The Tang Shipwreck: Art and exchange in the 9th century
- About the Book
This book tells the story and presents the objects found on the Tang Shipwreck, discovered off Belitung Island in Indonesia in 1998, and now housed at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. It is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent times. Found at the site was a remarkable cargo of some 60,000 Chinese ceramics dating from the Tang dynasty (618–907), along with finely wrought gold and silver objects, bronze mirrors, and more ordinary objects belonging to the crew.
Just as remarkable were the remnants of the ship itself, which consisted of wooden planks sewn together with rope. This construction technique clearly indicated that the vessel had been built in the Persian Gulf or western reaches of the Indian Ocean, and had sailed all the way from the Middle East to China, and was on its way home when it ran aground in the Java Sea.
The Tang Shipwreck is a time capsule into ninth-century China, but also reflects many other cultures. The ceramics were made for consumers halfway around the world, which demonstrates the market demand and taste could play a role in mass production even in an age of agonizingly slow and perilous communication.
The ten essays in this profusely illustrated volume discuss the ceramics and other commodities onboard, the ship's construction and possible origin, China's maritime trade in the Tang period, Chinese ceramic production, ports of call in Asia and Southeast Asia, and life on board the ship.
- About the Author(s)
Alan Chong, Editor
Stephen A. Murphy, Editor