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Hoi An Shipwreck Yields Thousands of Precious Artifacts

Once an international trading hub, ancient pottery from Hoi An has been found as far away as Africa. But a recent, local discovery has proved to be more impressive than the long distances some pieces have travelled. This week, a salvage company announced that they have successfully excavated a 15th century trading vessel containing 16,000, highly-prized artifacts.

In 2003, Doan Anh Duong Co. Ltd. received permission to excavate a shipwreck in the sea of Cu Lao Cham. After 4 years of work, the project has been completed and over 16,000 artifacts were brought up from the ocean floor.

Under their contract with the Quang Nam People’s Committee and the ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Doan Anh Duong received 70% of artifacts recovered from the wreck. Many pieces are worth well over $10,000 so that sounds like a pretty decent haul. The remaining pieces were given to the Quang Nam museum.

The ship, 30m long and 10m wide, sank when sailing from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Silk Road and has yielded the highest concentration of artifacts compared to previous Vietnamese maritime excavations.

Most of the ceramics found on the ship originated from Chu Dau village in Hai Duong Province which became famous for its artistic prowess in the 15th and 16 centuries. Characterized by a combination of styles from the Ly and Tran dynasties, the Chu Dao ceramics featured brilliant blue, green, yellow and red transparent glazes.

In addition to a variety of colors, many of the pieces sported decorative motifs inspired by daily life including, women in Vietnamese hats & long dresses, childen tending to a buffalo, a bird perched on the branch of a peach tree and storks flying over a field.

Hoi An was once Vietnam’s premier commercial hub, which, by the 18th century, was considered the best destination for trading in all of Asia by Japanese and Chinese merchants.

After the Tay Son rebellion, the town’s power decreased dramatically as the new rulers didn’t have much interest in international trade, leaving French-controlled Da Nang as the main trade conduit to central Vietnam.

[VietnamNet Bridge]

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