she died, how could I help being affected? But as I think the matter over, I realize that originally she had no life and not only no life, she had no form; not only no form, she had no material force (ch’i). In the limbo of existence and non-existence, there was transformation and the material force was evolved. The material force was transformed to be form, form was transformed to become life, and now birth has transformed to become death. This is like the rotation of the four seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter. Now she lies asleep in the great house [the universe]. For me to go about weeping and wailing would be to show my ignorance of destiny. Therefore I desist.”


Taoism and Immortality

Taoist immortal Immortality is an important idea in Taoism. Because all nature is united by Tao, Taoists believe, immortality can be attained. Taoists also believe that immortality it not something that can be achieved by separating oneself from nature, like with a soul, but rather is something achieved by directing natural forces through the body, creating more durable body materials, using techniques such as breathing, focusing sexual energy and alchemy.

The immortality referred to in Taoism is physical immortality. The highest goal of many devotees of Taoism is the attainment of immortality through a total channeling of energies to reach harmony with Tao. Immortality can be viewed literally or as a symbol of spiritual liberation. The idea of a spiritual immortality like that of Christianity was alien to the Chinese until Buddhism was introduced to China.

Numerous Taoist prayers are dedicated to the spirits of immortality. Taoist painters have traditionally chosen immortally as one of their central themes. Famous Taoist painting dealing with immortality include Immortal Ascending on a Dragon, Riding a Dragon, Fungus of Immortality, Picking Herbs, and Preparing Elixirs.

In the old days, many Taoists spent their whole lives looking for elixirs of immortality. The Emperor Shi went through great lengths to try and achieve immortality. See History

Methods for Achieving Immortality

Methods to achieve immortality fall into two basic categories: 1) religious—prayers, moral conduct, rituals and observances of commandments; and 2) physical—diets, medicines, breathing methods, chemicals and exercises. Living alone in a cave like hermits combined the two and was often see as the ideal.

The basic idea behind the Taoist diet is to nourish the body and deny food to the “three worms”—disease, old age, and death. Immortality can be achieved, Taoists have traditionally believed, by following this diet, by nourishing the enigmatic “embryonic body” force within the body and by avoiding ejaculation during sex which preserves the life-giving semen which in turn mixes with breath and nourishes the body and the brain.

The aim of the Taoist diet is to change the composition of the body from flesh into durable airy material associated with long life. In the old days, this diet often included things like jade, gold, cinnabar (ore from mercury is derived) and certain flowers. Special elixirs sometimes contained arsenic and mercury. The inventors of many potions died prematurely from taking their attempts to prolong their life.

Many Taoist believed that the best material for prolonging life was air and aimed to take in a variety of different kinds of air—from the four season, from the sea and from the mountains—often accompanied by breathing exercises. “Air eating” was believed to make people able to ride the clouds and use dragons for horses. Among the other methods that were tried were throwing oneself into a fire and attempting to achieve immortality as a flame.

A great deal of time and energy was put into concocting elixirs of immortality and finding ingredients for them. One passage on the subject from an ancient text read: “For transforming gold, melting jade, using talismans, and preparing water, efficacious recipes and marvelous formulas exist by thousands and tens of thousands, The best are said to produce feathers for flying to heaven; the next best are said to dissipate calamity and exterminate disaster”

Taoist Deities

Pure Taoism doesn’t dwell on an all-knowing, all-powerful God, or even nature spirits, rather it deals with “nonbeing,” the “unity of experience,” and “oneness” with chi. Taoism’s association with gods is mainly the result of its associations with Chinese folk religions.

There are thousands of Taoist gods. Some are holy men. Others occupy rivers, streams and mountains. Most have individual responsibilities and specific powers and abilities to grant wishes in particular areas of expertise. Taoists who need something pray to the appropriate deity in special shrines called departments or halls in Taoist temples.

Most Taoist gods are associated with a spot in the external world and a corresponding spot on the inside of man and often have a role in preventing disease. The position of Taoist deities in a large pantheon often mirrors those of secular officials in a bureaucracy. Many Chinese cities to this day have a temple dedicated to the City God, the heavenly equivalent of a mayor.

Important Taoist Deities and Immortals

God of Wealth Most Taoist gods originated as local folk gods. Important ones include Shou Hsing (God of Longevity), Fu Hsing (God of Happiness), Lu Hsing (God of High Rank), Tsai She (God of Wealth), Pao Sheng (God of Medicine), Ju Lai Of (God of Luck), Chu Sheng Niang (Goddess of Birth and Fertility), Kuan Kung (God of War), and a variety of local underworld magistrates. Tsao Chun (the Kitchen God) controls each persons lifespan and destiny. He and his wife observe everybody during the year and issue reports to the Jade Emperor at New Year.

Goddesses, female saints, manifestations of yin play an important role in Taoism. The five legendary emperors, including the great Yellow Emperor, are given prominent roles too. At the top of heap is the all powerful “Greatest One”—described as the “Celestial Venerable of the Mysterious Origin” of the Taoist trinity. The other two members of the trinity are the “August Ruler of the Tao” and the “August Old Ruler.” Lao-tze is regarded as the incarnation of the “August Old Ruler.”

The Eight Immortals are key figures in Taoism. They include 1) Chung Li Chu, a figure from the Han dynasty (202 B.C. to A.D. 220), who helped feed thousands of people; 2) Lun Tung-pin, an official who traveled widely and helped the poor and exorcized evil demons; 3) Lan Tsa-ho, a poet and singer who sang about life and giving money to the poor; 4) Tsao Kuo-chi; 5) The aforementioned Western Royal Mother, or Heavenly Empress who possessed the peach of immortality, which all the immortals need to retain their immortality.

Many Taoist gods have bushy eyebrows. The Sun, the Moon, and the stars in the Great Bear, are also important.

Hermits and Chinese Religion

Demon and victim
in a Taoist Temple Hermits have lived in the mountains since ancient times. There are Taoist and Buddhist ones as well as one ones with closer affiliations to traditional Chinese folk religion. But they are not limited to Taoists or Buddhists. Poets, political figures and average people have also been hermits. [Source: Jiang Yuxia, Global Times, February 17, 2011]

Hermits are “unique images that ancient Chinese culture has nurtured. [They] represent Chinese people’s pursuit of an ideal way of life,” the writer Zhou Yu told the Global Times. “Their lifestyle is completely self-supporting, without demanding too much from the outside world….For hermits, to live a secluded life and practice Daoism or Buddhism is not solely about ‘benevolence,’ but living a real, simple life…What they do is to make their heart bright, clear and natural,” explained Zhou, who is also editor of Wendao (Seeking Way), a magazine dedicated to promoting traditional Chinese culture. [Ibid]

In recent years, more and more people have become interested in the exclusive life led by the hermits in Zhongnan Mountain, especially following the publication of books such as Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits by American author and translator Bill Porter in 1993. [Ibid]

Attraction of the Hermit Lifestyle and Zhongnan Mountain

Jiang Yuxia wrote in the Global Times: “Cherishing his reverence and curiosity for Chinese hermits, writer Zhou Yu was eager to change his fast-paced urban life. He thus embarked on a journey, in the spring of 2010, to seek hermits in the legendary Zhongnan Mountain, one of the birthplaces of Taoism, in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Also known as Taiyi or Difei Mountain, Zhongnan Mountain is a section of the Qinling Mountains with the reputation of “Fairyland,” “the first paradise under heaven” and a home to hermits for over 3,000 years. Legend has it that Taoism founder Laozipreached scriptures and nurtured the idea for his classic work Tao the Ching here. [Source: Jiang Yuxia, Global Times, February 17, 2011]

“Everyone wishes that he or she has the chance to get to know about his or her own life again and the lifestyle of hermits provides us another picture. . . When they realize that they need to make adjustments to their lives, they go to the mountains to seek them,” Zhou said. However, he added, real hermits don’t have to live in mountains. “If you don’t have peace and quiet in your heart, you cannot have tranquility even if you live deep in the mountains…Start with the simplest practice: To get to know your needs and desires, and find a proper position for yourself. If you can do that, you can find peace and quiet even if you live in the city.”

