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LATE MING AND EARLY CH'ING PORCELAIN FRAGMENTS
FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN FLORIDA ......... Kamer Aga-Oglu 91
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ORIENTAL PORCELAIN
IN FLORIDA SITES ................. ............ Hale G. Smith 111
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE ................................. 117
CHINESE PORCELAIN FOUND AT THE HIGGS SITE, FLORIDA
Upper, fragment from jar with enamelled and gilded decoration. Probably
eighteenth century. Lower, base fragment of a powder-blue vessel, decorated
with gilded fish. Probably K'ang Hsi period.
LATE MING AND EARLY CH'ING PORCELAIN FRAGMENTS
FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN FLORIDA
Within the last decade, archaeological sites in Florida have yielded a
considerable number of fragments of Chinese porcelains and some Japanese
porcelain fragments. These have been found among articles of native Indian,
Spanish, and English origin (Higgs, 1942; Smith, 1948a, 1948b, 1949; Gog-
Twenty-seven fragments of the Chinese goup have been chosen for
discussion here. These sherds were sent to us for study by Dr. Hale G.
Smith of Florida State University, who has conducted several excavations
in Florida. Photographs are presented by courtesy of the Department of
Anthropology and Archaeology, Florida State University, except for Figure
3, A, courtesy Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University.
The sites where these specimens were found are as follows: the Higgs
site, located on an off-shore island situated between the Indian River and
the Atlantic Ocean, a little south of Sebastian Inlet (Higgs, 1942; Smith,
1949, p. 7); the fort of Castillo de San Marcos and the Dragoon Lot in the
city of St. Augustine (Smith, 1948a); and the Rookery Mound, on Shark
River in Monroe County (Goggin, 1950). Dr. Smith will discuss historical
and archaeological data on these sites in his paper which follows, entitled
"Archaeological Significance of Oriental Porcelain in Florida Sites."
The porcelain fragments, which will be described below, consist of
sixteen blue and whites of the late Ming and early Ch'ing periods (Figs.
1-6); two blue and whites with additional overglaze enamels of the early
Ch'ing period (Fig. 7); eight enamelled pieces which ae most probably
of the early eighteenth century (Fig. 8 and front., upper); and one, possibly
K'ang Hsi, powder-blue base sherd (front., lower). All of the specimens are
of very fine quality and of good workmanship, a fact which points to their
origin from Ching-te Chgn.
The study of these fragments required much speculation since, in ad-
dition to being small, all but four are rim or wall sherds which made it
difficult to determine the entire shape and decoration of the vessels they
Fig. 1. Late Ming blue and white fragments. A, rim fragment from small bowl
(Higgs site); B, fragment from screen-slab or straightsided vessel (Higgs
site); C, rim fragment from a plate (St. Augustine).
represent and to note other important features. Thus, their dating had to
be based mainly on the quality of their materials and on the style of what
is left of their decorations.
LATE MING BLUE AND WHITE FRAGMENTS (Fig. 1)
Illustrated in Figure 1 are three fragments of blue and white porcelain
of the late Ming period. The first of these (Fig. 1, A) is a rim sherd of a
small bowl with a portion of its decoration still preserved, showing a
stylized motif, which resembles the Chinese character shou (longevity),
and parts of two leaves. Below the lip is a simple border, consisting of
two horizontal lines. What is left of the decoration suggests a design that
may have been composed of characters and symbols, alternating with floral
motifs. The inside of the wall is plain, except for a simple rim band, as
on the outside; and there is a fraction of two horizontal lines on the lower
edge of the fragment, indicating a similar border around the bottom which
The piece is of a fine white porcelain and has a rather unctuous glaze
of a distinct bluish-green tinge. Its decoration is outlined firmly and filled
in with flat washes of a deep warm blue of violet tone, showing a few small
Unfortunately, we are unable to judge the rest of the decoration and
the shape and finish of the base and foot-ring of this piece. However,
regarding its features such as the glaze, the warm tone of the blue, and
the style of decoration the fragment seems to represent a late sixteenth-
century blue and white vessel, made perhaps during the early Wan Li (1573-
The second Ming piece (Fig. 1, B) is a small fragment which has a
thick wall, a hard compact body of fine white porcelain, and an unctuous
glaze of a distinct greenish tinge, covering both sides. The decoration is
on one side and consists of foliage painted in a violet blue which is rather
hazy and mottled. The fragment is too small to give an idea of its original
shape. However, the fact that it is completely flat on both sides may sug-
gest a slab for a screen, a box, or perhaps a straight-sided vessel. But,
whatever its shape may be, the piece shows a close relationship in its
decoration, glaze, and blue to the first specimen and seems to be of the
The third fragment (Fig. 1, C) is from the rim of a plate with a rather
thick wall, fine porcelain body, and a bubbly glaze of a distinct greenish
tinge. The lip of the rim is missing. The piece is decorated on the inside
showing two horizontal bands; one is on the rim andthe other on the wall.
