The Blues of the Santa Cruz: A study of porcelain color and composition

Dublin Core

Title

The Blues of the Santa Cruz: A study of porcelain color and composition

Description

For the study of ceramics found in a shipwreck, stylistic and provenance analysis are two approaches that can provide critical information about period and trade route of the vessel. In this paper, we investigate the characteristics of trade ceramics from the well-preserved Santa Cruz shipwreck, which sunk along the west coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines. Underwater excavation has brought to light more than 15,000 ceramics, mainly Chinese Jingdezhen blue-and-white porcelain and Longquan celadon of the Hongzhi period (1488-1505 CE) as well as other wares from Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma. Here, we have focused on the Jingdezhen blue-and-white porcelain and selected twelve dishes with similar decorative patterns, but showing different tones and shades of the blue color. The dishes were most likely produced in the same workshop or within a small region and the primary goal was to investigate production variability. The chemical composition of the ceramics and the characteristics of the blue pigment were studied non-invasively with portable X-ray fluorescence pXRF) and fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS). Results have shown that pXRF data are relatively homogeneous which reflects some constancy in term of raw materials procurement usage. On the other hand, although the blue pigment was as expected a cobalt-based material, FORS spectral profiles present significant differences which might be due to variations in the pigment composition and/or firing conditions, while for others, they could also be
related to weathering. From an archaeometry perspective, this research provides some insight on production standardization in Jingdezhen as well as on subsequent modifications that can affect ceramics found in an underwater archaeological context.

Creator

Ellen Hsieh
Christian Fischer
Bobby C. Orillaneda

Publisher

The Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Date

11/24/2017

Rights

Ellen Hsieh
Christian Fischer
Bobby C. Orillaneda

Files

HsiehFINAL.pdf

Citation


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