Taoist Hermit

Demon in a Taoist Temple After traveling to Zhongan Mountain Zhou came across “Hermit Ming,” who has resided in a thatched valley cottage for a decade, living an ascetic and self-sufficient life. Although Ming does not meet the typical image of ancient hermits, his unique lifestyle, both traditional and modern, and charisma aroused Zhou’s interest enough for him to stay and turn the story of his solitary life into his latest book, Bai Yun Shen Chu (“Deep in the Clouds”). [Source: Jiang Yuxia, Global Times, February 17, 2011]

“Hermit Ming lives in the mountain not only to practice Taoism, but to have a place where he can live a life in which he can face disputes peacefully,” Zhou wrote in the book. “Only in this way are his mind and body able to grow like trees and flowers to show their natural side.” Ming’s daily routine, according to Jiang, consists of: “an early morning start to do chores including hoeing weeds, tilling land and picking herbs; two meals a day, snack and tea at lunchtime, dinner at four; then a walk before settling down to read sutras or do other chores.” By sunset he returned home, “falling asleep to the sounds of springs, wind and birds.” [Ibid]

“Born into a wealthy South China family of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners for generations,” Jiang wrote, “ Ming was beset with strict rules, complex relationships and feuds among family members from a young age. After witnessing a series of mishaps and the death of his mother at eight, Ming left his family at 17 and began his long-cherished dream of traveling around the country to seek answers to the many questions that had bothered him, including life and death. With only an aluminum mug and two lighters, Ming traveled all the way to Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Hubei and other provinces before he finally settled down at Zhongnan Mountain.” [Ibid]

“In the valley, he built his own cottage with help from other hermits and villagers living at the foot of the mountain, spending time growing vegetables, practicing Taosim and doing his chores. Unlike those secluded hermits recorded in old books, Ming is unconventional: He does not reject the outside world or its civilization. He has a telephone at his place to keep contact with other hermit friends while they travel around and is skilled at riding a motorbike. He has shared quarters with a female hermit for a decade. Ming has explored as far as Nepal to have a look of the outside world and is friendly to unexpected, curious visitors.” [Ibid]

According to Ming, “the major reason that we have too many agonies is because we receive too much information and we are not good at dealing with it properly. Then you become unhappy… When you live in the mountain, you have time to think about problems.” Ming’s lifestyle has also evoked Zhou to ponder modern urban life and even seek a way out. “In our life, most of the time we are asking for things from others to satisfy our endless demands. Hermits, however, are the other way round,” Zhou said. “I found the possibility of a [new] lifestyle. When we feel bothered, we begin to examine our lives and ask ourselves if there are chances to change it. To some extend, many hermits in Zhongnan Mountain can be called seekers of a new lifestyle.”

Image Sources: 1) Marshall Wen, Chicago Art Museum; 2) Texts, Daoist Center; 3) Mountains of Immortals, Chicago Art Museum; 4) Immotra, University of Washington; 5) God of Wealth. Brooklyn College; Asia Obscura ;

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Motif Tao and The collections have found will put at the Discuss chapter.


The Chinese Imperial Ceramic Artwork Found In Indonesia ( Continiu)






Dr Iwan Suwandy , MHA

Private Limited E-Book In CD-Rom Edition

Special For Senior Reseacher And Collectors

Copyright @ 2013

THIS THE SAMPLE OF Dr Iwan Limited E-Book In CD-Rom with unedited non complete info illustration, the complete CD-Rom exist but only for premium member please subscribe via comment with your email address and private information same as  your ID-Card


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Motif symbolic type and meaning

Type dan Arti Motif Simbolik


Based on symbolic motifs by William CSA (1932)

Berdasarkan jenis motif symbol menurut William C.S.A(1932) 



Confucius was a philosopher in ancient China, about 500 BC. His main idea was that people could achieve peace by doing their duty, and cooperating with society. If people rebelled, and everyone tried to do his or her own thing, then the world would be full of fighting and unhappiness.


So people should obey the law, and do what the emperor and government officials told them to do. Also, people should do their duty to their parents and take good care of their children, and people should do their duty to their ancestors and to the gods.

At the same time, the government should do its duty to the people, and not abuse them or ask too much of them. The emperor should be cooperative and helpful to the people, just as the people were helpful and cooperative to him.

Because Confucius wanted to make government officials behave better, the Chinese government did not like him while he was alive. But after Confucius died, later emperors of China did use many of his ideas. Of course they mainly liked the idea that people should obey the government, and they weren’t so interested in the idea that the government should help the people!

Here’s an example of a story people told about Confucius:

Zi Lu, they say, asked Confucius, “When we hear a good idea, should we start to do it right away?” Confucius told him no. “First, you should always ask someone with more experience.” Later on, Ran You asked Confucius the same question. But this time Confucius said, “Yes, of course you should do it right away.” There was another student who had heard both of these conversations and was very confused. He asked Confucius why he had answered the same question in two different ways?
“Ran You has a hard time making a decision,” Confucius said. “So I encouraged him to be bolder. Zi Lu sometimes decides things too quickly. So I reminded him to be careful. Naturally different people should get different answers

Kuan Ti kuan kong guan yu


Guan Yu (died 219),[1][2] style name Yunchang, was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han Dynasty of China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period, of which Liu Bei was the first emperor.[3]

As one of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia, Guan’s true life stories have largely given way to fictionalised ones, most of which are found in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms or passed down the generations, in which his deeds and moral qualities have been lionised. Guan is respected as an epitome of loyalty and righteousness.

Guan was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still worshipped by many Chinese people today, especially in southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and among many overseas Chinese communities. He is a figure in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to Guan are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants. He is often reverently called Guan Gong (Lord Guan) and Guan Di (Emperor Guan).[4] His hometown Yuncheng has also named its airport after him.



Historical sources on Guan Yu’s life[edit]

The authoritative historical source on Guan Yu’s life is the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), written by Chen Shou in the third century CE. During the fifth century, Pei Songzhi annotated the Sanguozhi by incorporating information from other sources to Chen Shou’s original work and adding his personal commentary. Some alternative texts used in the annotations to Guan Yu’s biography include: Shu Ji (蜀記; Records of Shu), by Wang Yin (王隱); Wei Shu (魏書; Book of Wei), by Wang Shen (王沈), Xun Yi (荀顗) and Ruan Ji; Jiang Biao Zhuan (江表傳), by Yu Pu (虞溥); Fu Zi (傅子), by Fu Xuan; Dianlue (典略), by Yu Huan; Wu Li (吳歷; History of Wu), by Hu Chong (胡沖); Chronicles of Huayang, by Chang Qu.

