Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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The Nanking Cargo 1752

 

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Page 1

The Nanking Cargo

 

1752

 

On Monday January 3, 1752, the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) vessel Geldermalsen, struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea. Of the crew 32 survived and 80 went down with the ship and her cargo of tea, raw silk, textiles, dried wares, groceries, lacquer and porcelain. 

 

The cargo of Chinese porcelain was originally potted in Jingdezhen, Jiangzi province then shipped to Nanking for delivery to the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) vessel Geldermalsen for final transportation to the Netherlands. The Geldermalsen struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea on January 3, 1752. The cargo was recovered by Captain Michael Hatcher and his team in 1985 and sold by Christie's Amsterdam on 28 April - 2 May 1985 as 'The Nanking Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain and Gold' two hundred and thirty five years later. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.39-59).

 

An interesting detail is that Captain Michael Hatcher found the wreck of the Geldermalsen on the same reef as he earlier, in 1983, found the wreck of a Chinese junk. both wrecks were about a mile apart. This Chinese Junk wreck came to be known as "The Hatcher Junk" she had a cargo of Kraak and Transitional porcelain objects that were dated c.1643. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.27) 

2011621
2011621

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011621

  

Beer mug

 

China

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

1752

 

Height 139 mm (5.47 inch), diameter of mouthrim 110 mm (4.33 inch), diameter of footring 100 mm (3.94 inch), weight 839 grams (29.60 ounce (oz.))

 

Cylindrical beer mug on footring with loop strap handle. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with a tree peony issuing from rockwork on a terrace below trellis pattern border. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 1537 label proving it has been one of two similar beer mugs sold in lot 1537. (Amsterdam 1986, p.46)

 

Of the 821 beer mugs bought in, no less than 681 have been recovered. The beer mugs found by Hatcher occur in three increasing sizes and represent the one pint, one and a half pint, and the two pint varieties. the one pint mug was not bought in, or not recovered by Hatcher. They are all decorated in Chinese Imari and a few enamels (rose, green), now blackened due to being submerged in salt sea water for two and a half century. In the handle a small hole has been made on purpose intended for the silver or other metal lid that would customarily have been added in Europe. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.92-93), (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.137

 

The design on this beer mug is known as the 'Peony' pattern middle size. In total 189 beer mugs with the 'Peony' pattern middle size, were sold divided over the lots: 1515-1570. (Amsterdam 1986. pp.46-51)

 

Condition: Two chips to the rim and three to the footring.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 1515-1570

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 85

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl. 179

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011020
2011020

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011020

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height 25 mm (0.98 inch), diameter of rim 230 mm (9.06 inch), diameter of footring 125 mm (4.92 inch)

 

Dish on footring, flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with the 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern in blue and enamels  Painted with a fisherman punting his boat in a broad riverscape with a two-storey pavilion beside pine, wutong and rocks on the near bank and a retreat on two, the rim with six small flower sprays below a trellis-pattern border. The reverse is undecorated. On the dish the original Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale label proving it has been one of 48 similar dishes sold in lot 1723. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

This pattern has been wrongly described by Christie's in their sale catalogue as the "Boatman and six-flower border" pattern in blue and enamels, it is in fact only in blue. The real 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern in blue and enamels objects are categorized as lots 2001-2028.

 

The design on this dish is known as the 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern. In total 3,731 dishes with the (wrongly described) 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern in blue and enamels were sold divided over the lots: 1673-1755. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 1673-1755

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 62

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.160

 

Price: Sold.

 

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More pictures of object 2010250, another identically, shaped, sized and decorated, sold dish >>

More pictures of object 2011021, another identically, shaped, sized and decorated, sold dish >>

More pictures of object 2012130, another identically, shaped, sized and decorated, sold dish >>

 

2011165
2011165

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011165

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height 30 mm (1.17 inch), diameter of rim 230 mm (8.98 inch), diameter of footring 125 mm (4.88 inch)

 

Dish on footring, flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with a fisherman punting his boat in a wide river landscape, with two-storey pavilion beside pine and tall rockwork at the near bank within a band of spearheads at the well, the border with six fruit and flower sprays including pomegranate within a band of trellis-pattern at the rim. The reverse is undecorated. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 2013 label proving it has been one of 48 similar dishes sold in lot 2013. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

The design on this dish is known as the 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern in blue and enamels. In total 1,218 dishes with the 'Boatman and six-flower border' pattern in blue and enamels were sold divided over the lots: 2001-2028. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: A shallow; fleabite, frit and glaze rough spot to the rim.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lots 2001-2028

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 63

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, pp.115-122

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2010336
2010336

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2010336

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

  

Height 70 mm (2.76 inch), diameter of rim 150 mm (5.91 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch)

 

Bowl on footring, straight rim. The exterior is covered with so-called Batavia-Brown, underglaze dark brown. The inside is decorated in underglaze blue with a flowering peony spray in a single comcentric band on the sides a simple pavilion amongst pine and rocks opposite a boat with birds in flight. Round the rim a trellis pattern border. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 2634 label proving it has been one of 120 similar bowls sold in lot 2634. (Amsterdam 1986. p.105)

