Message and Foreword written by Malaysian authorities about our Wanli shipwreck project.

To view or to purchase the full catalogue: "The Wanli Shipwreck and its Ceramic Cargo," go to: Publications.

The Wanli
Ming dynasty porcelain and kraak porcelain and other Asian pottery from the Wanli shipwreck. This site also offers antique Chinese porcelain and other Asian antiques
Click on above images to view Antique Ming dynasty Porcelain for sale
Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd.
To this Home page
Archaeology report
A fictitious story based on archaeology and historical circumstances
To view our pictures and videos
By Malaysia's Minister for Culture, Arts and Herritage
Porcelains from the shipwreck
History and developments at Jingdezhen, "The porcelain center of the world"
Reign marks and other inscriptions seen in the Wanli cargo
To view 11th - 19th century ceramic artifacts for sale
Interpretation of border emblems
Interpretation of medallion motifs
Measurements of foot rings on plates and dishes
Porcelains from the shipwreck

I am extremely proud to have encouraged this project that throws light on Malaysia’s past as part of a worldwide trading network. Over the past dozen years maritime archaeology has added a huge volume of unexpected primary data and thousands of artefacts to our knowledge of history.  The Wanli Shipwreck, the subject of this publication, is only the most recent site in a series of explorations of underwater sites off Malaysia.  One after the other, nine sites have been investigated off the east coast of our peninsula since 1994.  For this, we can thank Sten Sjostrand of Nanhai Marine Archaeology who systematically identified the sites and openly shared artefacts as well as knowledge.  These sites join a list of other wreck sites investigated by various other entities in previous years.

My own personal visit to the waters above the Wanli ship’s wreckage allowed me to appreciate the investigation even more fully.  There is a strong element of adventure involved with finding old shipwrecks, but adventure can be empty and selfish if there are no higher concerns.  In this case those higher concerns included a full, thorough documentation of the remains of the vessel and all its remaining cargo.
Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim
Malaysia's Minister for Culture, Art and Heritage.
The excavation required an intimate acquaintance with the sea and with the boats, ships and heavy equipment required for underwater exploration.  Brave, experienced and safety-conscious divers were essential.  Good planning coordinated the dive operations with weather and sea conditions.  Tenacity carried the exploration forward through five diving seasons even when it became clear that most of the artefacts were damaged in what is theorized to have been an explosion that sank the vessel. An enterprise with only adventure diving or financial reward as its goal would have floundered.

I am happy to say that this project in underwater archaeology did not flounder.  On the contrary, this publication offers a definitive view of a shipwreck on the seabed off Terengganu.  The process of onboard artefact recording, dive planning and artefact preservation and following research in which the Maritime section of the Department of Museums and Antiquities fully shared, is brought together here as a thorough account of the finds and some essential analysis of their import.  Of course, there will be future analysis and the Department of Museums is charged with keeping the nation’s share of the artefacts safe for future research.

Since the 1990s, maritime archaeology has been one of most important sources of significant numbers of new acquisitions for the Department of Museums Malaysia (formally, Department of Museums and Antiquities).  This has led the department to create a special extensive exhibition on Malaysian maritime archaeology which was initially planned to be only a temporary display.  However, because of its popularity with museum visitors and its significance for understanding our maritime history, the exhibition has been continuously extended since its original opening in late 2001.

I am pleased to note that this is the third publication to be sponsored by the Department of Museums Malaysia.  The first was a catalogue by Roxanna Brown and Sten Sjostrand entitled Maritime Archaeology and Shipwreck Ceramics in Malaysia (2002) for the maritime exhibition mentioned above. The second a summary of all work done with marine archaeology in Malaysia by Sten Sjostrand, Dato' Adi Haji Taha and Samsol Sahar. This third publication presents the entire Wanli (1625) shipwreck project and all its artefacts.

The Department of Museums has now worked together with Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sendirian Berhad on the excavation of two important sites, namely the Desaru wreck site and The Wanli Shipwreck site.  In sharing the excavated artifacts, the department has always acquired the unique and rare items along with a selection of all the ceramic types discovered as per agreements.  To date, more than twenty-two thousand artefacts are in our possession from these two wreck sites.  Many of the items are now on display in the maritime exhibition together with artefacts from eleven other shipwreck sites which were previously excavated.

The publication of this book has two significant aspects.  First, it contains a report on The Wanli Shipwreck excavation and a catalogue of the excavated artefacts to meet the terms of the agreement which was signed by Sten Sjostrand of Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sendirian Berhad.  Second, it includes reports on subjects related to the project by the young staff of the department which testifies to their serious commitment to underwater archaeological research under the guidance of Sten Sjostrand.

Underwater archeology is an important research area because shipwrecks hold significant testimony to our past.  A ship is a social, economic and administrative entity that reflects its historical time which froze with its sinking.  It is thus significant for shipwrecks to be studied systematically and scientifically because of their immense heritage value.  I believe this book will be a significant contribution to research on many aspects of maritime archaeology, especially in shipping technology, and on trade patterns and trade goods together with other historical facets.

I wish to express my appreciation to Sten Sjostrand and Sharifah Lok Lok for their unrelenting efforts in writing and supervising the production of the illustrations for this publication and to other staff of the department who participated in The Wanli Shipwreck project.  The authors are to be commended for their serious commitment in presenting original research on the history of the ceramic industry of the period by making visits to Jingdezhen kiln sites and having sessions with ceramic experts in China.

Lastly, I trust the book will be well received by scholars and public alike and hope it will lead to further research on trade, trade ceramics, and underwater archaeology in the region.