The rim band is composed of scallops and slanting bars which are executed
by quick strokes of the brush. The wall band consists of a shaded blue
wash over which a cross-hatch motif is pencilled in darker lines. The co-
balt is of a warm blue of violet tinge, rendered hazy by the bubbly greenish
glaze. Although the fragment is rather small showing no vital features of
the vessel, it has nevertheless enough characteristics in body, glaze, and
blue to suggest a late Ming origin.
EARLY CH'ING BLUE AND WHITE WARE (Figs. 2-6)
Figures 2 and 3 illustrate seven fragments of blue and white porcelain
of the Ch'ing dynasty which date most probably from the second half of the
seventeenth century or roughly from the reign of the Emperor K'ang Hsi
(1662-1722). These pieces have white fine-grained bodies and clear glazes
which are almost white. The cobalt of their decoration is pure and varies
in color from a deep sapphire blue, where thick, to a pale blue of silvery
tone, where thin. They are undoubtedly the products of the same kiln
center, since there is a close affinity in all their features.
Two specimens (Fig. 2, A and B) are so similar that they seem to be
parts of the same dish which, judged by the larger sherd, must have been
a medium-sized plate. Both pieces have on the inside a rim border of
delicately outlined Prunus blossoms reserved in white on a light blue
ground. The ground is netted with an irregular mesh of darker lines re-
B C I D
Fig. 2. Ch'ing blue and white ware, probably K'ang Hsi period. From the Higgs
site. A, rim fragment from plate; B, rim fragment from plate; C, rim frag-
ment from small bowl or cup; D, rim fragment from small bowl or cup.
sembling "crackled ice." This composite motif, which symbolizes the
coming of spring, is familiar from the well known K'ang Hsi "ginger jars"
(Hobson, n.d.a, Pl. II, p. 14). However, it also appears in a group of
K'ang Hsi blue and white plates to which the Florida fragments show a
distinct relationship both in shape and style of decoration. The K'ang
Hsi plates, which are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, have rim borders
of white Prunus blossoms reserved on a marbled blue, "crackled ice,"
ground; they show Prunus boughs in their centers (Honey, 1927, Pl. 23).
Judging from the blue line seen on the wall of the larger Florida sherd
(Fig. 2, A), there remains no doubt that this piece too had a decoration in
its center, perhaps a Prunus bough, as in the Victoria and Albert Museum
plates mentioned above. On the back of the same sherd there is a fine blue
line which indicates that there was a simple design on the exterior of the
dish, perhaps a grass or weed motif.
The other two rim sherds (Fig. 2, C and D), although of a very similar
ware, belong to different dishes which seem to be cups or small bowls. On
the exteriors of both pieces there is a wide scalloped band in blue which,
as seen in Figure 2, C, encloses foliage. What is left of the decoration of
Fig. 3. Ch'ing blue and white wore, probably K'ang Hsi period. A, rim fragment
from small bowl (Rookery Mound); B, base of small bowl (Higgs site);
C, wall fragment from vase or bottle (Higgs site). Photograph of "A"
is slightly enlarged.
these pieces suggests a composition of lappets or medallions containing
floral motifs. On the inside of both there is a narrow rim border composed
of hatched triangles. Similar borders are uu some K'ang Hsi blue and white
vases and bottles (Persynski, 1911, Pl. I; Hobson, 1948, Pl. XVII; Honey,
1927, Pl. 22). The cobalt of the fragment in Figure 2, D, is of a deep,
even sapphire-blue; but that of the piece in Figure 2, C, although rather
dark in tone, is mottled with patches of pale silvery blue. On the blue
scalloped band of both pieces, there is a tiny portion of a white petal which
indicates that the band contained blossoms reserved in white.
A large rim sherd (Fig. 3, A), probably from a small bowl, is of the
same type of ware as the two fragments described above and, similarly,
it has a narrow rim band on the inside, composed of hatched triangles.
The decoration on the exterior shows foliage painted in a deep, cold sap-
phire-blue which is slightly mottled and has partly run over the outline.
The blue, where thin, has a silvery cast. Three of the leaves of foliage
are not filled in completely and show white crests.
A base fragment (Fig. 3, B), probably from a small bowl, has a pure
white body and glaze, withthe latter having a faint greenish tinge. Its
rather high and thin foot-ring has a neatly trimmed and rounded rim. This
rim is unglazed and shows a smooth white paste. Unfortunately, it is
impossible to judge the nature of the decoration of which only a trace is
left on the lower part of the wall. On the inside of the piece in the cen-
ter of the bottom is a tiny trefoil flower. The cobalt of the decoration is
deep, cold blue applied in dark and light washes.