Physical appearance[edit]

No descriptions of Guan Yu’s physical appearance exist in historical records, but his beard was mentioned in the Sanguozhi. Traditionally, he is portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard. The idea of his red face may have derived from a later description of him in the first chapter of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where the following passage appears:

Xuande took a glance at the man, who stood at a height of nine chi,[notes 1][5] and had a two chi[notes 2] long beard; his face was of the colour of a zao,[notes 3] with red lips; his eyes were like that of a phoenix’s,[notes 4] and his eyebrows resembled silkworms.[notes 5] He had a dignified aura and looked quite majestic.

Alternatively, the idea of his red face could have been borrowed from opera representation, where red faces depict loyalty and righteousness.[citation needed] Supposedly, Guan Yu’s weapon was a guan dao named Green Dragon Crescent Blade, which resembled a halberd and was said to weigh 82 catties (about 18.25 kg or 40 lbs). A wooden replica can be found today in the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou County, Shanxi. He traditionally dons a green robe over his body armour, as depicted in illustrations of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

A statue of Guan Yu in Zhuge Liang‘s temple in Chengdu, Sichuan.

Early career[edit]

Guan Yu was a native of Xie (解), Hedong commandery (河東郡), which is in present-day Yuncheng, Shanxi. His original style name was “Changsheng” (長生).[Sanguozhi 1] He was very interested in the Zuo Zhuan and could fluently recite lines from the book.[Sanguozhi zhu 1] He fled from his hometown after committing a serious crime and arrived in Zhuo commandery (涿郡; present-day Zhuozhou, Hebei). When the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in the 180s, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei joined a volunteer militia formed by Liu Bei, and they assisted a Colonel (校尉) Zou Jing in suppressing the revolt.[Sanguozhi 2][Sanguozhi others 1]

When Liu Bei was appointed as the Chancellor (相) of Pingyuan (平原), Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were appointed as “Majors of Separate Command” (别部司马) and they commanded detachments of soldiers under Liu. The three of them shared a brotherly-like relationship, to the point of sharing the same room. Zhang Fei and Guan Yu also stood guard beside Liu Bei when he sat down at meetings. They followed him on his exploits and protected him from danger.[Sanguozhi 3]

Short service under Cao Cao[edit]


Liu Bei and his men followed Cao Cao back to the imperial capital Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan) after their victory over Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi in 198. About a year later, in 199, Liu Bei and his followers escaped from Xu on the pretext of helping Cao Cao lead an army to attack Yuan Shu. Liu Bei went to Xu Province, killed its Inspector (刺史) Che Zhou (車冑), and seized control of the province. He moved to Xiaopei (小沛; present-day Pei County, Xuzhou, Jiangsu) and left Guan Yu in charge of the provincial capital Xiapi (下邳; present-day Pizhou, Xuzhou, Jiangsu).[Sanguozhi 4][Sanguozhi others 2][Sanguozhi zhu 2]

In 200, Cao Cao led an eastern campaign against Liu Bei, defeated the latter in battle, and retook Xu Province. Liu Bei fled to northern China and found refuge under Cao Cao’s rival Yuan Shao. Guan Yu was captured by Cao Cao’s forces and brought back to Xu. Cao Cao treated Guan Yu respectfully and asked Emperor Xian to appoint Guan as a Lieutenant-General (偏將軍).[Sanguozhi 5][Sanguozhi others 3]

Battle of Boma[edit]

Main article: Battle of Boma

Later that year, Yuan Shao sent his general Yan Liang to lead an army to attack Cao Cao’s garrison at Boma (白馬; or Baima), which was defended by Liu Yan (劉延). Cao Cao sent Zhang Liao and Guan Yu to lead a vanguard force to resist the enemy. In the midst of battle, Guan Yu recognised Yan Liang’s parasol so he charged towards the latter, decapitated him and returned with Yan’s head. Yuan Shao’s men were unable to stop him. The siege on Boma was lifted. On Cao Cao’s recommendation, Emperor Xian conferred the title of “Marquis[notes 6] of Hanshou Village” (漢壽亭侯) on Guan Yu.[Sanguozhi 6]

Leaving Cao Cao[edit]

Cao Cao admired Guan Yu’s character, but he also sensed that Guan had no intention of serving under him for long. He told Zhang Liao, “Why don’t you make use of your friendship with Guan Yu to find out his objective?” When Zhang Liao asked Guan Yu, the latter replied, “I’m aware that Lord Cao treats me very generously. However, I’ve also received much favours from General Liu and I’ve sworn to follow him until I die. I cannot break my oath. I’ll leave eventually, so you should help me convey my message to Lord Cao.” Zhang Liao did so, and Cao Cao was further impressed with Guan Yu.[Sanguozhi 7] The Fu Zi gave a slightly different account of this incident. It stated that Zhang Liao had a dilemma on whether to convey Guan Yu’s message to Cao Cao or not: if he did, Cao Cao might execute Guan Yu; if he did not, he would be failing in his service to Cao Cao. He sighed, “Lord Cao is my superior and is like a father to me; Guan Yu is like a brother to me.” He eventually made his decision to tell Cao Cao. Cao Cao said, “A subject who serves a lord but does not forget his origins is truly a man of righteousness. When do you think he will leave?” Zhang Liao replied, “Guan Yu has received favours from Your Excellency. He’ll most probably leave after he has repaid your kindness.”[Sanguozhi zhu 3]

After Guan Yu slew Yan Liang and lifted the siege on Boma, Cao Cao knew that he would leave, so he presented Guan with even heavier rewards. Guan Yu sealed up all the gifts he received from Cao Cao, wrote a farewell letter to the latter, and headed towards Yuan Shao’s territory to reunite with Liu Bei. Cao Cao’s subordinates wanted to pursue Guan Yu, but Cao stopped them and said, “He’s just doing his duty to his lord. There’s no need to pursue him.”[Sanguozhi 8]

Pei Songzhi commented on this as follows: “Cao Cao admired Guan Yu’s character even though he knew that the latter would not remain under him. He did not send his men to pursue Guan Yu when the latter left, so as to allow Guan to fulfil his loyalty. If he did not possess the magnanimity of an overlord, how would he have allowed this to happen? This was a showcase of Cao Cao’s goodness.”[Sanguozhi zhu 4]

Returning to Liu Bei[edit]

