Sunday, 1 February 2009

Chinese junk

I am almost painfully addicted to the work of a Malaysian company called Tradewind Treasures, which gives new life to historic porcelain shards that have been recovered from the floor of the South China Sea. Their jewellery makes a feature of sunken cargo from ships that went down along the ancient maritime Silk Route.

Being a button-free sort of boy, the real gent has cufflinks made from 19th century Qing porcelain from the Desaru shipwreck (circa 1830), and I have a ring from a 17th century Ming piece that was found in the Wanli shipwreck. It's thought that this Portuguese vessel was carrying a cargo of blue and white kraakware, a kind of export porcelain, and went down circa 1625. At the time it must have been a disastrous loss, but it's a happy ending for these broken but hardy bits of crockery.

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