Ca Mau - The Shipwreck of 1725 - Superb Chinese Blue and White
On 29th-31st January 2007, in the auction rooms of Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, the sale of 76,000 pieces of one of the largest and most evocative shipwrecks was sold. England and the Netherlands were the main importers of tea and with it came hundreds of thousands of tea wares from which to drink it. The porcelain would have acted as the ballast, with the tea and the silk, another commodity in high demand, on top. China was largely closed to foreign trade but due to the demand from Europe for tea, silk and its fine white porcelain, a port at Canton was opened.
This Junk, as the experts have deduced, was on its way from Canton (now Guangzhou) to Batavia (now Jakarta). A ferocious fire caused the junk to sink in the area known as Ca Mau. The cargo lay on the sea bed for the next 280 years. The porcelain had been made in the kilns of Jingdezhen, the city where all the Chinese Imperial porcelain was produced and therefore associated with the finest of Chinese porcelain, the pieces are in remarkably good condition. It was the local Vietnamese fishermen who first started illegal dredging of the cargo but after reports in a local newspaper the Vietnamese Government mounted a full-scale operation to recover all the cargo, and after two years of bad weather conditions, strong currents and technical problems, the cargo was finally recovered and sold at the world famous auctioneers Sotheby’s and amazingly finished up in your collection. The quality of the 300 year old porcelain is quite remarkable considering it has been on the seabed, only showing small signs of sea salvage.
Ca Mau Landscape and Trellis Saucer
Saucer Diameter 11.5 cm