via University of Helsinki: The next Down by the Water webinar will feature Dr Sharon Wong from the Chinese University of Hong Kong talking about mercury jars and jars across East and Southeast Asia.
Jars were crucial objects in global maritime trade; however, they have received little attention by archaeologists comparing with other Chinese delicate ceramic vessels with higher aesthetic value, such as blue-and-white porcelain. In the South China Sea No. 1 Shipwreck, a very distinctive type of small-mouth jar (also called ‘mercury jar’) was found in the cabin. This talk will examine an ongoing debate regarding what this type of jar contained for export: rice beer? Mercury? Gun powder or just an empty container? Why were these jars distributed widely near the ports or districts along the sea route? This talk will shed light on our new understanding of the social life of jars across the seas and various drinking cultures from East Asia to Southeast Asia.