Maritime Silk Road Essay

1975 WordsMar 12, 20128 Pages
Evidence of Maritime Silk Road: Southeast Asia Shipwrecks from 14th to 15th Centuries Introduction Much of our modern day information about the Maritime Silk Road has been primarily based on the historical writings from the Chinese imperial court, the Arab traders, western merchants as well as the Majapahit Empire. Although archaeological findings at ancient port sites have served as evidence to support these historical texts on maritime trade, it can never be sufficient. Other sources of evidences, such as ancient shipwrecks, are necessary as they serve as an additional avenue to validate the accuracy of our understanding of the Maritime Silk Road. This essay will examine a few shipwrecks from the 14th to 15th centuries and observe the significance of these artefacts to our understanding of ancient maritime trade. Southeast Asia Shipwrecks from 14th to 15th centuries Turiang Wreck The Turiang, a Chinese junk believed to be a 14th century wreck, was discovered in the South China Sea by Sten Sjostran in 1998. It was carrying a mixed cargo of foodstuff, elephant tusks and more than six thousand ceramic vessels of Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese origins. This was significant because it is one of the earliest shipwrecks discovered with Thai ceremics from Sukhothai kilns and suggested that the dominance of Chinese ceramics in the export markets was beginning to be threatened by Thai and Vietnamese producers1. Nonetheless, the presence of the huge numbers of Chinese ceramics highlights the ability of China to mass produce goods on such large scale that was unprecedented until the period of western industrial revolution. The wreck also prompted a reassessment of the relative importance of the Sukhothai kilns and suggests that the Sukhothai kilns were already producing ceremics for export much earlier than previously thought. In addition, the presence of fish

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