When Cao Cao and Yuan Shao clashed at the Battle of Guandu in 200, Yuan sent Liu Bei to contact Liu Pi, a Yellow Turban rebel chief in Runan (汝南; present-day Runan County, Zhumadian, Henan), and assist Liu Pi in attacking the imperial capital Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan) while Cao was away at Guandu. Guan Yu reunited with Liu Bei around this time. Liu Bei and Liu Pi were defeated by Cao Cao’s general Cao Ren, after which Liu Bei returned to Yuan Shao. Liu Bei secretly planned to leave Yuan Shao, so he pretended to persuade Yuan to ally with Liu Biao, the Governor (牧) of Jing Province. Yuan Shao sent Liu Bei to contact another rebel leader, Gong Du, in Runan, where they gathered a few thousand soldiers. Cao Cao turned back and attacked Runan after scoring a decisive victory over Yuan Shao at Guandu, and he defeated Liu Bei in Runan. Liu Bei fled south and found shelter under Liu Biao, who put him in charge of Xinye (新野; present-day Xinye County, Nanyang, Henan) at the northern border of Jing Province. Guan Yu followed Liu Bei to Xinye.[Sanguozhi others 4][Sanguozhi 9]

Battle of Red Cliffs and after[edit]

Liu Biao died in 208 and was succeeded by his younger son, Liu Cong, who surrendered Jing Province to Cao Cao when the latter started a campaign that year with the aim of wiping out opposing forces in southern China. Liu Bei evacuated Xinye together with his followers and they headed towards Xiakou (夏口; in present-day Wuhan, Hubei), which was guarded by Liu Biao’s elder son Liu Qi and was independent of Cao Cao’s control. Along the journey, Liu Bei divided his party into two groups – one led by Guan Yu which would sail along the river towards Jiangling (江陵; in present-day Jingzhou, Hubei); another led by Liu Bei which would travel on land. Cao Cao sent 5,000 elite cavalry to pursue Liu Bei and they caught up with him at Changban (長坂), Dangyang (當陽), igniting the Battle of Changban. Liu Bei managed to escape from the pursuers and reach Han Ford (漢津), where he was picked up by Guan Yu’s fleet, and they sailed to Xiakou together.[Sanguozhi others 5][Sanguozhi 10]

In 208, Liu Bei allied with Sun Quan and they defeated Cao Cao at the decisive Battle of Red Cliffs. Cao Cao retreated north after his defeat and left Cao Ren behind to defend Jing Province. In the Battle of Jiangling (a follow-up to Red Cliffs), Guan Yu was sent to block Cao Ren’s supply lines via infiltration, so he led a special force to attack Xiangyang, which was guarded by Cao Cao’s general Yue Jin. Yue Jin defeated Guan Yu and Su Fei (蘇非) and drove them away.[Sanguozhi others 6] After seizing and pacifying the various commanderies in southern Jing Province, Liu Bei appointed Guan Yu as the Administrator (太守) of Xiangyang and “General Who Rocks Bandits” (盪寇將軍), and ordered him to garrison at the north of the Yangtze River.[Sanguozhi 11]

Guan Yu later engaged Yue Jin and Wen Ping at Xunkou (尋口) and lost. Wen Ping attacked Guan Yu’s equipage and supplies at Han Ford (漢津) and burnt his boats at Jingcheng (荊城).[Sanguozhi others 7]

Guarding Jing Province[edit]

Between 212 and 215, Liu Bei started a campaign to seize control of Yi Province (益州; covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from the provincial governor Liu Zhang. Most of Liu Bei’s subordinates participated in the campaign, while Guan Yu was ordered to remain behind to guard Liu’s territories in Jing Province and oversee its affairs.[Sanguozhi 12]

Sun-Liu territorial dispute[edit]

During that period of time, tensions were rising at the border between Liu Bei and Sun Quan‘s domains in Jing Province as the two allies became more suspicious of each other. After Liu Bei had taken over Yi Province, Sun Quan asked him for three commanderies in southern Jing Province but Liu refused. Sun Quan then sent his general Lü Meng to seize the three commanderies by force. In response, Liu Bei ordered Guan Yu to lead troops to stop Lü Meng,[Sanguozhi others 8] but Guan was deterred by Gan Ning from crossing the shallows near Yiyang (益陽) to confront Sun Quan’s forces. The shallows were thus named ‘Guan Yu’s Shallows‘ (關羽瀨).[Sanguozhi others 9] Lu Su (the chief commander of Sun Quan’s forces in Jing Province) later held talks with Guan Yu to discuss and settle the problem. Liu Bei eventually agreed to divide Jing Province between his and Sun Quan’s domains along the Xiang River. Both sides then withdrew their forces.[Sanguozhi others 10]

Battle of Fancheng[edit]

Main article: Battle of Fancheng

Guan Yu captures Pang De, as depicted in a Ming Dynasty painting by Shang Xi, c. 1430.

In 219, Liu Bei emerged victorious in the Hanzhong Campaign against Cao Cao, after which he declared himself “King of Hanzhong” (漢中王). He appointed Guan Yu as “General of the Vanguard” (前將軍) and bestowed upon him a ceremonial axe. In the same year, Guan Yu led his forces to attack Cao Ren at Fan (樊; or Fancheng, in present-day Fancheng District, Xiangyang, Hubei) and besieged the city. Cao Cao sent Yu Jin to lead reinforcements to help Cao Ren. It was in autumn and there were heavy showers, so the Han River overflowed. Yu Jin’s seven armies were destroyed in the flood. Yu Jin surrendered to Guan Yu while his subordinate Pang De refused and was executed by Guan. The bandits led by Liang Jia (梁郟) and Lu Hun (陸渾) received official seals from Guan Yu, so they submitted to him and became his followers. Guan Yu’s fame spread throughout China.[Sanguozhi 13]

The Shu Ji recorded that before Guan Yu embarked on the Fancheng campaign, he dreamt about a boar biting his foot. He told his son Guan Ping, “I’m becoming weaker this year. I may not be able to return.”[Sanguozhi zhu 5]

Belittling Sun Quan[edit]

After Yu Jin’s defeat, Cao Cao contemplated relocating the imperial capital from Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan) to another place to avoid Guan Yu, but Sima Yi and Jiang Ji told him that Sun Quan would become restless when he heard of Guan Yu’s victory. They suggested to Cao Cao to ally with Sun Quan and enlist his help in hindering Guan Yu’s advances, and in return, Cao Cao would recognise the legitimacy of Sun Quan’s claim over the territories in Jiangdong. In this way, the siege on Fancheng would automatically be lifted. Cao Cao heeded their suggestion. Previously, Sun Quan had sent a messenger to meet Guan Yu and propose a marriage between his son and Guan’s daughter. However, Guan Yu not only rejected the proposal, but also scolded and humiliated the messenger. Sun Quan was enraged.[Sanguozhi 14]

Encounter with Xu Huang[edit]

Cao Cao later sent Xu Huang to lead another army to relief Cao Ren at Fancheng. Xu Huang broke Guan Yu’s encirclement and routed Guan’s forces on the battlefield, thus lifting the siege on Fancheng.[Sanguozhi others 11] Guan Yu withdrew his forces after seeing that he could not overcome the enemy.[Sanguozhi 15] The Shu Ji recorded an incident about Xu Huang meeting Guan Yu on the battlefield. Xu Huang had a close friendship with Guan Yu. They often chatted about other things apart from military affairs. When they met again at Fancheng, Xu Huang gave an order to his men, “Whoever manages to take Guan Yunchang’s head will be rewarded with 1,000 jin of gold.” Guan Yu was shocked and he asked Xu Huang, “Brother, what are you talking about?” Xu Huang replied, “This is an affair of the state.”[Sanguozhi zhu 6]

