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. 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. 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 about 350,000 pieces of the ship’s cargo in what is described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered.
Selection of Tek Sing Bowls with Shu Symbol
A fine selection of Tek Sing porcelain bowls, each displaying different hues of underglaze blue pigment. The bowls stand on a tall ringed base and rise to a round body with a wide mouth. The bowls feature friezes of geometric motives, including the Chinese symbol for longevity, known as Shou. Each bowl has a blue undulating band circling the bottom of the bowl. the insides are unadorned.
Provenance: From the Tek Sing shipwreck, sunk in 1822 and recovered in 1999.
Condition: Very fine, with minor deposits and encrustations. Some discolouration might be visible on some parts of the items.