 

The design on this bowl is known as the 'Batavian' landscape pattern. In total 2,547 bowls with the 'Batavian' landscape pattern, were sold divided over the lots: 2578-2635. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

The variety of bowls in the 18th century is extremely great. They were used for an infinite variety of purposes. In the records these bowls are found under the heading 'slop bowls' and that is what they were used for: the tea cup was rinsed in them before a different kind of tea was poured in. The Geldermalsen carried 25,921 bowls, Hatcher found nearly 17,000 undamaged. The group with dark-brown glaze on the outside - the so-called Batavia ware - of which the inside is decorated in underglaze blue-and white only came in two designs: with flowers or a river landscape (like this bowl. (Jörg 1986/1, p.89)

 

For  identically shaped and decorated bowls with The Nanking Cargo 'river landscape' pattern, please see

For identically shaped and decorated bowls with The Nanking Cargo 'Batavian' floral pattern, please see:

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 2578-2635

Jörg 1986/1, p.89 & fig. 78 & fig. 79

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.190 & Pl. 1910

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1989, cat. D

Howard 1997, p.29 & cat. 19

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011475
2011475

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011475

 

Bowl and saucer-dish

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height of bowl 59 mm (2.32 inch), diameter 112 mm (4.41 inch), diameter of footring 47 mm (1.85 inch)

Height of saucer-dish 35 mm (1.38 inch), diameter 175 mm (6.89 inch), diameter of footring 106 mm (4.17 inch)

 

Bowl and saucer-dish on footrings, straight rims. Decorated in underglaze blue with a fisherman seated in his boat in a wide river landscape, the near rocky bank with a two-storey pagoda beside pine, prunus and wutong, the distant bank with pine and the sky with a flock of geese flying in a V-shaped formation. On the rim a trellis pattern border. The reverse is undecorated. On both the bowl and the saucer-dish the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 2683 labels proving they have been one of 48 similar bowls and saucers-dishes sold in lot 2683. (Amsterdam 1986, p 109)

 

The shipping invoice mentions 2,563 bowls and saucer-dishes. Hatcher has salvaged two types. Only one design appeared in any substantial quantities on sets of bowls with matching under dishes: the "Flying Geese" pattern, a subject beloved of the Chinese. The wide riverscape stretches right across the saucer; in the foreground, a solitary figure crouches fishing from a small boat, and the water's surface is broken by several of the mysterious, partially submerged, rocks. The depiction of the flight of geese well shows that each piece is hand-drawn, although produced as a mass order; the flights range in shape from a precise V-shape to an almost straight line, though the balance of the design's elements remains constant. (Jörg 1986/1), (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988)

 

The design on this bowl and saucer-dish is known as the 'Flying Geese' pattern. In total 1,376 bowls and saucer-dishes and 364 saucer-dishes without bowls with the 'Flying Geese' pattern were sold divided over the lots: 2636-2886 and 2687-2701. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition:

Bowl: Two firing flaws to the exterior wall and a glaze frit to the rim.

Saucer-dish: Perfect.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 2636-2701

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 84

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.192

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011505
2011505

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011505

 

Bowl

 

China

 

1752

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of rim 165 mm (6.50 inch), diameter of footring 73 mm (2.87 inch), weight 327 grams (11.54 ounce (oz.))

  

Bowl on footring, straight rim. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with a scholar crossing a bridge between two rocky islets with a pavilion and retreats beside pine. Round the inner rim a trellis-pattern border in iron-red. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 3036 label proving it has been one of 48 bowls sold in lot 3036.(Amsterdam 1986, p.121)

 

The design on this bowl is known as the 'Scholar on Bridge' pattern in blue and enamels, middle size. In total only 578 bowls with the 'Scholar on Bridge' pattern in blue and enamels, middle size, were sold divided over the lots: 3020-3040. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: Perfect, some spots were the glaze did not catch on to the body during the firing process and two popped bubbles of glaze to rim.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 3020-3040

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 81

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.188

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2012157
2012157

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2012157

 

Bowl

 

China

 

1752

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

  

Height 74 mm (2.91 inch), diameter of rim 150 mm (5.91 inch), diameter of footring 58 mm (2.28 inch), weight 318 grams (11.22 ounce (oz.))

 

Bowl on footring, straight underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Chinese Imari decorated in underglaze blue, and overglaze iron-red with the "Peony Rock" pattern. Painted with peony, chrysanthemum, bamboo and flowering peach issuing from a rocky terrace on the exterior and a camellia spray in the interior below a trellis-pattern border. On the bowl the original Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale label, reading lot 3157, proving it has been one of 240 bowls sold in that lot. (Amsterdam 1986, p.128)

 

In total 2,779 bowls with the 'Peony Rock' landscape pattern, were sold divided over the lots: 3126-3157. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: A firing flaw to the footring.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 3126-3157

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 82

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl. 189

Sargent 2012, p.183

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2010368
2010368

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2010368

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height: 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of rim 147 mm (5.79 inch), diameter of footring 63 mm (2.48 inch)

 

