Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690
Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.
Height 58 mm (2.28 inch), diameter of rim 118 mm (4.65 inch), diameter of footring 42 mm (1.65 inch), weight 193 grams (6.81 ounce (oz.))
Bowl on footring with spreading sides, a flaring rim and an unglazed base. Covered with a greenish celadon type glaze, decorated in underglaze blue. On the bottom a character in a roundel. On the exterior wall four different characters. On the bowl the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale label proving it has been part of lot 963, one of 200 bowls sold in this lot. (Amsterdam 1992, p.128)
The Vung Tau Cargo
The Vung Tau Wreck was discovered by fishermen of the islands of Con Dao in the south of Vietnam.
Sverker Hallstrom obtained the license to excavate the wreck after the Vietnam Salvage Corporation
(Visal) had carried out preliminary excavation. The starboard side of the hull, from the keel to the
waterline, remained in good condition. It was found to be the hull of a lorcha, a ship of combined
Eastern and Western influence, and the first ever found. The wreck has been dated to c.1690.
From an analysis of the cargo it seems that the ship was bound from China to Batavia where the
bulk of the ceramics would have been transhipped to a Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde
Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) vessel for the onward voyage to Holland.
The porcelain was destined for a port where it would have been transhipped onto a VOC vessel for the
onward voyage to Holland. The other goods were to supply the Chinese community at the same port.
That port was Batavia.
Christie's Amsterdam auctioned the porcelain cargo in April 1992.
These 'provincial' wares formed the bulk of the shipment of southern wares and were originally sold as food bowls, they received minimum care when stowed: piled on top of each other and crammed under roofbeams. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, p.81)
In total 2,281 bowls, by Christie's named the 'Provincial blue and white bowls', were sold divided over the lots: 1000-1011. (Amsterdam 1992)
Condition: Some firing flaws and a chip to the outer rim.
Price: € 99 - $ 109 - £ 85
(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)