Losing Jing Province[edit]

After Guan Yu defeated and captured Yu Jin at Fan (樊; or Fancheng), his army lacked food supplies so he seized grain from one of Sun Quan‘s granaries at Xiang Pass (湘關). By then, Sun Quan had secretly agreed to the alliance with Cao Cao, and had sent his general Lü Meng and others to lead a vanguard force to invade Jing Province while he followed behind with another army. At Xunyang (尋陽), Lü Meng ordered his troops to hide in vessels disguised as civilian and merchant ships and they sailed towards Jing Province. Along the way, Lü Meng employed infiltration tactics to disable the watchtowers set up by Guan Yu along the river, so Guan was totally unaware of the invasion.[Sanguozhi others 12]

When Guan Yu embarked on the Fancheng campaign, he left Mi Fang and Shi Ren behind to defend his key bases in Jing Province — Nan commandery (南郡) and Gong’an (公安). Guan Yu had all along viewed them with contempt. During the campaign, Mi Fang and Shi Ren sent insufficient supplies to Guan Yu’s army at the frontline, and Guan remarked, “I’ll deal with them when I come back.” Mi Fang and Shi Ren felt uneasy about this. When Sun Quan invaded Jing Province, Lü Meng showed understanding towards Mi Fang and successfully induced the latter into surrendering while Yu Fan also persuaded Shi Ren to give up resistance. Liu Bei’s territories in Jing Province fell under Sun Quan’s control after the surrenders of Mi Fang and Shi Ren.[Sanguozhi 16]

Dubious account from the Dianlue[edit]

An annotation from the Dianlue in Guan Yu’s biography mentioned:

When Guan Yu was besieging Fancheng, Sun Quan sent a messenger to Guan to offer aid but he also instructed the messenger to slowly travel there. He then sent a registrar (主簿) ahead to meet Guan Yu first. Guan Yu was unhappy that Sun Quan’s offer came late because he had already captured Yu Jin by then. He scolded the messenger, “You raccoon dogs dare to behave like this! If I can conquer Fancheng, what makes you think I can’t destroy you?” When Sun Quan heard Guan Yu’s reply, he knew that Guan was disparaging him, but he wrote a letter to Guan and pretended to apologise and offer to allow Guan to pass through his territory freely.[Sanguozhi zhu 7]

Pei Songzhi commented on the Dianlue account as follows:

Although Liu Bei and Sun Quan appeared to get along harmoniously, they were actually distrustful of each other. When Sun Quan later attacked Guan Yu, he despatched his forces secretly, as mentioned in Lü Meng’s biography: ‘[…] elite soldiers hid in vessels disguised as civilian and merchant ships.’ Based on this reasoning, even if Guan Yu did not seek help from Sun Quan, the latter would not mention anything about granting Guan free passage in his territory. If they genuinely wished to help each other, why would they conceal their movements from each other?[Sanguozhi zhu 8]


By the time Guan Yu retreated from Fancheng, Sun Quan‘s forces had occupied Jiangling (江陵) and captured the families of Guan’s soldiers. Lü Meng ordered his troops to treat the civilians well and ensure that they were not harmed.[notes 7] Most of Guan Yu’s soldiers lost their fighting spirit and deserted and went back to Jing Province to reunite with their families. Guan Yu knew that he had been isolated so he withdrew to Maicheng (麥城; present-day Maicheng Village, Lianghe Town, Dangyang, Hubei) and headed west to Zhang District (漳鄉), where his remaining men deserted him and surrendered to the enemy. Sun Quan sent Zhu Ran and Pan Zhang to block Guan Yu’s retreat route. Guan Yu, along with his son Guan Ping and subordinate Zhao Lei, were captured alive by Pan Zhang’s deputy Ma Zhong in an ambush. Guan Yu and Guan Ping were later executed by Sun Quan’s forces in Linju (臨沮; in present-day Nanzhang County, Xiangyang, Hubei).[Sanguozhi 17][Sanguozhi others 13][Sanguozhi others 14]

Alternate account from the Shu Ji[edit]

The Shu Ji mentioned that Sun Quan initially wanted to keep Guan Yu alive in the hope of using Guan to help him counter Liu Bei and Cao Cao. However, his followers advised him against doing so, saying, “A wolf should not be kept as a pet as it will bring harm to the keeper. Cao Cao made a mistake when he refused to kill Guan Yu and landed himself in deep trouble, to the point of considering relocating the capital to another place. How can Guan Yu be allowed to live?” Sun Quan then ordered Guan Yu’s execution.[Sanguozhi zhu 9]

Pei Songzhi disputed this account, as he wrote:

According to the Wu Shu (吳書; Book of Wu, by Wei Zhao), when Sun Quan sent Pan Zhang to block Guan Yu’s retreat route, Guan was executed immediately after he was captured. Linju was about 200-300 li away from Jiangling, so how was it possible that Guan Yu was kept alive while Sun Quan and his subjects discussed whether to kill him or not? The claim that ‘Sun Quan wanted to keep Guan Yu alive for the purpose of using him to counter Liu Bei and Cao Cao’ does not make sense. It was probably used to silence wise persons.[Sanguozhi zhu 10]

Posthumous honours[edit]

Sun Quan sent Guan Yu’s head to Cao Cao, who arranged a noble’s funeral for Guan and had the head properly buried with full honours.[Sanguozhi zhu 11] In 260, Liu Shan granted Guan Yu the posthumous title of “Marquis Zhuangmou” (壯繆侯),[Sanguozhi 18][Sanguozhi others 15] which implied that Guan did not live up to his name in terms of his ability.[6]


Request to take Qin Yilu’s wife[edit]

See also: Qin Yilu

During the Battle of Xiapi in late 198, when the allied forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei fought against Lü Bu, Guan Yu made a request to Cao Cao, asking to marry Qin Yilu‘s wife Lady Du (杜氏) after they had achieved victory. Cao Cao agreed, and Guan Yu repeatedly reminded Cao Cao about his promise before the battle was won. After Lü Bu’s defeat and death, Cao Cao was curious about why Guan Yu wanted Lady Du so badly and he guessed that she must be very beautiful, so he had her brought to him. Cao Cao broke his promise to Guan Yu, as he took Lady Du as his concubine and adopted her son Qin Lang (whom she had with Qin Yilu).[Sanguozhi zhu 12][Sanguozhi zhu 13]

Advice to Liu Bei[edit]

The Shu Ji recorded an incident as follows:

When Liu Bei was in the imperial capital Xu, he once attended a hunting expedition together with Cao Cao, during which Guan Yu urged him to kill Cao but he refused. Later, when Liu Bei reached Xiakou (after his defeat at the Battle of Changban), Guan Yu angrily said, “If you had heeded my advice during the hunting expedition in Xu, we would not have ended up in this troubling situation.” Liu Bei replied, “I did not do so then for the sake of the Empire. If Heaven still helps those who are righteous, it might be possible that this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise!”[Sanguozhi zhu 14]

Pei Songzhi commented on the incident as such:

