The mystery of the Ming dynasty galleon and China’s 16th-century exports – Telegraph Blogs

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Porcelain from the Nan'ao One

Porcelain from the Nan’ao One

Three years ago, a group of local fishermen were diving off the side of their boat near Nan’ao island chain, a cluster of small islands which lie close to the south China coast, roughly two-thirds of the way between Hong Kong and Xiamen.

On the sea-floor, one of the fishermen found ten porcelain plates, which he promptly scooped up, stashing a few of them away and taking the others to the market to sell.

An informant promptly ratted on him and some officials from the Guangdong Cultural Relic Research Institute came to have a word about where the porcelain came from.

When the fisherman took the researchers to the site, they discovered the wreck of a 65-foot-long ship, probably a merchant vessel, which may have been carrying tens of thousands of pieces of blue-and-white porcelain to foreign markets.

More importantly, the researchers dated the ship to the late Ming dynasty, probably during the reign of…

Continue reading: The mystery of the Ming dynasty galleon and China’s 16th-century exports – Telegraph Blogs.