Figure 3, C, shows a small fragment from the wall of a vessel which
may have been a small jar, bottle, or vase. The decoration, preserved on
the exterior, shows part of a fruit-bearing branch of which the leaves are
painted in full brush in a deep sapphire-blue. The fruit, however, is out-
lined first and then filled in with an even wash of pale silvery blue. A
dark dot is in the center. The piece is of very fine quality and has a pure,
almost white glaze. Its decoration seems to have been composed of fruiting
and flowering branches bordered by two parallel lines, as seen in the upper
right corner of the fragment. There is a similarity in style and composition
between the decoration of this fragment and of the K'ang Hsi bottle illus-
trated by Perzynski (1911, Pl. I, F).
The specimens illustrated in Figures 4-6 are, like the pieces described
above, of very fine quality and have highly vitrified glossy glazes which
vary from an almost white to a dead chalk-white. The cobalt of their deco-
ration is, except for Figure 6, of a pure quality and varies in color from a
deep sapphire to a pale blue of silvery tone. The fragment in Figure 6 is
painted in mottled violet blue. These pieces represent undoubtedly the
blue and white porcelain of the early Ch'ing dynasty and, like the fragments
in Figures 2 and 3, resemble the K'ang Hsi period wares.
The most striking among them are two rim fragments of a rather strong
build but of extremely fine and pure quality (Fig. 4, A and B). The designs
of their decorations are executed with great care in a deep, brilliant sap-
phire blue which contrasts vividly with their pure white bodies. Another
interesting feature is the lustrous brown glaze which covers the lips of both
pieces. Application of a lustrous brown glaze to the lips of vessels was
apparently practiced by some Ming potters. However, it was more widely
used during the K'ang Hsi period and later (Honey, 1927, p. 32; Hobson,
n.d.a, p. 17).
The first fragment (Fig. 4, A), probably from a small bowl, shows on
Fig. 4. Blue and white ware, probably K'ang Hsi period. From St. Augustine.
A, rim fragment from small bowl; B, rim fragment, perhaps from mouth
the outside a portion of the decoration which consists of two flowering
branches and a butterfly. The floral sprays have deep blue leaves which
are painted in full brush. But their blossoms are finely outlined in blue
with the petals of the one on the left reserved in white and of the other,
on the right, shaded with delicately pencilled lines. The butterfly motif
is rendered in contrasting shades of dark and light blue washes, accentu-
ated by pencilled lines. On the inside of the rim there is a wide border
of hexagonal diaper pattern.
The other fragment (Fig. 4, B), which has an outward turned lip,
seems to be from the mouth of a bottle. The decoration shows foliage
masterfully painted in a dark sapphire blue which is even more vivid than
that in Figure 4, A. On the inside there is a narrow rim band of finely-
pencilled hatched bars, similar to the borders of the fragments illustrated
in Figure 2, C and D.
Fig. 5. Blue and white ware, probably K'ang Hsi period.
A, rim fragment from bowl; B, fragment from wall
rim fragment from small cup.
From St. Augustine.
of fluted vessel; C,
Another rim sherd (Fig. 5, A) is from a bowl with fine body and a glaze
of a slightly greenish tinge. It is plain except for a very narrow rim band
on the inside. This band consists of petals and scrolls and a cross-hatch
pattern finely drawn in a pure pale blue.
Figure 5, B, illustrates a wall fragment from a fluted vessel of an ex-
tremely fine and chalk-white body and a glossy dead-white glaze. The
decoration is on the outside and consists of an allover crowded pattern
of stylized floral scrolls. The design is painted in a mottled, pale sap-
phire blue that has a silvery cast where thin. It is difficult to guess from
this fragment the shape of the vessel, and we can only suggest that it may
have been a vase or bottle. Judging from its quality and style of decora-
tion, the piece seems to represent a very fine variety of the blue and white,
made in all probability during the early Ch'ing period.
Figure 5, C, shows a rim fragment of a small cup which resembles the
specimen just described. Body, glaze, blue, and style of decoration are
similar. But contrary to the last fragment, the wall of this piece is so thin
and translucent that, when held to light, the designs of its decoration show
through. The decoration is on the exterior and, as seen in the illustration,
must have consisted of a landscape with buildings. The roof of a gate or
pavilion and the top of a pine tree, bearing cones, appear on the fragment.
Above this, a flock of birds is depicted in flying formation. The designs
are pencilled finely and partly washed in with a pale silvery blue. The
inside of the fragment is plain except for a very narrow band of crosshatch-
ed pattern at the lip.
The specimen in Figure 6 is the lower part of a vessel which seems to
have been a vase or bottle. The fragment has a wall thickness of 0.4 cm.;
diameter, 6 cm.; and greatest height, 5-7 cm. (photograph slightly enlarged).
