Tek Sing Blue and White Cup and Saucer

£ 195.00

A very fine, porcelain cup and saucer set from the Chinese Tek Sing shipwreck. The two items are richly decorated in blue and white. The small cup depicts a floral motif of alternating potted flowers and those growing from the earth. Close inspection reveals that the artist has depicted both chrysanthemums and blossoms. A single, narrow line frames the floral frieze at the top, just below the rim. Inside, within the centre, is a small bird, shown sitting on a rock. Most likely it is an eagle, given the nature of its curved beak. Horizontal lines border the bird, imitating the natural landscape. Concentric circles frame the scene, whilst a spiral frieze decorates the rim of the bowl. The saucer is also richly decorated, with a similar scene. A more detailed eagle is perched on a rock in the centre, the landscape surrounding him. Potted chrysanthemums appear above and below the bird, whilst entwining blossoms sprouts from the right and left. A blue band enframes the pastoral scene, sitting just beneath the rim of the saucer. The reverse of the plate is decorated with two linear patterns, perhaps simple foliage, framing a simple ring base. There is some encrustation to the reverse, typical of shipwreck pottery.

Date: Circa early 19th century AD
Period: Qing Dynasty
Provenance: From the 1822 Tek Sing shipwreck that was discovered by Michael Hatcher in 1999. Previously, N. Crawley private collection, UK.
Condition: Fine condition. Small areas of discoloration and sea water encrustation may be visible. A small hairline crack on the cup.
Product Code: CS-62
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It was at the port of Amoy that the Tek Sing – or True Star – a large junk, was moored. Bound for Jakarta, she was loaded with precious cargo: porcelain, silks, spices, and medicines. There was so much cargo that some was even strapped to the outside of the ship’s hull. The Tek Sing (which means “True Star” in Chinese) was a large Chinese junk, which sank on 6th February 1822 in an area off the South China Sea, known as the “Belvidere Shoals”. Undertaking its attempted journey from Amoy to Jakarta were 1600 emigrants and an enormous cargo, which included 350,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain. The junk would never arrive, sinking into the depths of the sea. On May 12, 1999, Michael Hatcher discovered the wreck of the Tek Sing in an area of the South China sea, north of Java. His crew raised the ship’s cargo in what is described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered. Antique porcelain from a wreck can be worth more than its weight in gold, so the treasure hunters were keen to have the haul examined by experts. They were surprised to find that the porcelain originated from many different places and dates. Some pieces must have been around 100 years old when they were loaded. Tek Sing’s porcelain cargo had been packed so tightly that even after nearly two hundred years under the silt and coral, many examples were in almost pristine condition.

To discover more about the Tek Sing shipwreck, please visit our relevant post: The Tek Sing Shipwreck.

Weight 91.4 g
Dimensions L 10.5 x H 4.5 cm

Colourless Glaze


Blue and White Porcelain


East Asia (Far East)

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