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.
The author, the late Dr Roxanna M. Brown, was the founding director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, Bangkok University and was one of the world's leading experts in Southeast Asia ceramics, having devoted over 35 years of her life to their study and preservation. Her tragic passing in May 2008 is not only a loss to her many friends and family but also to the field of ceramic research and Southeast Asian studies in general. It is hoped that this publication will provide a lasting legacy to her memory and countless achievements.