Swatow wares from the Batam Wreck


In 2014 some swatow wares appeared in the antique market in Singapore.  They consisted of mainly big plates with the single phoenix motif, jarlets with floral, lion or horse motif and cover boxes with horse, hare or chi dragon motif.  There are also small number of plates with the double phoenix motif. The bowls consisted to those with the popular heron in lotus pond motif and that with floral motif.   There are also some small bowls (dia. 10 cm) with the popular lion motif on the inner base and rather rare molded floral motif on inner wall. The overglaze enamels on the exterior has degraded and only traces remaining.  There are also bowls with overglaze enamelled decoration on interior and exterior which suffered susbtantial degradation and hardly visible.  Small quantity of low fired lead glaze sancai cover boxes were also recovered.

The wreck is located near the Indonesian Island of Batam.  The wreck does not appear to be big and located only about 100m from the coast.  It could be of Indonesian origin and used for inter Island trading.

In terms of decoration, many of the wares are stylistically similar to those recovered from the Binh Thuan shipwreck and likely dated similarly to around 1600-1620 A.D.  However, the Binh Thuan cargo has more plates with different variety of decorations.  In the Batam wreck the decoration is essentially limited to those with single phoenix and small quantiy of double phoenix.  There are however more variety of cover boxes from the Batam wreck. 


Group of Jarlets, some with degraded lead glaze

Those white glaze jarlets, bowls have degraded overglaze enamels

Plate with Single pheonix motif 

Plate with Single phoenix motif.  Dia. 27 cm 
Plate with double phoenix motif.  Dia. 27 cm 
Kraak klapmuts bowl . Dia. 22 cm
Small Bowl (10 cm) with lion motif. Interior has interesting molded floral motif. Overglaze enamelled decoration on exterior degraded with only traces left
Bowl with heron in lotus pond motif.  Dia. 15 cm 
Bowl with floral motif.  Dia. 15 cm 
Pot with floral motif.  Ht. 6 cm 
Blue and white Jarlet with prunus motif 
Cover box with hare and horse motif.  Dia. 10 cm 
Cover box with chilin motif.  Dia. 10 cm 
Cover box with horse motif Dia. 10 cm
Cover box with fish leaping over wave and horse motif.  Dia. 12.5 cm 
Cover box with mandarin duck in lotus pond motif.  Dia. 10.5 cm 
Small cover box with waves and flower motif.  Dia. 5 cm 
Small cover box with waves and flower motif.  Dia. 6.5 cm
Jarlet with lion motif.  Dia. 8 cm 
Jarlet with floral motif.  Dia. 8 cm 
Jarlet with floral motif.  Dia. 8 cm
Jarlet with Deer motif (left) pine tree (right)
Small jarlet with vertical lines. Dia. 5.5 cm
Lead glaze melon-shaped jarlets.  Cover missing


Written by: NK Koh  (15 Jul 2015)


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