Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690

 

Page 1

The Vung Tau Cargo

 

c.1690

 

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.

2010768 and 2010769
2010768 and 2010769

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Objects 2010768 and 2010769

 

Two milk jugs

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

2010768: height with cover 148 mm (5.83 inch), diameter 84 mm (3.31 inch), diameter of mouthrim 70 mm, (2.76 inch), diameter footring 45 mm (1.77 inch)

2010769: height with cover 132 mm (5.20 inch), diameter 78 mm (3.07 inch), diameter of mouthrim 68 mm, (2.68 inch), diameter footring 42 mm (1.65 inch), weight including cover 309 grams (9.17 ounce (oz.)), weight cover 49 grams (1.73 ounce (oz.))

 

Two milk jugs on footrings, pear shaped bodies, missing handles and tall wide necks with short spouts on the rims, flattened domed covers with knobs, decorated in underglaze blue, one with honeycomb panels filled with a tree painted in so-called, criss-cross hatching lines technique, the other is decorated with spiralling panels with the same design. The covers are decorated en suiteOn both milk jugs the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale label and and the original Christie's lot 247 label.

 

The Vung Tau Cargo yielded only three examples of what nowadays is called a milk jug. These have the shape of a mug with a short spout under the ribbed mouthrim, a flat loop handle and a domed cover with a pear-shaped knob. The decoration of one milk jug is in honeycomb panels with a hatch-line painting of a tree, the other two milk jugs show spiralling panels with the same design, Although we have no proof about their use, these could well be milk or cream jugs. The custom to serve tea with milk came from France, where the combination was invented by the Marquise de la Sabliére. In about 1680 the habit spread to the Netherlands, and so a special piece of porcelain was needed on the tea tray to serve milk with tea. It's doubtful, however that it belonged to a couple of matching cups and saucers. Actual sets of tea wares, teapots, tea caddies, milk jugs, sugar pots and slop bowls all painted with the same design, were not made in Chinese porcelain until the 1720s following the European fashion. The milk jugs represent European shapes and obviously are made to order and styled after silver and pewter models. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, pp.64-65)

 

The discovery of these three milk jugs in the cargo of the Vung Tau shipwreck is, from a historic perspective, important for two reasons:

 

1. It clearly shows that the Vung Tau shipwreck was a commercial trading vessel, carrying Chine the commande objects to the port of Batavia in c.1690.

 

2. These three milk jugs are the earliest recorded, special pieces of Chine de commande porcelain needed on the tea tray to serve milk with tea, dating from the Kangxi period, c.1690.

 

The previous, and first, owner of all three milk jugs, switched covers of the milk jugs, this is why the photographed milk jugs in, The Vung Tau Cargo, sale catalogue Christie's Amsterdam, 7/8 April 1992, or in  C.J.A. Jörg & M. Flecker's book, Porcelain from the Vung Tau Wreck. The Hallstrom Excavation, seem to have different covers.

 

In total only three milk jugs and covers were sold by Christie's Amsterdam on 7 and 8 April 1992 as lot 247 in "The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain". (Amsterdam 1992)

 

For the milk jugs, please see;

Condition:

2010768 : A missing handle.

2010769 : A missing handle, a hairline and a piece of the knob is missing.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lots 247

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 50a

 

Price:

2010768: Sold.

2010769: Sold.

 

More pictures object 2010768 >>

More pictures object 2010769 >>

2010392
2010392

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010392

 

Soup Spoon

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 32 mm (1.26 inch), diameter 40 mm (1.58 inch), length: 123 mm (4.84 inch)

 

A blanc de Chine soup spoon according to a traditional Chinese model with a pointed oval deep part, narrowing into the curved handle. The end has a moulded design of three dots on small stems. The base is unglazed. On the soup spoon the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 466 label.

