Pater Gratia Oriental Art

The Diana Cargo, 1817

 

The Diana Cargo

 

1817

 

''The Diana'' was owned by Palmer and Co. a powerful Calcutta ship owner and was liscenced

by the English East India Company to sail from Calcutta or Madras to Canton, carrying cotton

 and of course, opium, which was extremely lucrative. The ship would then return to India from

China, laden with silks, tea, preserved fruits and thousands of pieces of beautiful blue and white

porcelain.

 

Unfortunately The Diana was on one of these voyages when, on the 14th of March 1817, she hit

some rocks off the Straits of Malacca and sank. The wreck was identified and recovered in 1994

by Dorian Ball of Malaysian Historical Salvors.

 

Christie's auctioned the porcelain cargo in Amsterdam in March 1995.

2012103
2012103

Shipwreck Porcelains - The Diana Cargo, 1817

 

Object 2012103

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1816

 

Provenance: The Diana Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 6-7 March 1995

 

Height 50 mm (1.97 inch), diameter of rim 270 mm (10.63 inch), diameter of footring 165 mm (6.50 inch), weight 921 grams (32.49 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring, straight rim and an unglazed base. Decorated in underglaze blue with the 'Longevity' pattern, a stylised 'shou' character for long life surrounded by ruyi lappets and stylised Sanscrit 'om' characters. On the base the original 'Christie's Diana Cargo March 1995' sale label. The exact lot number on the 'Christie's Diana Cargo March 1995' label is not readable anymore due to wear, caused by the placement of the label on the base just where it touches the surface as it stands. On the reverse rim the original Christie's lot label.

 

The dish was part of one following lot numbers decorated with a stylised 'shou' character for long life, surrounded by ruyi lappets and stylised Sanscrit 'om' characters; lot 374-416, 1158-1187, 1199-1209, 1224-1225, 1253-1255, 1278-1279, 1284-1288 & 1296-1297. (Amsterdam 1995)

 

In total 1,880 dishes with the 'Longevity' design were sold over the lots: 374-416, 1158-1187, 1199-1209, 1224-1225, 1253-1255, 1278-1279, 1284-1288 & 1296-1297. (Amsterdam 1995)

 

Condition: Four firing flaws to the footring.

 

Reference:

Amsterdam 1995, lot 374-416, 1158-1187, 1199-1209, 1224-1225, 1253-1255, 1278-1279, 1284-1288 & 1296-1297

 

Price: € 199 - $ 221 - £ 179

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

 

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2010997
2010997

Shipwreck Porcelains - The Diana Cargo, 1817

 

Object 2010997

 

Glazed toy figure

 

China

 

c.1816

 

Provenance: The Diana Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 6-7 March 1995

 

Height 63 mm (2.48 inch), dimensions 43 mm (1.69 inch) x 25 mm (0.98 inch), weight 40 grams (1.41 ounce (oz.))

 

Glazed toy figure of a 'happy couple' straw glazed with scattered green and dark spots. On the toy figure the original 'Christie's Diana Cargo March 1995' sale lot 1009/10 label proving it has been one of 10 toy figures sold in lot 1009.

 

Ball states that of the 877 terracotta statues, animal statue predominated. There were crowing cocks, seated dogs, paddling ducks, horses and buffalo. The finest one of all was the boy on a buffalo. Amazingly, the paint had survived on many of them and apart from their desirability for reasons of religion or superstition, they would make attractive display pieces too. The objects were especially popular with the more superstitious southern Chinese communities in Guandong, Fujian, and Zhejiary provinces; and little secular groups. Figures were normally carried as "private" cargo, not in bulk; but there is evidence that there were several hundred on Diana, so maybe the Madrassi principals thought it was worth experimenting with the local markets in India. The Chinese never regarded ceramic sculptures as a serious art form. Unlike Western potters, who were excited by trying to recreate in a ceramic medium the achievements of the European stone and wood sculptural tradition, the Chinese made pottery and porcelain figures as a very cheap substitute only for other media like stone, wood or even ivory and soapstone) in Fujian province'. Ceramic figures never formed the bulk part of a cargo coming back from the West+ except for a brief period a century before Diana, when blanc de Chine figures became sufficiently popular for large quantities to be shipped from a temporary entrepôt at Amoy. Apart from that moment, Diana tells us, more than any other excavated ship's cargo, about what figures the Chinese were producing, and what was popular abroad even when largely divorced from their original context. (Ball 1995, pp.145-149)

 

In total 212 glazed toy figures (of which 66 'happy couple' figures) were sold divided over the lots: 989-1013. (Amsterdam 1995)

 

Condition: Some loss of glaze due to to submergence in sea water.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1995, p.120, lot 989-1013

Ball 1995, pp.145-149

 

Price: € 299 - $ 347 - £ 270

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

 

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2010322
2010322

Shipwreck Porcelains - The Diana Cargo, 1817

 

Object 2010322

 

Bowl

 

China

 

c.1816

 

Provenance: The Diana Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 6-7 March 1995

 

Height 70 mm (2.76 inch), diameter of rim 145 mm (5.71 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch), weight 280 grams (9.88 ounce (oz.))

 

Bowl on footring, slightly flaring rim. Decorated in underglaze blue with two tiers of interlocking lotus panels containing alternating lingzhi fungus stems and fruiting peach sprays. Marked on the base with a seal mark in a double circle, underglaze blue. On the bowl the original "Christie's Diana Cargo March 1995" sale label proving it has been one of 12 similar bowls sold in lot 1097.

 

In total 1,152 bowls with the 'interlocking lotus panels' design, in various sizes were sold divided over the lots: 1042-1060, 1074-1087, 1090-1094, 1097-1099, 1100-1105, 1156-1157 & 1158-1187. (Amsterdam 1995)

 

Condition: A (glazed) firing flaw to the rim, exterior wall and bottom and a 1 mm (0,04 inch) fleabite to the rim.

 

Reference:

Amsterdam 1995, lot 1042-1060, 1074-1087, 1090-1094, 1097-1099, 1100-1105, 1156-1157 & 1158-1187

 

Price: € 199 - $ 221 - £ 179

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

 

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2011318
2011318

Shipwreck Porcelains - The Diana Cargo, 1817

 

Object 2011318

 

Port bottle

 

United Kingdom

 

c.1817

 

Provenance: The Diana Cargo sale, Christie's Amsterdam, 6-7 March 1995

 

Height 235 mm (9.25 inch), diameter 90 mm (3.54 inch), diameter of mouthrim 35 mm (1.38 inch), weight 907 grams (31.99 ounce (oz.))

 

A cylindrical shaped port bottle. On the bottle the original "Christie's Diana Cargo March 1995" sale label proving it has been one of 12 similar bottles sold in lot 1307.

 

Only the captain and his two officers would have taken alcohol, the "Lascar" crew being Muslim and teetotal, yet those three shared between them over 400 bottles of booze. (Ball 1995, p.122)

 

In total 199 port bottles were sold divided over the lots: 1298-1315. (Amsterdam 1995)

  

For an identical bottle, please see;

Condition: Perfect.

 

References:

Amsterdam 1995, lot 1298-1315

Ball 1995, p.122.

 

Price: € 299 - $ 333 - £ 270

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

 

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