When Liu Bei, Dong Cheng and others plotted against Cao Cao, their plan failed because it was leaked out. If he did not want to kill Cao Cao for the sake of the country, what did he mean when he said this? If Guan Yu really did urge Liu Bei to kill Cao Cao during the hunting expedition and Liu did not do so, it was probably because Cao Cao’s close aides and relatives were present at the scene and had superiority in numbers. Besides, there was a lack of careful planning so Liu Bei had to wait for another opportunity. Even if Liu Bei succeeded in killing Cao Cao, he would not have been able to escape alive, so Liu did not heed Guan Yu’s words. There was nothing to regret about. The hunting expedition event happened in the past, so it was used to justify that Guan Yu had given Liu Bei “valued advice”, which the latter ignored.[Sanguozhi zhu 15]

Asking Zhuge Liang about Ma Chao[edit]

In 215, Ma Chao defected from Zhang Lu‘s side to Liu Bei’s forces, and he assisted Liu Bei in pressuring Liu Zhang to surrender and yield Yi Province to Liu Bei. When Guan Yu received news that Ma Chao (whom he was unfamiliar with) had recently joined them, he wrote to Zhuge Liang in Yi Province and asked the latter who could compete with Ma Chao. Zhuge Liang knew that Guan Yu was defending their border (so he should not displease the latter). As such, he replied, “Mengqi is proficient in both civil and military affairs. He is fierce and mighty, and a hero of his time. He is comparable to Qing Bu and Peng Yue. He can compete with Yide, but is not as good as the peerless beard.”[notes 8][Sanguozhi 19]

Guan Yu was very pleased when he received Zhuge Liang’s reply and he welcomed Ma Chao.[Sanguozhi 20]

Arm injury[edit]

Guan Yu was once injured in the left arm by a stray arrow, which pierced through his arm. Although the wound had healed, he would experience pain in the bone whenever there was a heavy downpour. A physician told him, “The arrowhead had poison on it and the poison had seeped into the bone. The way to get rid of this problem is to cut open your arm and scrape away the poison in your bone.” Guan Yu then stretched out his arm and asked the physician to heal him. He then invited his subordinates to dine with him while the surgery was being performed. Blood flowed from his arm into a container below. Throughout the operation, Guan Yu feasted and drank wine and chatted with his men as though nothing had happened.[Sanguozhi 21]


Guan Yu had two known sons — Guan Ping and Guan Xing. Guan Xing inherited his father’s title “Marquis of Hanshou Village” (漢壽亭侯) and served in the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period.[Sanguozhi 22] Guan Yu also had a daughter. Sun Quan once proposed a marriage between his son and Guan Yu’s daughter, but Guan rejected the proposal. Her name was not recorded in history, but she was known as “Guan Yinping” (關銀屏) or “Guan Feng” (關鳳) in folktales and Chinese opera. Guan Yu had an alleged third son, Guan Suo, who is not mentioned in historical texts and appears only in folklore and the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Guan Xing’s son, Guan Tong (關統), married a princess (one of Liu Shan‘s daughters) and served as a “General of the Household” (中郎將) in the Rapid as Tigers (虎賁) division of the imperial guards. Guan Tong had no son when he died, so he was succeeded by his younger half-brother Guan Yi (關彝).[Sanguozhi 23]

According to the Shu Ji (蜀記), after the fall of Shu in 263, Pang Hui (Pang De‘s son) massacred Guan Yu’s family and descendants to avenge his father, who was executed by Guan Yu after the Battle of Fancheng in 219.[Sanguozhi zhu 16]


Chen Shou, who wrote Guan Yu’s biography in the Sanguozhi, commented on the latter as such: “Guan Yu […] were referred to as mighty warriors capable of fighting thousands of enemies. They were like tigers among (Liu Bei‘s) subjects. Guan Yu […] had the style of a guoshi[notes 9] when he repaid Cao Cao’s kindness […] However, Guan Yu was unrelenting and conceited, […] and these shortcomings resulted in their downfalls. This was not something uncommon.”[Sanguozhi 24]

In fiction[edit]

Portrait of Guan Yu (behind) from a Qing Dynasty edition of Romance of the Three Kingdoms

A mural of Guan Yu’s “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” (千里走單騎) in the Summer Palace, Beijing.

A 19th-century Japanese woodcut of Guan Yu by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. In this scene, he is being attended to by the physician Hua Tuo while playing weiqi. See here for a large version of the full picture.

Luo Guanzhong‘s historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms glorified Guan Yu by portraying him as a righteous and loyal warrior. Guan Yu was one of the most altered and aggrandised characters in the novel, which accounted for his popular image in Chinese society.

See the following for some fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms involving Guan Yu:

Worship of Guan Yu[edit]

Burning of incense during the veneration of lord Guan Yu, Xingtian Temple

Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581–618), and is still popularly worshipped today among the Chinese people. He is variedly worshipped as an indigenous Chinese deity, a bodhisattva in Buddhist tradition and as a guardian deity in Taoism and many religious bodies.[7] He is also held in high esteem in Confucianism. These roles are not necessarily contradictory or even distinguished within the Chinese religious system, which often merge multiple ancient philosophies and religions.[citation needed]

In the Western world, Guan Yu is sometimes called the Taoist God of War, probably because he is one of the most well-known military generals worshipped by the Chinese people. This is a misconception of his role, as, unlike the Greco-Roman deity Mars or the Norse god Týr, Guan Yu, as a god, does not necessarily bless those who go to battle but rather, people who observe the code of brotherhood and righteousness.[citation needed]

General worship[edit]

A Guan Yu statue holding the guan dao in the right hand.

In general worship, Guan Yu is widely referred to as “Emperor Guan” (關帝), short for his Taoist title “Saintly Emperor Guan” (關聖帝君), and as “Guan Gong” (關公; literally: “Lord Guan”). Temples and shrines dedicated exclusively to Guan can be found in parts of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and other places with Chinese influence such as Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan. Some of these temples, such as the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou (解州), Shanxi, were built exactly in the layout of a palace, befitting his status as an “emperor”.

The apotheosis of Guan Yu occurred in stages, as he was given ever higher posthumous titles. Liu Shan, the second emperor of Shu, gave Guan Yu the posthumous title of “Marquis Zhuangmou” (壯繆侯) four decades after his death. During the Song Dynasty, Emperor Huizong bestowed upon Guan Yu the title of “Duke Zhonghui” (忠惠公), and later the title of a prince.  In 1187, during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong, Guan Yu was established as “Prince Zhuangmou Yiyong Wu’an Yingji” (壯繆義勇武安英濟王). After the Song Dynasty was annihilated by the Mongols, who established the Yuan Dynasty in China, Guan Yu was renamed “Prince of Xianling Yiyong Wu’an Yingji” (顯靈義勇武安英濟王) by Emperor Wenzong.