It is of sturdy build and has a hard compact body and an almost white glaze
which covers it inside and out, including the base. The foot ring is badly
damaged and mostly missing. The decoration consists of two plant motifs,
painted on opposite sides of the wall. Two parallel lines encircle the foot
ring on the outside and there is a single ring around the inside of the base.
Shown in the enlarged photograph (Fig. 6) is the side of the vessel which
bears the greater part of the decoration. The composition shows a spray
of high-stemmed plants and grasses which are executed in dark and light
washes of a mottled violet blue. Of the decoration of the opposite side of
the wall, only the lower part is preserved, showing a bunch of tall, thin
stems which are flanked by two large almond-shaped leaves.
EARLY CH'ING ENAMELLED WARE (Figs. 7, 8, and front., upper)
The Higgs site was quite prolific in that it contained, besides the
blue and white, fragments of polychrome and powder-blue wares. It should
Fig. 6. Lower part of, probably, a vase or bottle. Probably K'ang Hsi period.
Found in St. Augustine. Photograph is slightly enlarged.
also be noted that not all of the porcelain fragments from the Higgs site
have been described in this paper and that there are a good many more in
the Florida State Museum in Gainesville. The collection at the Museum
represents the same types of Chinese blue and white and enamelled wares
that are illustrated in this paper. However, one blue and white rim sherd
from a flat plate or tray, marked "5.S.O.," seemed to the writer to be of
In Figures 7 and 8, the most interesting polychrome pieces are two
sherds which have a decoration in underglaze blue and overglaze enamels
and gilding (Fig. 7, A and B). The first of these is a base fragment of
what seems to have been a large plate with a flat bottom. The base has
no foot ring but is moderately hollowed, having a slightly raised edge
around it. This type of base is undoubtedly a modified version of the
hollow bases of some Ming bowls and dishes (Hobson, n.d. b, p. 21). The
fragment has a fine porcelain body and glaze of a slightly greenish tinge.
The paste of the unglazed edge of the base has not been effected by firing
and is smooth and putty-like. Unfortunately, it is impossible to guess the
Fig. 7. Ch'ing period enamelled ware from the Higgs site. A, base fragment,
decorated in underglaze blue and overglaze enamels or green, yellow,
and red. Also gilded. B, wall fragment, decorated in underglaze blue
and overglaze enamels of green and red. Also gilded.
shape of the sides of the dish, since the fragment shows only a fraction of
the lower part of the wall.
The decoration, partly preserved on the inside, shows a large stylized
rosette surrounded by leaves and tendrils which are outlined in a dry black
pigment and filled in with enamels; a transparent pale green covers the
leaves and tendrils, and a muddy mustard yellow covers the rosette. Both
of the enamels have an allover fine crazing. The black pigment and the
green enamel are worn-out in places, leaving mat tracks with traces of
color on the surface of the glaze. Around this enamelled design, there is
a single-ring border in underglaze blue and a narrow white band, as seen
in the illustration (Fig. 7, A). The white band, when viewed under the
magnifying glass, shows an opaque line peppered with red specks which
indicates that it was overlaid with red enamel that is now worn off leaving
a dull track. Thus, it is apparent that the central decoration of the plate
was enclosed by two concentric rings: one in underglaze blue and the other
in overglaze red.
The wall of the fragment shows only a small portion of the decoration
which consists of floral designs reserved in white on an underglaze blue
ground. The cobalt here is of the same deep, brilliant sapphire as in frag-
ments mentioned earlier (Fig. 2, C and D; Fig. 3, A; and Fig. 4, A and B).
On the surface of the glaze covering the decoration of the wall, there are
fine mat tracings which are visable only when the piece is held to light.
These tracings, which show no color, indicate that the wall had additional
ornamentation; most probably it was in overglaze gilding which wore off
completely, leaving no trace but oily tracks. This fragment then illustrates
a polychrome decoration which combines underglaze blue, overglaze enamels
of green, yellow, and red, and gilding.
A B C
D E F
Fig. 8. Ch'ing period enamelled ware (Higgs site). Enamelled in combinations
of red, yellow, green, lavender, or buff. E-G, also gilded. Wall frag-
ments: A, B, E, and G. Rim sherds: C, D, and F.
The second piece (Fig. 7, B), showing a combination of underglaze
blue with overglaze enamels and gilding, is a small fragment from the wall
of a vessel which has a pure body and an almost white glaze. Only a por-
tion of its decoration is left: an oval leaf, rendered in underglaze blue, and
two small leaves, outlined in black and washed-in with a transparent pale-
green enamel. The cobalt blue of this piece is similar in quality to that of
the fragment described above but is lighter in tone. Overlapping the oval,
underglaze-blue leaf is a semicircular motif which is finely pencilled in
overglaze iron-red. This enamel, which is partly worn out, is of a dull,
dark maroon-red color. In this piece too there are, over the design in co-
balt, mat on-glaze tracings which indicate gilding.