Dato Dr. Adi Haji Taha
Director General
Department of Museums Malaysia                             BACK TO TOP OF PAGE
The Minister's speech at the Heritage night
at the "Treasures from Nanhai exhibition" in
Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
Gift wares from the Desaru shipwreck
Qing dynasty porcelain wares from the Desaru shipwreck
540 year old celadon jarlets
Jars, pots and more from various shipwrecks
Porcelain shard collections from the Wanli shipwreck
14th -19th century jars & bottles from various shipwrecks
Chinese porcelain spoons from the desaru shipwreck
Black painted fish and flower plates
Yixing teapots from the Desaru shipwreck
Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd
Kuala Rompin. Malaysia.
Copyright: (C) Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd. 2010
Phone: + 60 127 614 759. Email to us

14th - 16th century celadon wares
Ming dynasty porcelain wares from the Wanli shipwreck

Nanhai Marine Archaeology Sdn. Bhd. was incorporated on the recommendation of the Malaysian authorities. This was done in order to formalize and to expand on the founder’s extensive knowledge of Asia’s ceramic developments and maritime trade.

The company’s researchers have been engaged in the search for historical shipwrecks for more than two decades and another decade researching maritime trade. Most of this work is concentrated to the South China Sea, a virtual highway for ancient shipping linking China to India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia in an extensive maritime trade system. This ancient trade started sometime around the 4th century and lasted well into the 19th century.

Following a successful shipwreck discovery, the company obtain a government permit to excavate the wreckage, and then carry out detailed marine archaeological procedures in recovering the artifacts, mapping the ship's remains and securing other data for future research. After each concluded project and following conservation of recovered artifacts, we search for and pinpoint ruined kiln sites and compare its wasters with the recovered ceramics until we are satisfied we located the place in which the shipwreck pottery was made centuries earlier. 

As such we have precisely located a kiln sites in Sisatchanalai, northern Thailand in which our Royal Nanhai and the Nanyang shipwreck celadon ware was made around AD. 1380-1460. (See videos on: ) Other kilns was located in Sukhothai where production wasters matched the fish and flower plates found on the Turiang and the  Longquan shipwreck. These unique underglaze decorated wares was made at those exact kilns 600 years before we found them on the shipwrecks in Malaysia!  Our latest shipwreck cargo; The Wanli Shipwreck, of Chinese blue and white porcelain, was likewise pinpointed to the Guangyinge kiln site in Jingdezhen, China. (See video on: )

Our arrangement with the Malaysian authorities is such that we finance all operations and train young Malaysian nationals (on our initiative) in maritime archaeology and related research. After giving all unique and single artifacts and thirty percent of all recovered items to the National Museum (and assisting with exhibitions of artifacts from each reports, books and catalogues are available on these pages as well as on a separate Internet site.

Due to the unquestionable authenticity and precisely dated shipwreck pottery, many International Museums now display our shipwreck pieces as reference material. (See: for a list of these musems).

The artifacts sold on this website are therefore legally and properly excavated and can be supplied with an export permit from the Department of Museum in Malaysia should this be required. This unique working arrangement makes us one of the few Internet sellers that sell from own excavation and deliver a meaningful Certificate of Authenticity with every artifact issued with a serial number.

So, if you are interested to purchase some of our Chinese porcelain and other shipwreck artifacts from the Song dynasty, Ming dynasty, or 19th century Qing porcelain or the famous Yixing teapots, you can rest assured that every piece is excavated through proper archaeology by our own staff. We do not sell anything that is not excavated by ourselves or properly recorded and researched before offered for sale so every piece comes with the “Best possible provenance”


When buying anything from our web pages you are NOT dealing with antique dealers or other middle men. You will be buying directly from a team of dedicated researchers whom excavated, recovered and researched every single piece offered for sale. We encourage you to contact us by email with questions regarding your possible purchase. Write to: Sten Sjostrand

If you are not satisfied with our artifacts, delivery service or; if you obtain an expert opinion that our artifacts are not as old as stated by us, just return the item and we will give you full refund. Who guarantee refund?

All our antique Chinese porcelain, Chinese pottery, Asian antiques and publications will be shipped from our store in Malaysia. The default shipping metod is "Registered Air Parcel" which is managed by Malaysia’s national post office.  Once your package is delivered to the post office, you can track its routing INSIDE Malaysia by clicking here. If you reside in the US, you can track the package's routing WHEN in the USA by clicking here. All other customers can find their national post office and their respective online tracking systems by clicking here.

When at these tracking sites, you should enter the 13 digit tracking number -which we will provide you in a separate emai after sending your order. Once this is done, we would expect to be notified about the safe arrival of the artifact(s). Should we not receive such arrival notice inside three weeks from the date when the items were delivered to the Malaysian post office, we will consider it delivered and close the account without any possibility to trace its loss or delivery thereafter.

We do not insure our shipments due to costly premiums and difficulties with claiming compensation in case of damage or loss. Instead, we provide safe packing boxes where each artifact is embedded and separated by foam padding. Should you despite this care receive your piece(s) damaged, we ask you to return it to us after sending us pictures of its condition on arrival. We shall then send you replacement piece(s) -free of charge. If the tracking system confirms that your package has been lost, we shall replace the artifact(s) without cost to you.

To read our customer's comments on shipping & packing, please visit our testimonies page  Here you can email the buyer directly for  verification of their statements. Please note that each of these customers has agreed to us publishing their email addresses such that anyone can write to them for confirmation of their various comments.



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