An Interesting Chinese Kangxi Mark Hard Paste Porcelain Salvaged Shipwreck Baluster Vase

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Origin: Chinese
Period: Kangxi
Provenance: Unknown
Date: 1662-1722
Height: 16 inches
Base Diameter: 5.5 inches
Top Diameter: 6.25 inches

Recovered from an unidentified wreck and still partially enveloped with sea bed encrustations, the shipwreck cargo blue and white baluster shaped vase decorated in under glazed blue enamels, with figures and foliage visible, the neck and base with double ruled borders to the neck and base, the underside with a six character Kangxi mark (1662-1722) surviving from a cargo wreck.

There are lime deposits and root marks amongst the encrustations present on the amphora. Intact, this evocative piece of salvage is in as found, original condition. The seabed encrustations remain undisturbed to most areas and when in the sea, these encrustations essentially preserve the treasures. The rope tie handle to the neck of the jar is also amazingly still largely present. One could remove the encrustations without too much bother, they are relatively unstable in parts so do flake off if handled roughly.

Around 1680, Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722) established his authority over all parts of China after a long period of civil strife. The porcelain factories in Jingdezhen that were demolished in 1675 resumed production and within a few years exports were booming. Chinese junks sailed to Batavia, bringing their porcelain to the market. From there, it was shipped to the Netherlands in VOC (Dutch East India Company, 1602–1799) vessels. Kangxi porcelain is very well made, with a thin body, a balanced shape and a smooth glaze without impurities. Cobalt blue oxide was subtly applied in varying degrees of saturation, suggesting depth and volume. The colour ranges from a silvery to a deep dark blue; in the best pieces the details and the craftsmanship are amazing.

There have been a number of notable Chinese wrecks in the past 30 years, the most famous three being The Hatcher Cargo, from a Chinese junk that sank in around 1643, the Vung Tau Cargo of 1690-1700 salvaged from a Chinese junk sunk by fire en route to Jakarta, and perhaps the most famous; the Nanking Cargo salvaged from the Geldermalsen, a Dutch East Indiaman that sank off Jakarta around 1751. This piece would fit into the cargo of the Vung Tau best as the wreck comprised mostly of Kangxi blue-and-white porcelain in sets intended for display.

Hugely intriguing.

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