This fragment and the one described above are most probably of the
K'ang Hsi period and represent a fine variety of the porcelain decorated in
underglaze blue and overglaze enamels and gilding.
Seven polychrome fragments (Fig. 8) have extremely pure white bodies
and glazes. The finely potted walls are transparent at the rims. Decora-
tions of all pieces, except that in Figure 8, B, have a close relationship in
their delicately-executed designs with iron-red enamel predominant. The
specimens in Figure 8, E-G, have the additional embellishment of gilding.
Considering the quality and style of decoration, there remains no doubt
that these seven pieces represent the enamelled porcelains of the eight-
eenth century, showing close affinity to the wares of the Yung Chang and
early Ch'ien Lung periods.
The first of these (Fig. 8, A) is a small fragment from the wall of a
fluted vessel which may have been a cup or a small bowl. Its decoration
is on the outside and shows portions of two blossoming boughs which are
outlined in black and filled in with transparent enamels of pale green and
yellow and a dull iron-red. The latter is almost completely worn, leaving
mat races stained in red. Separating the floral motifs is a border rendered
in a single red line which is badly worn and is hardly seen in the photo-
The second (Fig. 8, B) is a small sherd from the wall of a fluted ves-
sel the shape of which is hard to guess. Of the decoration, which probably
represented deer in a landscape, only a small portion is preserved; this
shows part of the back and shoulder of a spotted deer and some foliage and
grass. The deer is outlined, with the spots indicated, in a dry brown pig-
ment and filled in with a thin, light buff wash which is pitted and dulled and
is partly worn out. The ground is washed over with a pale, watery-green
enamel, also dulled and pitted, on which blades of grass are indicated by
a few quick strokes in brown.
The next (Fig. 8, C) is a fragment of, probably, a cup with fluted wall
and scalloped lip. It has a floral decoration on both sides with the design
on the outside resembling an iris. The flower is rendered entirely in a
dull iron-red; the leaves, outlined in black, are washed in with a trans-
parent pale-green enamel. On either side of the rim, there is a single red
line. The red enamel of this piece is badly worn out, leaving dull tracks
which show faint reddish tints.
The fourth specimen (Fig. 8, D) is a small rim sherd of a thinly-potted
transparent vessel. Only a fraction of its decoration is preserved; this
shows a few petals outlined partly in black and partly in red and washed
over with enamels of muddy yellow, pale lavender, and iron-red. On the
inside is a narrow rim band composed of trefoil petals and wavy lines paint-
ed in dull iron-red.
The next (Fig. 8, E) is a very small wall fragment decorated on both
sides. On the exterior, shown here, is a portion of a flower outlined inred
enamel of a dark coral tint. It is washed in with gold which is mostly worn
out. Next to the flower, on the upper edge of the fragment, are seen the
fringes of two leaves which are outlined in black and filled in with a light
green enamel. On the inside is a portion of a flower, rendered in red, and
the edge of a green leaf with black outline.
The sixth polychrome sherd (Fig. 8, F) consists of two mended rim
fragments of a thinly potted cup with fluted wall and scalloped lip. On
the inside, shown here, is a portion of the design that consists of delicate
blossoms. They are finely pencilled in iron-red of a crimson-pink tint which
is partly worn off. The centers of the petals show colorless, oily blotches
which are undoubtedly traces left by worn-off gilding. The back of the frag-
ment is covered by a lustrous dark-brown glaze which shows a band of dull
oval leaves. These were undoubtedly rendered in gilt tracings of which
only faint oily tracks have remained.
This piece, with red and gold decoration on the inside and gilded
brown glaze on the back, seems to be related to the so-called "Batavia
ware" which has a brown glaze on the outside and enamelled decoration
on the inside (Hobson, n.d. a, p. 48). The specimen illustrated here is
most probably of the Yung Cheng period.
The last piece (Fig. 8, G) is a very small fragment from the wall of a
fluted vessel. Of its decoration only a part is preserved showing the head
and neck of a hen, finely pencilled in iron-red enamel of a crimson-pink
tone. The comb and the eye of the hen show traces of gilding. The feath-
ers of the lower part of the neck are outlined in a dry brownish-black pig-
ment and filled in with a pale-green crackled enamel.
The fragment suggests a vessel of the famille rose type that is proba-
bly of the Yung Chang period. Its decoration was obviously of the familiar
subject of cocks, hens, and chickens, depicted in a landscape with rockery
and flowering plants.
The last polychrome piece, shown in the upper part of the frontispiece,
was found at the Higgs site. It is undoubtedly from the wall of a jar. It is
mended, consisting of two fragments. The photograph is slightly enlarged.
