oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Chinese porselein afkomstig van Portugese skeepswrakke aan die Suid-Afrikaanse kus, 1552-1647

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1018-0745



The Portuguese discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries were dependend on the caravel. In it oceans were crossed and continents connected, to give Europeans a new dimension of the mystical East. The caravels were gradually adapted and improved to become the enormous trade carracks built in the East. Through combat and warfare Portuguese maritime control was established. Few or no consignment notes survived; consequently porcelain's worth as a trade commodity has been totally underestimated in existing literature. Today shipwrecks are one of the most important sources for researchers wanting to cast light on the content and size of ships' cargoes. There are nine Portuguese shipwrecks on the South African coast that yield large quantities of porcelain sherds. These can help to cast new light on the importance of porcelain as a trade commodity between 1552 and 1647 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the first half of the Transitional period up 1647. The Transitional period spans the period between the Ming- and the Qing Dynasties, from 1644-1662.

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