TRADE CERAMICS FROM SELECTED SITES IN WESTERN JAPAN, LATE 14TH TO 17TH CENTURIES

Barbara Seyock

Abstract


In this paper I attempt to illuminate the contribution of trade ceramic finds to an understanding of the maritime trade history of Japan in times characterized by international trade restrictions, political turmoil, pirate activities, and the appearance of European ships in East Asian waters. Despite the official maritime trade prohibition policy of early Ming China, junks with cargos of up to several tens of thousands of pieces of porcelain and glazed stoneware sailed between markets around the South China Sea. Junks moreover sailed north, passing the Taiwan Strait, and up to the port cities of the Japanese archipelago, either crossing the East China Sea directly from eastern Chinese ports, or following the route along the Ryuffffkyuffff Islands to Satsuma in southern Kyuffffshuffff and further north. Lively exchange across the East China Sea is evident in the ceramics from various excavations in the Japanese archipelago. Trade ceramics from China, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as from the Korean peninsula make up a high percentage of the archaeological complexes from 14th to 17th century sites. This paper focuses on the trade ceramics found at selected sites in western Japan. Key questions concern the structure and development of trade networks in the East Asian Seas.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7152/bippa.v26i0.12002