Dr. Teresa Canepa introduced the most important collection of seventeenth-century Chinese porcelain in the world, assembled by the distinguished British diplomat Sir Michael Butler (1927–2013). Butler’s lavish collection covers most types of porcelain produced at Jingdezhen, in Jiangxi Province, during the seventeenth century known as the ‘Transitional Period’ between the ceasing of production of the Imperial kilns in 1608 to the reinstatement of Imperial supervisors in 1683.
SEACS members and their guests attended this long-awaited talk by ceramics expert Peter Lam on 'Kitchen Ch'ing porcelain made in Hong Kong'. Professor Lam introduced the 'Kitchen Ch'ing' blue and white kiln site in Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong focusing on its dating, type-forms and context comparing it to similar items found from SEA shipwrecks and sites that were familiar to many SEACS members, and providing references for newcomers to the topic of 'Kitchen Ch'ing' ceramics.
Jaap Otte, a native of the Netherlands, presented findings of his ongoing study of Japanese ceramics exported to Southeast Asia, primarily from Indonesia, from the 19th to the first half of the 20th century, which included architecturally-used ceramics, excavated material and contemporary written sources. His presentation included the following wares: stoneware “bartmann” jugs; water storage jars from Hizen(?); Nagasaki ware bottles; Arita porcelain; Awaji ware; and industrial earthenware and porcelain.
Dr. SAKAI Takashi shared his research into the glazed ceramic shards found in the Segaran district of the Trowulan archaeological site, East Java, Indonesia as well as a number of other Southeast Asian sites. Trowulan was the former capital (1293-c. 1527) of the Majapahit Kingdom, the largest and last of the Hindu Java kingdoms.
Our speaker, Khun Atthasit Sukkham of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Bangkok University, focused on a trade time period that merits more attention: the last half of the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Based on his and Clifford Pereira and Asyaari Muhamad's research, we looked at six shipwrecks found in Southeast Asia in this time period, which had ceramic assemblages: the Samed Ngam, Diana, Tek Sing, Desaru, Francis-Garnier (Man Nok or Ruea Mail) and Tha Krai. By analysing the origins, typologies, dates, functions and selections of these ships’ ceramics, it was clear that the Chinese-made armorial, Chinese-made bencharong and European ceramics offer diagnostic evidence of post-peak ceramic trading patterns. These ceramics were products for sale, remains of earlier ceramic shipments or utensils for on-board living. This body of evidence is comparable with that of terrestrial archaeological sites that suggest other cultural influences among the more recent maritime ceramic trade in Southeast Asia. SEACS members can watch a video of this talk on our Membership Premium Video page.