The escalation of Guan Yu’s status to that of an emperor took place during the Ming Dynasty. In 1614, the Wanli Emperor bestowed on Guan Yu the title of “Saintly Emperor Guan the Great God Who Subdues Demons of the Three Worlds and Whose Awe Spreads Far and Moves Heaven” (三界伏魔大神威遠震天尊關聖帝君). During the Qing Dynasty, the Shunzhi Emperor gave Guan Yu the title of “Zhongyi Shenwu Great Saintly Emperor Guan” (忠義神武關聖大帝) in 1644. This title was expanded to “The Grand Emperor Zhongyi Shenwu Lingyou Renyong Weixian Huguo Baomin Jingcheng Suijing Yizan Xuande Guan Sheng Dadi” (仁勇威顯護國保民精誠綏靖翊贊宣德忠義神武關聖大帝), a total of 24 Chinese characters, by the mid-19th century. This name is often shortened to “Saint of War” (武聖), which is of the same rank as Confucius, who was known as the “Saint of Culture” (文聖) during the same period. The Qing advancement of Guan Yu served to strengthen the loyalty of Mongol tribes, as the Mongols revered Guan as second only to their lamas.[8]

Throughout history, Guan Yu has also been credited with many military successes. During the Ming Dynasty, his spirit was said to have aided Zhu Yuanzhang (the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty)’s fleet at the Battle of Lake Poyang. In 1402, Zhu Di launched a coup d’état and successfully deposed his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor. Zhu Di claimed that he was blessed by the spirit of Guan Yu. During the last decade of the 16th century, Guan Yu was also credited with the repulse of Japanese invasion of Korea by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (called the Seven-Year War of Korea). The ruling Manchu house of the Qing Dynasty was also associated with Guan Yu’s martial qualities. During the 20th century, Guan Yu was worshipped by the warlord Yuan Shikai, president and later a short-lived emperor of China.

Today, Guan Yu is still widely worshipped by the Chinese, with many shrines to him are found in homes or businesses. In Hong Kong, a shrine for Guan is located in each police station. Though by no means mandatory, most Chinese policemen worship and pay respect to him. Although seemingly ironic, members of the triads and Heaven and Earth Society worship Guan as well. Statues used by triads tend to hold the halberd in the left hand, and statues in police stations tend to hold the halberd in the right hand. This signifies which side Guan Yu is worshipped, by the righteous people or vice versa. The appearance of Guan Yu’s face for the triads is usually more stern and threatening than the usual statue. This exemplifies the Chinese belief that a code of honour, epitomised by Guan Yu, exists even in the criminal underworld. In Hong Kong, Guan Yu is often referred to as “Yi Gor” (二哥; Cantonese for “second big brother”) for he was second to Liu Bei in their fictional sworn brotherhood. Guan Yu is also worshipped by Chinese businessmen in Shanxi, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia as an alternative wealth god, since he is perceived to bless the upright and protect them from the wicked. Another reason being related to the release of Cao Cao during the Huarong Trail incident, in which he let Cao and his men pass through safely. For that, he was perceived to be able to extend the lifespan of people in need.

Among the Cantonese people who emigrated to California during the mid-19th century, the worship of Guan Yu was an important element. Statues and tapestry images of the god can be found in a number of historical California joss houses (a local term for Taoist temples), where his name may be given with various Anglicised spellings, including Kwan Dai, Kwan Tai, Kuan Ti, Kuan Kung, Wu Ti, Mo Dai, Guan Di, Kuan Yu, Kwan Yu, or Quan Yu. The Mendocino Joss House, a historical landmark also known as Mo Dai Miu, the Military God-King’s Temple, or Temple of Kwan Tai, built in 1852, is a typical example of the small shrines erected to Guan Yu in America.

Worship in Taoism[edit]

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Guan Yu is revered as “Saintly Emperor Guan” (simplified Chinese: 关圣帝君; traditional Chinese: 關聖帝君; pinyin: Gūanshèngdìjūn) and a leading subduer of demons in Taoism. Taoist worship of Guan Yu began during the Song Dynasty. Legend has it that during the second decade of the 12th century, the saltwater lake in present day Xiezhou County (解州鎮) gradually ceased to yield salt. Emperor Huizong then summoned Celestial Master Zhang Jixian (張繼先), 30th generation descendant of Zhang Daoling, to investigate the cause. The emperor was told that the disruption was the work of Chi You, a deity of war. Zhang Jixian then recruited the help of Guan Yu, who battled Chi You over the lake and triumphed, whereupon the lake resumed salt production. Emperor Huizong then bestowed upon Guan Yu the title of “Immortal of Chongning” (崇寧真君), formally introducing the latter as a deity into Taoism.

In the early Ming Dynasty, the 42nd Celestial Master Zhang Zhengchang (張正常) recorded the incident in his book Lineage of the Han Celestial Masters (漢天師世家), the first Taoist classic to affirm the legend. Today, Taoist practices are predominant in Guan Yu worship. Many temples dedicated to Guan Yu, including the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou County, show heavy Taoist influence. Every year, on the 24th day of the sixth month on the lunar calendar (legendary birthday of Guan Yu, Guan was actually born on the 22nd day of the sixth month of 160), a street parade in the honour of Guan Yu would also be held.

Worship in Buddhism[edit]

Traditional Buddhist depiction of Guan Yu as Sangharama Bodhisattva.

In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yu is revered by most practising Buddhists as Sangharama Bodhisattva (simplified Chinese: 伽蓝菩萨; traditional Chinese: 伽藍菩薩,; pinyin: Qíelán Púsà) a heavenly protector of the Buddhist dharma. Sangharama in Sanskrit means ‘community garden’ (sangha, community + arama, garden) and thus ‘monastery’. The term Sangharama also refer to the dharmapala class of devas and spirits assigned to guard the Buddhist monastery, the dharma, and the faith itself. Over time and as an act of syncreticism, Guan Yu was seen as the representative guardian of the temple and the garden in which it stands. His statue traditionally is situated in the far left of the main altar, opposite his counterpart Skanda.

According to Buddhist legends, in 592, Guan Yu manifested himself one night before the Zen master Zhiyi, the founder of the Tiantai school of Buddhism, along with a retinue of spiritual beings. Zhiyi was then in deep meditation on Yuquan Hill (玉泉山) when he was distracted by Guan Yu’s presence. Guan Yu then requested the master to teach him about the dharma. After receiving Buddhist teachings from the master, Guan Yu took refuge in the triple gems and also requested the Five Precepts. Henceforth, it is said that Guan Yu made a vow to become a guardian of temples and the dharma. Legends also claim that Guan Yu assisted Zhiyi in the construction of the Yuquan Temple (玉泉寺), which still stands today.

Modern references[edit]

Chinese opera[edit]

A Qing Dynasty opera mask of Guan Yu.

Guan Yu appears in Chinese operas such as Huarong Trail, Red Cliffs, and other excerpts from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. His costume is a green military opera uniform with armour covering his right arm and the knees of his pants. The actor’s face is painted red with a few black lines, to represent honour and courage. He also wears a long three-section black beard made of yak hair and carries the Green Dragon Crescent Blade. Traditionally, after the show ends, the actor has to wash his face, burn joss paper, light incense, and pray to Chinese deities.

Film and television[edit]

Notable actors who have portrayed Guan Yu in film and television include: Lu Shuming, in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1994); Wang Yingquan, in The Legend of Guan Gong (2004); Ti Lung, in Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008); Ba Sen, in Red Cliff (2008-2009); Yu Rongguang, in Three Kingdoms (2010); Donnie Yen, in The Lost Bladesman (2011).