 

Spoons are notoriously difficult to date, so we are lucky to have these documented pieces. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, p.90)

 

In total 374 soup spoons were sold divided over the lots: 461-466. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: A frit to the handle.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 461-466

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 93

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

2010247
2010247

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010247

 

Miniature "doll's house" vase

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 40 mm (1.57 inch), diameter 23 mm (0.91 inch), diameter of base 12 mm (0.47 inch), diameter of mouthrim 12 mm (0.47 inch)

 

Pear-shaped miniature "doll's house" vase on footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with a border of ascending lotus leaves around the foot, on the body an Indian lotus-pattern and on the shoulder a zig-zag lines-pattern border. Round the neck a lotus leaves-pattern border and on the rim a zig-zag lines-pattern border. On the vase the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 742 label proving it has been one of 100 miniature vases sold in lot 742.

 

At the beginning of the 18th century, there was a fashion among wealthy Dutch ladies to have models made on the scale of a house, the so called "doll's houses". The rooms of these doll's houses were furnished with miniature pieces of porcelain, furniture, paintings, upholstery and all other sorts of objects that would have belonged to the interior of a wealthy home. These doll's houses were very costly and certainly not meant for children to play with but were proudly displayed for friends and visitors and regarded as extremely luxurious items - counterparts of the cabinets of curiosities that were a fashionable hobby of rich men. Only a few of these doll's houses have been preserved. One example can be found in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague showing an 18th century room with porcelain miniatures in cupboards and on brackets along the wall. In reality the majority of these "miniature doll's house vases" would have been part of the interior. A good example of an authentic porcelain room is the famous cabinet in Pommersfelden Castle, Germany, where groups of pieces on brackets are surrounded by these miniature vases lining the borders of the consoles. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, pp.50-51)

 

Of this specific doll's house vase, a total of 675 were sold divided over the lots: 741-747. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

For similarly decorated miniature doll's house vases, please see;

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 741-747

Staatliche Schlöser und Gärten 1998, Kat. Nr. 53

Jörg & Flecker 2001fig. 26

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

2010246
2010246

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010246

 

Miniature "doll's house" vase

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter 23 mm (0.91 inch), diameter of base 14 mm (0.55 inch), diameter of mouthrim 14 mm (0.55 inch)

 

Miniature "doll's house" vase on footring. Decorated in underglaze blue with around the foot a descending lotus leaves-border in low relief, on the body floral scrolls (arabesque designs) and around the neck a spiral-pattern border. On the miniature vase the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 761 label proving it has been one of 100 miniature vases sold in lot 761.

 

At the beginning of the 18th century, there was a fashion among wealthy Dutch ladies to have models made on the scale of a house, the so called "doll's houses". The rooms of these doll's houses were furnished with miniature pieces of porcelain, furniture, paintings, upholstery and all other sorts of objects that would have belonged to the interior of a wealthy home. These doll's houses were very costly and certainly not meant for children to play with but were proudly displayed for friends and visitors and regarded as extremely luxurious items - counterparts of the cabinets of curiosities that were a fashionable hobby of rich men. Only a few of these doll's houses have been preserved. One example can be found in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague showing an 18th century room with porcelain miniatures in cupboards and on brackets along the wall. In reality the majority of these "miniature doll's house vases" would have been part of the interior. A good example of an authentic porcelain room is the famous cabinet in Pommersfelden Castle, Germany, where groups of pieces on brackets are surrounded by these miniature vases lining the borders of the consoles. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, pp.50-51)

 

Of this specific type doll's house vase, a total of 1,576 miniature were sold divided over the lots: 747-763. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

For an identically decorated miniature doll's house vase, please see;

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 748-763

Staatliche Schlöser und Gärten 1998, Kat. Nr. 52

Jörg & M. Flecker 2001, pp.50-51

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >> 

More pictures of object 2010389, another identically shaped, sized and decorated, sold miniature 'doll's house' vase >>

2010248
2010248

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010248

 

Deep saucer dish

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 40 mm (1.58 inch), diameter 121 mm (4.76 inch), diameter of footring: 54 mm (2.13 inch), weight 184 grams (6.49 ounce (oz.))

