MARITIME EXPLORATIONS
Binh Thuan Wreck Details & Photos

 

- The Binh Thuan Wreck was found by fishermen 40 nautical miles off the coast of Binh Thuan Province in southern Vietnam. She lay undisturbed in 40 m of water for nearly 400 years.

- The soft sediments preserved the lower hull of a 24 m long ship. She was divided by bulkheads into 25 narrow compartments. The hardwood rudder and the bases of the foremast and mainmast remained in place. The Binh Thuan Wreck has been positively identified as a Chinese junk, one of only a handful found in Southeast Asia.

- As with most ships outward bound from China, a large portion of her cargo space was occupied by cast-iron pans. The ceramics cargo was stowed above the iron, in this case the first full consignment of Zhangzhou (Swatow) porcelain ever found. In all likelihood, there was a cargo of silk above the ceramics.

- Robust and beautifully painted Zhangzhou ware was made almost exclusively for the Southeast Asian and Japanese market. Production was limited to the period between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries. The shipwreck cargo comprised roughly equal numbers of underglaze blue-and-white and overglaze enamel decorated ware, mostly in the form of dishes, bowls, jarlets, and covered boxes. The Southeast Asians and Japanese prized Zhangzhou porcelain above all other ceramics. It was used in ceremony and passed down as family heirlooms. In the Philippines it was often buried with the dead. A reasonable amount was also shipped to the European market.

- Research by Maritime Explorations' researcher, Peter Potters, strongly suggests that the Binh Thuan Wreck was the junk of the Chinese merchant, I Sin Ho. His ship was lost off southern Vietnam in 1608 while bringing silks and other Chinese goods to trade with the Dutch, who had set up a base in Johor.

 

A jumble of stem-cups and jarlets.

Leaping fish on a square dish.

Phoenix on medium dish.

     

A stack of large phoenix dishes.

A rare example of surviving enamels.

A 'curiosity' set of dishes.

     

Double phoenix dish.

Ducks on a pond.

The Chinese character for 'Spring'.

     

Silver ewer with lid attached.

Glistening brown jar.

Silver kettle with brass handles.