Films which make references to Guan Yu include: Stephen Chow‘s comedy film From Beijing with Love (1994), which, in one scene, refers to the story of Hua Tuo performing surgery on Guan Yu’s arm; Zhang Yimou‘s Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005), in which the fictional story of Guan Yu slaying six generals and crossing five passes forms a major part of the narrative; the horror comedy film My Name Is Bruce (2007), where Guan Yu’s vengeful spirit is accidentally set free by a group of teenagers and he begins to terrorise their town.


Guan Yu is referenced in the manga Battle Vixens (as a schoolgirl Kan-u Unchou) and BB Senshi Sangokuden (as ZZ Gundam, who is portrayed as Guan Yu Gundam).


Guan Yu appears as a playable character in many video games based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms which are produced by Koei, including: the strategy game series of the same title as the novel; the action game series Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi. Other non-Koei titles in which he also appears include: Sango Fighter; Destiny of an Emperor; Atlantica Online; Smite. He is also referenced in Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, Koihime Musō, Titan Quest and Koihime Musō.

Guan Yu is referenced in the Portal Three Kingdoms of the card game Magic: The Gathering on a playable card. He also appears in the History Channel‘s Anachronism card ga

Ancient Chinese warrior yue fei

Ancient Chinese Warrior Yue Fei

Yue Fei - Warrior of Ancient China

A close up view of the
ancient Chinese warrior painting
mounted to this silk wall scroll


The story behind this Ancient Chinese Warrior painting:

Yue Fei (Pinyin with tone marks: Yue Fei) (1103 – 1142 A.D.)

Yue Fei was a Chinese patriot and nationalist military leader who fought for the Southern Song Dynasty against the Jurchen (a northern tribe which established the Jin Dynasty).

He is one of the best-known generals in Chinese history, and widely credited for the creation of the martial art known as Xingyiquan.

Days after his birth, flooding of the Yellow River destroyed Yue Fei’s village. His father drowned in the floods, but not before he had ensured the survival of his wife and son by floating them downstream in a very large clay jar. Yue Fei and his mother settled in Hebei province. Becoming proficient in warfare at an early age, Yue Fei as a young man narrowly escaped execution after killing the Prince of Liang in a martial arts tournament. He did not join the fight against the Jurchen invaders until he was 23.

A Famous Tattoo

According to legend, Yue Fei’s mother tattooed four characters (jing zhong bao guo) which mean “serve the country loyally” on his back before he left home.

This tattoo became the quest for the remainder of his life.

As a valiant and tactically astute general, Yue Fei led many successful campaigns against the forces of the Jurchen. Taking advantage of the difficulties which his opponents’ cavalry experienced in the hilly terrain of Southern China, he was able to score victories although his troops were frequently outnumbered. His forces succeeded in regaining territory south of the Yangtze and Huai Rivers.
The enemies even said, “To push over a mountain is done with great ease, but to push over Yue’s army is done with great difficulty”.

Yue Fei was also known for his strict discipline of his legions, forbidding them to pillage, even when facing the harshest of conditions. He was a role model for followers of Confucius’ ideas and moral values, as well as being an accomplished martial artist and was very poetic.

Sadly, his attempt to recoup the northern lands lost by the Southern Song Dynasty was opposed by officials who believed further warfare would prove too costly. This desire to complete his quest is reflected in his most famous poem (Yue Fei was also a renowned poet) Manjiang Hong (Entirely Red River).

In the middle of a long victorious campaign against the Jurchen, corrupt officials, the most famous being the traitor Qin Hui, persuaded Emperor Gaozong to recall Yue Fei to the capital. Yue Fei had been readying to attack the Jurchen’s Jin Dynasty Capital at the time. The emperor ordered Yue Fei to return twelve times in the form of twelve gold plaques before Yue Fei capitulated.

Qin Hui could not find a reason to execute the captured Yue Fei and was about to release him. However, Qin Hui’s wife made the suggestion that since the emperor held absolute power, Qin Hui having the authority of the emperor, needed no reason to execute Yue Fei.

Yue Fei and his son, Yue Yun, were sentenced to death and executed on charges that were not proven but instead “could be true”.
It is for this reason that not only Qin Hui, but his wife also kneels before Yue Fei’s tomb.

Legend has it those who plotted to have Yue Fei executed were haunted by his ghost and driven to commit suicide.

Today, he is revered as one of the great symbols of patriotism and a national hero in China

Manjiang Hong is well-read and is known throughout China and Chinese people around the world, and his mausoleum in Hangzhou is well-visited. There are also two heavily mutilated statues of Qin Hui and his wife, topless, kneeling outside the temple as if begging for mercy. People in the past used to spit upon and kick them, until they were protected as part of the historic temple.

Also, to instill a sense of patriotism, the Chinese government required all primary school students to read and study at least one text about Yue Fei.

Several martial arts have been attributed to Yue Fei, including Eagle Claw, Xingyiquan, Fanziquan, and Chuojiao, among others.

Yue Fei has been in 126 battles and won them all; this is perhaps the best military record in world history.

This edited information about Yue Fei was obtained from Wikipedia
Used in compliance with the GNU Free Documentation License.


About the Art

This is a elaborate style painting using special black Chinese ink and watercolor on xuan paper (rice paper).

This rice paper was then taken to our mounting shop in Beijing where a hand-made silk wall scroll was created for this painting.

This wall scroll then flew with me from China to the USA and is now located at our San Diego, California gallery, ready to be shipped to you.

How I found this art…

Visiting an old friend and artist in Chengdu, I notice a woman is politely waiting for me. Soon enough, I finish my business, and leave my friend to work on some art that I would pick up several days later. The polite woman greets me as I walk out. She quietly asks if I would just take a look at her artwork.

I walk over to her little booth and take a look. The work is good, and I am surprised that she doesn’t have a studio-gallery like a lot of artists. She says that she likes to sell in the market, and put paintings in the hands of “the common man”. It is then that I realize we have a similar philosophy.

famous warrior artist of China

The artist, Li Ying-Lai, was really excited when I told him that I wanted dragons and legendary warriors of China. He said that dragons and warriors are his favorite subject to paint.

I look through her whole collection, and pick out several pieces that I like. Her husband shows up, and helps out getting paintings out of boxes for me to look at.

After we settle and I pay for all of the paintings, he asks if there is any other kind of art that I am looking for. I tell him, in Chinese, “I have been looking for warriors and really cool dragons for a long time”. Suddenly he is very excited. Grabbing through several boxes he emerges with a photo album. He hands the album to me and tells me that I must look!

Opening the album, I see a great collection of paintings of “Legendary Warriors of China” and several eye-catching dragons. He tells me that all of the photos are of his paintings.

Now, I get pretty excited, because I’ve been looking for good warrior-paintings for more than a year and a half, and I am always on the lookout for a good dragon-painting.

He doesn’t have any work ready to sell, but we talk about sizes, styles, and which warriors and dragons I want, and even down to what the background of each piece should be. We talk until the end of the day, and finally we talk about the price. I am expecting something high, but the price he gives me is just too low for this quality of work. So, for the first time in my art-buying career, I “reverse-bargain”, and tell him that I will pay 50% more as long as the quality is good. He and his wife look puzzled for a second, and then he remarks in Chinese, “I have been waiting to hear someone say that for a long time”. The gesture as they took it was not about money, but more about my personal compliment on the quality and importance of the art itself