 

Deep saucer dish on a footring. A partial glazed base. Decorated in underglaze blue with a very simple and with quick brush strokes painted riverscape with a fishing boat. The reverse is undecorated. On the deep saucer dish the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale label proving it has been part of lot 905. Round the footring written in black with a permanent marker; "HC90-6m 1329". (Amsterdam 1992, p.120

 

In total 2,714 saucers, by Christie's named the 'Provincial blue and white saucers', were sold divided over the lots: 894-920. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: A frit and two fleabites to the rim.

 

References: 

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456.

Amsterdam 1992, lots 894-920.

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 73.

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

More pictures of object 2011509, another identically shaped, sized and decorated, sold deep saucer dish >>

2010390
2010390

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010390

 

Pottery lamp

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 38 mm (1.50 inch), diameter of rim 143 mm (5.63 inch), diameter of base 55 mm (2.17 inch)

 

An unglazed and undecorated pottery dished circular lamp on a flat base, applied with a handle on the rim. On the lamp the two original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 978 labels proving it has been part of lot 978, one of 100 lamps.

 

These very ordinary pieces have a quiet romance, showing the fingerprint of the potter on the handle, thus bringing in a personal touch, bridging time and cultures. (Jörg & Flecker 2001, p.91)

 

It was to be filled with fat or oil and a wick when used as a lamp.

 

In total 759 pottery lamps were sold divided over the lots: 978-989 & 893. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 978-982 & 893

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 95

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 201071

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 59 mm (2.32 inch), diameter of rim 124 mm (4.88 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch)

 

Bowl on footring, straight sides and a partially glazed base. Decorated with freely painted branches with leaves in iron-red and circular patches of green enamel. On the bowl the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 1,000 label proving it has been one of 100 bowls sold in lot 1.000. Round the foot written in black with a permanent marker; " HC90 6M 1447".

 

The enamel and iron-red have deteriorated due to the long immersion in the sea, leaving  nothing but a few traces of green and red.

 

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 roof beams (Jörg & Flecker 2001, p.81)

 

Of this specific type, by Christie's named the 'Provincial clear glazed bowls', a total of 892 bowls were sold divided over the lots: 1000-1011. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 1000-1011

Jörg & Flecker 2001fig. 82a

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

201070
201070

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 201070

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 64 mm (2.52 inch), diameter of rim 130 mm (5.12 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch)

 

Bowl on footring, straight sides and a partially glazed base. Decorated with freely painted branches with leaves in iron-red and circular patches of green enamel. On the bowl the original Christie's "Vung Tau Cargo" sale lot 1,000 label proving it has been one of 100 bowls sold in lot 1.000. 

 

The green enamel and iron-red have totally deteriorated due to the long immersion in the sea

 

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 roof beams (Jörg & Flecker 2001, p.81)

 

Of this specific type, by Christie's named the 'Provincial clear glazed bowls', a total of 892 bowls were sold divided over the lots: 1000-1011. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lot 1000-1011

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 82a

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>

2010394
2010394

Sold Ceramics - Sold Shipwreck Porcelains - The Vung Tau Cargo, c.1690 - Page 1

 

Object 2010394

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1690

 

Provenance: The Vung Tau Cargo. Chinese Export Porcelain sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 7-8 April 1992.

 

Height 64 mm (2.51 inch), diameter of rim 117 mm (4.61 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch), weight 221 grams (7.80 ounce (oz.))

 

Bowl on footring with spreading sides a straight rim and a partially glazed base. Decorated with freely painted branches with leaves in iron-red and circular patches of green enamel. The enamel and iron-red have deteriorated due to the long immersion in the sea, leaving  nothing but a few traces of green. On the bowl the original Christie's 'Vung Tau Cargo' sale labels proving it has been one of 285 bowls sold in lot 1000. (Amsterdam 1992, p.132)

 

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 892 bowls, by Christie's named the 'Provincial clear glazed bowls', were sold divided over the lots: 1000-1011. (Amsterdam 1992)

 

Condition: Perfect with two pieces of coral attached to the inner footring.

 

References: 

Jongsma 1992, pp.453-456

Amsterdam 1992, lots 1000-1011

Jörg & Flecker 2001, fig. 82a

 

Price: Sold.

 

More pictures >>