Original dimension was 7 x 10 cm.; wall thickness, 0.6 cm. The body is of
white, extremely fine porcelain and the glossy glaze, covering both sides,
is of a faint greenish tinge. The decoration is on the exterior and shows a
portion of a large spiral which is formed by two bands, rendered in a dry,
black pigment. Scattered around the spiral are trefoil stemless leaves
which are outlined, with veins indicated, in black and filled in alternately
with transparent enamels of pale green and muddy chartreuse. The green
leaves have chestnut colored crests. The enamels are pitted and dulled,
and the outlines are almost completely worn off, leaving mat tracks which
show traces of the black pigment.
An interesting feature is the stylized brocade pattern, composed of
large rosettes and ju-i head cloud scrolls, which covers the entire surface
of the glaze. This background pattern, of which one rosette is seen in the
enlarged photograph, was undoubtedly gilded. As noted on other fragments,
the gilt wore off completely, leaving dull oily tracks.
The decoration of the fragment is bold and free. The stemless leaves
scattered irregularly, as if blown down by the autumn wind, give a pleasing
effect. Had the gilding been preserved, the delicate brocade design of the
background would stand out in striking contrast to the boldly rendered
leaves and spirals. This fragment, which is most probably from a jar,
seems to represent an eighteenth-century product.
EARLY CH'ING GILDED POWDER-BLUE WARE (front., lower)
Also illustrated in the frontispiece is the base and part of the wall of a
small powder-blue vessel. This seems to have been a small vase diame-
ter of foot ring, 4 cm.; greatest height, 4.2 cm. (The photograph is slightly
enlarged.) It has an extremely fine white body, a carefully-molded fluted
wall, and a slightly convex base with a pointed center. The thin, rather
high foot-ring has a neatly trimmed rim. This rim is unglazed and shows a
smooth white paste. The inside and the base of the vessel are covered
with a glossy white glaze of a faint bluish tinge. The glaze of the exterior,
however, is deepbrilliant blue peppered with dark specks which give it a
"powdery texture." This texture is known to be caused by the particles of
cobalt dust that were blown on the raw body prior to glazing. On the sharp
edges of the fluting of the wall and at the junction of the glaze and paste
of the foot rim, the blue has turned to a muddy greenish-black.
This feature calls to mind the black or greenish-black specks which
occur in blue and white porcelain where the cobalt is lumpy and the glaze
covering it is thin.
The Florida specimen was obviously decorated in gilt tracings which
are now worn off completely, leaving colorless oily tracks, as seen in the
enlarged photograph. The designs, partly preserved, consist of the head of
a fish and water weeds. These are freely sketched on the glaze in fine
brush strokes, with the head of the fish rendered in broad washes. Had this
piece been whole, it would surely serve as a fine example of gilded powder-
blue ware, suggesting strongly a K'ang Hsi origin.
ORIENTAL PORCELAINS IN THE NEW WORLD
In conclusion it may be of interest to mention a few general facts re-
garding the porcelain found in America and to give a brief account of its
importation to the New World.
The findings in Florida are not limited to the places and the specimens
discussed in this paper. Other sites which yielded porcelain fragments are
the Spanish mission of San Francisco de Oconee, 26 miles southeast of
Tallahassee (Smith, 1948a and 1948b), and an Indian trading post on the
St. Johns River, a little south of Palatka (Goggin, 1949). Trading posts
for the Seminole Indians existed only during the British occupation of Flor-
ida (1763-1784) (Goggin, 1949).
The fragments found in the trading-post site near Palatka were ex-
amined by the writer. They consist mainly of Chinese blue and white of
the eighteenth century and of a small group of Japanese blue and white of
probably the same period.
The Florida findings have been supplemented by specimens found in
other states such as Virginia, Georgia, and California.
In Virginia only three porcelain fragments have come to light so far.
They were found in 1945 in "Merrimack Shores" at Hampton. This was the
first English trading post at Kecoughtan. The porcelain fragments and
other pottery specimens are in the Peabody Museum of Natural History,
Yale University. The fragments represent a very late eighteenth-century
polychrome ware with a decoration rendered in black pigment, reddish-
orange and yellowish-green enamels, and gilding.
The state of Georgia, however, has yielded a considerable number of
fragments, recently excavated in the ruins of Fort Frederica on St. Simons
Island. Fort Frederica, which was occupied from 1736 until about 1748,
was a fortified English settlement, established by General James Edward
Oglethorpe to check the Spanish advance from Florida.
Of the porcelain fragments found in Fort Frederica, 140 were sent to
us for examination by Dr. Charles H. Fairbanks, who conducted the excava-
tions. Dr. Fairbanks, formerly an archaeologist of the National Park Serv-
ice in Georgia, is now associated with the Department of Anthropology and
Archaeology, Florida State University. According to Dr. Fairbanks, most
of these fragments came from one house. Our report here is based on pre-
liminary examination of this portion of the material.
