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Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia

written by Roxanna Maude Brown

River Books | ISBN 9789749863770

Hardback – 206 pages


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Shipwrecks discovered throughout Southeast Asia and the precious cargoes they contain represent invaluable information for the study of international trade networks. However, these treasure troves of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese ceramics, have up until this point, been unsystematic ally studied and rarely published. This book addresses this issue with the author tracing the development and fluctuations of the international ceramic trade between China and Southeast Asia focusing specifically on the 14th-15th centuries, a period known in ceramic scholarship as the Ming Gap. The term Ming Gap arose to describe the ban placed on the export of Chinese ceramics by the Ming Dynasty. The author illustrates how as a result, Southeast Asian ceramics began to fill this void and for over a century became the dominant ceramic trade ware throughout the region. Analyzing over 120 shipwrecks, the author for the first time proposes a chronology of ceramic production placing Thai ceramics into five chronological periods and discussing issues such as the relationship between Sukhothai and Sawankhalok kilns, the discovery of exported Burmese celadon wares and the location of Vietnamese production sites for ceramic exports.

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