Tek Sing Shipwreck

Tek Sing, translating as True Star, was a large Chinese sailing ship, which sank in February 1822. The ship measured 60 metres in length and over 10 metres in width. The cargo was loaded with porcelain, silks, spices and medicines. The ship left the port of Amoy, a central port for Chinese trading prowess, and was bound for the port of Jakarta in Indonesia, from where the valuable cargo would have been designated to the lucrative Eastern and European markets.

After a month of sailing, the captain Io Tauko, decided to attempt a shortcut through the Gaspar Straits, between the Bangk-Belitung Islands. This was notoriously difficult sailing and the Tek Sing ran aground on a reef. The junk sank in about 30 m of water. The remnants of the cargo were discovered the next morning by James Pearl and later recorded in Hursburgh’s “Directions for sailing to the East Indies”, 1848.

Tek Sing Shipwreck Pottery
Blue and White Tek Sing Plate

On May 12th 1999 a British marine expert and wreck hunter, Michael Hatcher, discovered the wreck of the Tek Sing in an area of the South China Sea, north of Java, east of Sumatra and south of Singapore.The Tek Sing shipwreck has been described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain recovered. Over 350,000 pieces of porcelain were recovered and auctioned in Stuttgart, Germany, some of which have ultimately made their way to our collection.

By ancient art manager,

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