The major portion of the specimens sent to us consists of blue and
white pieces, numbering 105; about a dozen or more of these seem to be
of Japanese origin, resembling the Arita types. The remaining specimens
are most probably eighteenth-century Chinese products, although several
pieces among them display features that seem to be more Japanese than
The second important group consists of eighteen fragments of the
"Imari" ware, decorated in underglaze blue and overglaze red and gold.
Of these, six seem definitely to be of Japanese origin and twelve, which
are of extremely fine quality and workmanship, are doubtful; they may be
of Japanese or, perhaps, Chinese manufacture.
Other fragments represent wares of undoubtedly Chinese origin, deco-
rated in underglaze blue and copper, in overglaze iron-red, and pale, watery
green enamels. One large sherd from a saucer is of the famille rose type.
Also included in this find are eight fragments of European wares which are
probably of English origin.
The last of the states is California. On the central California coast,
a considerable number of porcelain fragments were excavated in Drake's
Bay, Marin County (Heizer, 1941; Meighan, 1950). Fragments consisted
almost entirely of Chinese blue and white which have been assigned to the
late Ming dynasty. Most of the pieces have been attributed to the Chia
Ching and Wan Li periods (Heizer, 1941, p. 11 and P1. facing p. 17).
Among the Drake's Bay blue and white sherds, which were also ex-
amined by the writer, there are several pieces that show great similarity
in quality and decoration to some of the late Ming blue and white in the
ceramic collection of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.
These pieces were excavated in the Philippines (Guthe, 1927 and 1928;
Aga-Oglu, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951).
Finally, reference should be made to the porcelains excavated in
Mexico. On these we have only a verbal report from Dr. John M. Goggin,
of the University of Florida, who conducted the expedition in 1951. Ac-
cording to Dr. Goggin, these fragments are either of Chinese blue and
white or of Spanish and Mexican majolica. We hope that soon we will
have a report on his findings in Mexico.
All the porcelain excavated so far in America consists of fragments;
not one whole piece has yet been found. The majority of the sherds are of
Chinese origin, representing the blue and white of the late Ming and early
Ch'ing periods and the Ch'ing enamelled wares. The Japanese specimens
consist of plain blue and white and the "Imari" ware with additional over-
glaze red and gold. These Japanese wares are probably of the late seven-
teenth and early eighteenth century.
There is no doubt that future archaeological explorations on this con-
tinent will bring to light more examples and varieties of Chinese, as well
as Japanese and Indo-Chinese, wares. This assumption is based on the
fact that for 250 years the Spaniards imported into their American colonies
great quantities of Far Eastern, especially Chinese, goods from their Phil-
CHINESE-PHILIPPINE AND CHINESE-SPANISH TRADE
The field of Chinese-Philippine and Chinese-Spanish trade relationship
has been well investigated, and there is considerable information on the
subject in the works of Chinese, European, and American writers. However,
for our purpose, it will suffice to point out a few historical facts which
were responsible for the importation of Chinese porcelain into America.
(Ju-kua, 1911, pp. 159-162; De Morga, 1868; Blair and Robertson, 1903-9;
Laufer, 1907, pp. 248-84).
It is a known fact that the trade which existed between China and the
Philippines from the Sung period on reached its peak after the Spanish
conquest of the Islands in 1571. It was a profitable trade for China since,
in exchange for her products, she was getting silver which the Spaniards
imported to Manila from their rich American colonies in Mexico (New Spain)
and Peru. It should be noted that Spain had established herself in the New
World in 1521, exactly half a century before she colonized the Philippines.
Even after the decline of Spanish power and that of the Philippines in
the seventeenth century and even after the rise of the Dutch colonies in the
Far East, Manila still held a prominent place as the Spanish entrepat for
Oriental merchandise which was destined for Spain and her American
colonies. Thus, the export goods of China as well as those of Japan,
Indo-China, and various parts of Indonesia were transported yearly from
Manila to Acapulco, Mexico, and thence to Peru and Chile. The goods
destined for Spain, however, were transported from Acapulco to Vera Cruz,
Mexico, and were shipped to Spain via the Bahama Channel and the Atlantic
Ocean. The most popular Oriental goods were products of China, mainly
silks, porcelains, and metal objects.
It must be remembered that this extensive trade continued from the
time the Spaniards set foot in the Philippines down to 1821, when they lost
their American colonies.
In view of these facts we may conclude that intensive archaeological
investigations in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the United States will result in
an important collection of pottery and other imperishable objects of Far
Eastern origin, especially Chinese and Japanese.
1946. "Ying Ch'ing Porcelain Found in the Philippines." Art
Quarterly, Vol. IX, pp. 315-26.
