Pater Gratia Oriental Art

Unidentified shipwreck wares


Unidentified Shipwreck wares


In this category objects are added that have been submerged in seawater for a long time and were most likely part of (an unidentified) shipwreck's cargo.


Shipwreck Porcelains - Unidentified Shipwreck wares


Object 201068




(Southeast) China, Zhangzhou (Swatow)




Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter of rim 268 mm (10.56 inch), diameter of footring 120 mm (4.73 inch), weight 769 grams (27.13 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, straight rim. Decorated in reverse underglaze blue with two standing phoenixes facing and overlapping one another flanked by peony. The background is completely filled with leafy scrolls and leaves. On the rim five foliated medallions each filled with flowers, in between the medallions a concentric waves decoration. The reverse with three floral sprays.


This dish was, most likely, part of a shipwreck's cargo. It is unknown of which ship. All the glaze has worn of due to being submerged in sea water for centuries. Similar shaped and decorated dishes were found amongst the cargo of 'The Binh Thuan Shipwreck' a Chinese merchant vessel on its way from China to Johore that sank off southern Vietnam in 1608. Its recovered porcelain cargo was sold by Christie's Australia in 2004.


A identically shaped, sized and decorated dish was found amongst the ceramic load of the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) cargo vessel Witte Leeuw shipwreck which had gone down near St. Helena, on its homeward voyage in 1613, to see this dish, please see:

For similarly decorated dishes, please see:

Condition: Perfect but without glaze.



Tokyo 1965, cat. 490

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1966, cat. 9a

Woodward 1974, cat. 17

Pijl-Ketel 1982, NG 1977-166W

Adhyatman 1999, cat. 91

Melbourne 2004, lot 54-89, 227-259, 445-474, 653-670 & 733-749.


Price: € 499 - $ 556 - £ 429

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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Shipwreck Porcelains - Unidentified Shipwreck wares


Object 2011009








Height 35 mm (1.37 inch), diameter of rim 220 mm (8.66 inch), diameter of footring 115 mm (4.53 inch), weight 294 grams (10.37 ounce (oz.))


Dish on footring, flat rim with slightly scalloped edge. Some kiln sand adhering to the footring. Decorated in underglaze blue. In the centre medallion two deer - with a fungus and an abstract motif which may be the peach fruit - in-between a landscape with rocks, plants and a pine tree encircled by a double band. The sides and rim with large panels filled with peach and narrow panels filled with dots. On the reverse large panels filled with dots.


According to Rinaldi this dish can be classified as a Border V dish. Border V is characterized by large segments separated by narrow ones. The decoration on the border is less crowded than on other groups. Each large section usually contains a dainty floral or fruit spray or insects, and allows plenty of undecorated space around each design. In the narrow sections there are only dots or a thinly-drawn knotted ribbon. In contrast to the airy border, the central medallion is rather crowded. The underside, following the inside pattern, is divided into large sections with symbols or jewels. and narrow segments with lingzhi(Rinaldi 1989, pp.88-91)


The deer is said to be the only animal that can find the 'lingzhi fungus', together with the pine tree they represent longevity. The decoration is rather crudely executed with bold outlines and careless fill-in. It is likely that that these dishes are those referred to in old Dutch records as 'badly painted crude ware'. Volker suggest that it was a second grade Jingdezhen ware. (Sjostrand & Lok Lok  2007, pp.208-213)


Interesting details on this dish are the small size of the base compared with earlier examples, the blue is dull and almost shadeless and the clearly shown impressions left by cloth imprinted under the glaze in the central medallion.


Most of the dish's glaze has worn of, it was, most likely, part of a shipwrecks cargo, possibly the Wanli shipwreck, c.1625. On the base the residue of a (silver) label, now removed.


For identically decorated dishes, please  see:

For identically decorated dishes found in a cesspit of in use between 1600 and 1625 of a building on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam and in a cesspit in use between 1620 and 1630 of a building on the Staalstraat in Amsterdam and in please see:

Condition: firing flaws to the centre, the base and the rim, various glaze rough spots to the rim.



Rinaldi 1989, pp.100-105 &  Pl.75

Sjostrand & Lok Lok 2007, pp.208-213.

Campen & Eliëns 2014, Fig. 1 & Fig.20 


Price: € 599 - $ 667 - £ 541

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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