Antique Chinese Porcelain Bird & Butterfly Plate - Ca Mau Cargo Shipwreck 1723 For SaleA wonderful vibrant Chinese blue on white porcelain plate dating to the Yongzheng Period of China's Qing Dynasty (1723-1735), and salvaged from the Ca Mau shipwreck. An officially recorded piece with Ca Mau sticker and numbers.
The plate depicts an evocative scene of a striding bird, perhaps a grouse, amidst an idyllic garden setting with tall blossoming flowers and grass. The bird raises its head, as if squawking and looks up at a flying insect. The scene is bordered by four lappets, within which lie furtheridyllic landscapes with flowers and insects. The lappets are interspersed with tall sunflowers and the rim is decorated with hatch motif. The exterior of the plate is decorated with bamboo shoots.
This plate was exported from Jingdezhen (a Kiln in southern China) on the Ca Mau vessel, a Junk bound for the port of Jakarta, modern day Indonesia. The Junk, or large trade vessel, was capitalizing on the booming business of Chinese Export porcelain. The beginning of the 18th Century saw an insatiable appetite for Chinese ceramics sweep across most of Europe, with coffee and tea drinking a new and popular pass-time for the wealthy and middle-class alike.
Archaeologists have discerned that the final hours of the Ca Mau were spent ablaze, as the crew failed to control a fire on the ships deck. She finally sank thirty nautical miles off the Ca Mau peninsula in southern Vietnam, her memory lost until fishermen happened upon her whilst trawling in 1998.
Diameter: 4 3/4 inches.
Condition: Unrestored. Overall exceptional condition.
Ca Mau wreck. Salvaged 1998 and catalogued by the Vietnamese authorities. This is a hard to find Ca Mau ceramic with official excavation number and Ca Mau sticker, indicating that it was legally removed and catalogued by the Vietnamese Authorities. Similar pieces without provenance, almost certainly sourced from the illicit Bangkok art market, should be avoided as their investment value and legality are dubious. Since the ratification of the UNESCO1 convention, cooperative ventures between South East Asian countries and salvage companies have been effectively halted. Hence, well provenanced antique Shipwreck Ceramics are no longer appearing freshly on the market. Pieces such as this therefore constitute a finite resource and are some of the best investments available on the art market as a whole.
Ceramics from the Hoi An wreck can now be found on display in the worlds top museums, including theVictoria and Albertand the British museum. For another plate from the Ca Mau, currently at the V & A, please see the following link.
Reference: Please see Tau Co Ca Mau (The Ca Mau shipwreck), 1723-1735 by Dinh Chien.
1 UNESCO convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage, 2001.
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