Bowl on footring, straight rim. Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with a scholar crossing a bridge connecting rocky islets with retreats and pine in a river landscape.  Round the inner rim a faded trellis-pattern border in iron-red. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale lot 3182 label proving it has been one of 60 bowls sold in lot 3182. (Amsterdam 1986, p. 131)

 

The design on this bowl is known as the 'Scholar on Bridge' pattern in blue and enamels, small size. In total 1,365 bowls with the 'Scholar on bridge' pattern in blue and enamels, small size, were sold divided over the lots: 3168--3188. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: A hairline, chip, frit and firing flaw to the rim. On the Christie's The Nanking Cargo auction label a previous owner wrote the letters "AS" meaning (A Scholar??) then added a number "6" in between the numbers "1" and "8" and painted black, the last number "2" of the original auction number "3182", so creating the number 3168, this number is the fist auction number of the "Scholar on bridge" pattern object that was sold.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lot 3168-3188

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 80

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.188

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011962
2011962

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011962

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height 23 mm (0.91 inch), diameter of rim 234 mm (9.21 inch), diameter of footring 126 mm (4.96 inch), weight 372 grams (13.12 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, flat rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with the 'Peony and pomegranate' pattern in underglaze blue. Painted with a peony below a flowering pomegranate branch. On the cavetto a trellis pattern border with four panels filled with a flower head. On the rim three large peony flower sprays. The reverse is undecorated. On the base the original Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale label proving it has been one of 24 similar dishes sold in lot 3624. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

On Monday January 3, 1752, the Dutch East India Company, (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) ship Geldermalsen, struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea. Of the crew 32 survived and 80 went down with the ship and her cargo of tea, raw silk, textiles, dried wares, groceries, lacquer and porcelain. 

 

The cargo of Chinese porcelain was originally potted in Jingdezhen, Jiangzi province then shipped to Nanking for delivery to the VOC vessel Geldermalsen for final transportation to the Netherlands. The Geldermalsen struck a reef on her return journey to the Netherlands and sank in the South China Sea on January 3, 1752. The cargo was recovered by Captain Michael Hatcher and his team in 1985 and sold by Christie's Amsterdam on 28 April - 2 May 1985 as 'The Nanking Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain and Gold' two hundred and thirty-five years later. (Jörg 1986/1. pp.39-59).

 

An interesting detail is that Captain Michael Hatcher found the wreck of the Geldermalsen on the same reef as he earlier, in 1983, found the wreck of a Chinese junk. both wrecks were about a mile apart. This Chinese Junk wreck came to be known as "The Hatcher Junk" she had a cargo of Kraak and Transitional porcelain objects that were dated c.1643. (Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.27)

 

Dishes were always part of the normal assortment. Year after yaer they were shipped to the Netherlands in tremendous quantities. The Geldermalsen had loaded 14,315 and Hatcher recovered over 10,000 with four different motifs. Characteristic of a dinner dish is its size of approximately 230 mm or (9.06 inch) and the wide, flat, somewhat upright rim. (Jörg 1986/1, p.75)

 

In total 2,908 dishes with the 'Peony and pomegranate' pattern in underglaze blue were sold divided over the lots: 3598-3670. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

For an identically shaped, sized and decorated dish, please see:

Condition: Some glaze rough spots to the edge of the rim.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lots 3598-3670

Jörg 1986/1, pp.39-59, p.75 & fig. 61

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, p.27 & Pl.134

Jörg 1999, cat. 89

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011843
2011843

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Nanking Cargo, 1752 - Other wares - Page 1

 

Object 2011843

  

Dish

 

China

 

c.1751

 

Provenance: The Nanking Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 28 April - 2 May 1986

 

Height 26 mm (1.02 inch), diameter of rim 228 mm (8.98 inch), diameter of footring 119 mm (4.69 inch), weight 360 grams (12.70 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, flat underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Chinese Imari, decorated in underglaze blue, iron-red and gold with an insect in flight above banana tree with peony and lingzhi issuing from taihu (garden) rockwork on a terrace. On the sides a trellis pattern border with four reserves filled with flower sprays. On the rim three clusters of flowering peony and chrysanthemum. The reverse is undecorated. Some kiln-grit adhering to the footring. On the base the original circular paper Christie's The Nanking Cargo sale label proving it has been one of 48 similar dishes sold in lot 4180. (Amsterdam 1986

 

The date 'mei '86'  and the letter 'A'  were most likely added to the original Christie's "The Nanking Cargo" sale lot 4180 label by a previous owner.

 

The design on this dish is known as the 'Plantain' pattern. In total 2,223 dishes with the 'Plantain' pattern, were sold divided over the lots: 4136-4181. (Amsterdam 1986)

 

Condition: Two very short glaze hairlines to the rim, only visible at the front and some undecorated spots to the brown rim (not being fleabites or frits).

 

References:

Amsterdam 1986, lots 4136-4181

Jörg 1986/1, fig. 64

Sheaf & Kilburn 1988, Pl.154

Sargent 2012, p.183

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

More pictures of object 2010480, another identically, shaped, sized and decorated, sold dish >>