Large Chinese Ming Dynasty Blue & White Porcelain Dish - Binh Thuan Shipwreck - Ex. Christie's
This blue & white "Swatow" porcelain dish was made during the Wanli Reign (1573 - 1620) of the Ming Dynasty. It is quite "heavily-potted", coated in a thick crackled glaze and decorated in underglaze blue of good colour with the "double phoenix" pattern, two phoenixes standing facing each other, presumably male and female, surrounded by foliage and blossoms. Swatow, or Zhangzhou ceramics, were often exported to the South East Asian market. A common feature of such ware is the sand / kiln grit that adheres to the glaze on the underside.
This example was excavated from the "Binh Thuan" wreck for which there is evidence suggesting it was the junk owned by a merchant, I Sin Ho, that sank in 1608 off the south of Vietnam on its way from China to Johore whilst transporting a cargo for the Dutch. It was sold as part of a multiple lot at "The Binh Thuan Shipwreck Sale" at Christie's in Melbourne, Australia, in 2004. The paper spacer with the Christie's label was used for multiple lots that were stacked on top of each other.
Diameter 27.75 cm (11 inches). Fine condition; some surface wear, of course, but no restoration or repair.
Provenance/ information: The "Binh Thuan" shipwreck was first discovered in 2001. The wreck was subsequently excavated by Martime Explorations in conjunction with the Vietnam Salvage Corporation (Visal), the Binh Thuan People's Committee, and the Ministry of Culture. The quality of the dishes from this wreck varied greatly from broken and damaged dishes, or intact dishes but with poor colour, to superior examples in perfect condition with the underglaze cobalt blue of very good colour.
Dr. Flecker's archaeological report on the Binh Thuan Shipwreck can be downloaded at this address: www.maritime-explorations.com/BinhThuan.pdf
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