Our van entered the Rangsit campus of Bangkok University and stopped in front of a sign for the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum. After walking down a slight slope, the museum is revealed to resemble a partially underground kiln. Founded in 2000 and opened to the public in 2005, the museum is home to over 16,000 ancient ceramics donated by university founder Surat Osathanugrah. About 2,000 of these items are on view at the current exhibition.
After strolling past the model of a northern-style cross-draft kiln and showing our Muse Pass, we entered the museum that has just reopened after the post-flood renovations. The permanent exhibition highlights the development of Southeast Asian ceramics, especially those from major kiln sites in Thailand, as well as the history of Thai and other Southeast Asian trade ceramics based on evidence found at shipwreck sites in this region.
The display of different ceramics on the sand caught our eyes. The first space reflects that pottery found at archaeological sites dating from 1380-1430 had been from all across Southeast Asia, including Thailand (Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai and San Kamphaeng kiln sites), Vietnam and China. At the time, the Chinese traded ceramics of celadon and brown-glazed wares, but there was no blue and white wares at all.
The second space shows trade ceramics from Thailand, Vietnam, China and Myanmar, which date back to 1488-1505 and were commonly found on shipwrecks. The third space displays artefacts from a period of competition between Thai and Chinese ceramics from 1520-1560. Thai kilns in Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai produced large numbers of underglaze black ware, a competitor to the Chinese blue and white ware.
Archaeological discoveries keep confirming that there was a thriving community here long before Stamford Raffles “created” Singapore in the 19th century. The latest evidence suggests that Temasek, or ancient Singapore, could have had an established government with a head ruler or chieftain way back in the late 14th century.
In unearthing this evidence during a dig at Empress Place, archaeologists have shed light on gaps in knowledge of the past. Singapore’s history was supposed to have begun with the providential role of colonials who made it a functional landing post. The evidence suggests otherwise. In digging it up, the archaeological team has provided additional proof of Singapore’s international provenance as well. It has discovered Chinese imperial-grade ceramics produced between 1375 and 1425. These had been bestowed by the Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu on overseas leaders. Although Raffles undoubtedly gave Singapore a new lease of life as a commercial city, one that lasts to this day, he was not the originator of Singapore. To say that it had flourished before him does not detract from his importance but places it in historical perspective.
THERE is growing evidence in support of a cultural tradition that binds the Philippines and the Northern Marianas.
Dr. Mike T. Carson and Dr. Hsiao-chun Hung are back in the Northern Philippines to explore further a site rich in shards of pottery suggestive of the earliest pottery-making tradition in the region.
Dr. Carson and Dr. Hung are in Magapit, Cagayan close to the border of Ilocos Norte, in the northern Philippines from March to April 2015.
Variety learned that the site which Dr. Carson referred to as the “Hilltop Site of Magapit,” is famous in world archaeology as a large mound of shell debris, in some places more than 5 meters high, containing abundant broken pottery that is highly distinctive and representative of the earliest pottery-making in the region.
Several research teams from Japan, the U.S., and the Philippines have worked there since the 1970s.
Dr. Carson told Variety yesterday, “Especially exciting right now is growing evidence that the highly distinctive decorated pottery of the Cagayan Valley was part of a special cultural tradition, found not only in the Cagayan Valley but also in other places.”
He said other sites in the northern through central Philippines have yielded pottery with similar decorations, although those sites have not yet been dated securely.
The Johnson Museum’s strong collection of Vietnamese ceramics is currently supplemented by the long-term loan of the exceptional Menke Collection. Over the last two decades, significant research has attested to the vitality of Vietnamese ceramics as both objects of aesthetic appreciation and important elements of historical material culture and trade relations in Asia. In dialogue with recent developments in scholarship on Vietnamese art, culture, and history, this symposium will bring together established and emerging international specialists to present cross-disciplinary and cross-regional insights and inquiries.
Registration is free but seating is limited; please contact Elizabeth Saggese at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607 254-4642 to reserve a space by April 3. General inquiries can be directed to Pamela N. Corey at email@example.com
Archaeologists in West Papua have discovered archaeological remains on a settlement site situated on a strategic location overlooking the Cendrawasih coast. Finds include numerous colonial period artefacts – European and Chinese ceramics. [Many thanks to Hari Suroto, who is also quoted in the article, for the heads up].
Archaeologists in Napan District, Nabire Regency, Papua Province, have discovered a Mosandurei site which is an ancient settlement.
“The ancient village Mosandurei was discovered during the process of an archaeological research, said researcher staff of Jayapura Archaeological Station, Hari Suroto, in Jayapura, Papua, on Saturday, March 28, as quoted by Antara News.
According to Suroto, stone tools beads, Chinese ceramic from Ming and Ching Dynasty (XVI-XVII, XVII-XVIII centuries), European ceramic wares, bottles, and earthenware.
“Manufacturer stamps are found on the European ceramics, namely Fregout & Co Saastrusht Dragon Made in Holland and Petrus Regout & Co Maastricht made in Holland,” Suroto added.
Photo taken on Feb 3, 2015 shows a kettle uncovered from the wrecked ship Nanhai No. 1 at the Maritime Silk Road Museum in Hailing island of Yangjiang, South China’s Guangdong province. The 30-meter-long merchant vessel, built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), sank off the coast of Guangdong province about 800 years ago. More than 900 pieces of porcelain, about 120 gold items and thousands of silver coins have been uncovered since the excavation began, according to Sun Jian, technical director of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Protection Center of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The discovered objects primarily are porcelain from Jingdezhen kiln in Jiangxi province, Dehua kiln in Fujian province and Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province.
Photo taken on Jan. 28, 2015 shows artifacts discovered on the Nanhai (South China Sea) No. 1 ship at the “Crystal Palace” at the Marine Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang, south China’s Guangdong Province. After seven years of excavation, more than 60,000 porcelain artifacts from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) have been discovered on the ship, which had lain undersea for more than 800 years and was put into protection in the Marine Silk Road Museum after its salvage in 2007. [Photo: Xinhua/Liu Dawei]