1948. "Ming Export Blue and White Jars in the University of Michigan
Collection." Art Quarterly, Vol. XI, pp. 201-17.
1949. "The Relationship Between the Ying-Ch'ing, Shu-Fu and Early
Blue and White." Far Eastern Ceramic Bulletin, Dec., pp. 27-33.
1950. "Early Blue and White Wine Pot Excavated in the Philippines."
Far Eastern Ceramic Bulletin, June, pp. 64-71.
1951. "Blue and White Porcelain Plates Made for Moslem Patrons."
Far Eastern Ceramic Bulletin, Sept., pp. 12-16.
Blair, E. H., and J. A. Robertson
1903-9. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803. Cleveland.
De Morga, Antonio
1868. The Philippine Islands. The Hakluyt Society. London.
Goggin, John M.
1949. "A Florida Indian Trading Post." Southern Indian Studies,
Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 35-37. Chapel Hill.
1950. "Stratigraphic Tests in the Everglades National Park."
American Antiquity, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 228-46. Menasha.
Guthe, Carl E.
1927. "The University of Michigan Philippine Expedition." American
Anthropologist, Vol. 29, pp. 69-76. Menasha.
1928. "Distribution of Sites Visited by the University of Michigan
Philippine Expedition 1922-1925." Papers of the Michigan
Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Vol. X, pp. 79-89.
Heizer, Robert F.
1941. "Archaeological Evidence of Sebastian Rodriquez Cermeilo's
California Visit in 1595." California Historical Society
Quarterly, Vol. XX, No. 4, pp. 1-32.
Higgs, Charles D.
1942. "Spanish Contacts with the Ais (Indian River) Country."
Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 21, pp. 25-39. St. Augustine.
Hobson, R. L.
1948. Handbook of the Pottery and Porcelain of the Far East. British
n.d.a The Later Ceramic Wares of China. British Museum. London.
n.d.b The Wares of the Ming Dynasty. British Museum. London.
Honey, W. B.
1927. Guide to the Later Chinese Porcelain. Victoria and Albert
1911. Chu-fan-chi. Translated by F. Hirth and W. W. Rockhill.
1907. "The Relations of the Chinese to the Philippines Islands."
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 50. Washington.
Meighan, Clement W.
1950. "Excavations in Sixteenth Century Shellmounds at Drake's Bay,
Marin County." University of California Archaeological Survey,
No. 9, pp. 27-32.
1911. "Toward a Grouping of Chinese Porcelain." Burlington
Magazine, Vol. 18.
Smith, Hale G.
1948a. "Two Historical Archaeological Periods In Florida." American
Antiquity, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 313-19. Menasha.
1948b. "Results of an Archaeological Investigation of a Spanish
Mission Site in Jefferson County, Florida." The Florida
Anthropologist, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-2, pp. 1-10. Gainesville.
1949. "Two Archaeological Sites in Brevard County, Florida."
Florida Anthropological Society Publications, No. 1. Gaines-
MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ORIENTAL
PORCELAIN IN FLORIDA SITES
Hale G. Smith
During the latter part of the Ming dynasty and during the early part of
the Ch'ing dynasty in China, Europeans were taking part in a period of
exploration and discovery which led to the conquest and settlement of vari-
ous areas in the Western Hemisphere. The area of special interest for this
paper is the state of Florida.
In Florida, Chinese porcelain has been discovered during the last few
years in archaeological excavations of historic Indian sites. The historic
period starts very early here as compared to other areas of the United
States: European objects were coming into this area as early as 1525, and
perhaps even earlier. It is known that Columbus on his first voyage gave
hawk-bells and beads to the Indians of the Antilles, and it is not impossible
to believe that undocumented voyages also came into this area soon after
Invariably in historic archaeological sites where Europeans themselves
lived for a period of time, glazed earthenware and some porcelain are found.
However, comparatively little research has been done on the European and
Chinese wares found in America. The preceding article, "Late Ming and
Ch'ing Porcelain Fragments from Archaeological Sites in Florida," by
Kamer Aga-Oglu, adds substantially to our present knowledge.
At present in Florida, omitting the wares of the British occupation, the
following ceramics have been found: Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese
(?), and possibly Near Eastern or North African. The Higgs site (Higgs,
1942; Smith, 1949), the mission of San Francisco de Oconee (Smith, 1948a
and 1948b), and Castillo de San Marcos (Smith, 1948a), the Dragoon Lot
in St. Augustine (Smith, MS), and the Rookery Mound (Goggin, 1950) have
all yielded Chinese porcelains (seemap, Fig. 1). Also, in all these sites
European and aboriginal materials were found in association.
The Chinese were exporting to the Philippines by the latter part of the
twelfth century; by the time of the Spanish conquest of these islands in
1571, silks, baskets, metal ware, and porcelains were already regular items
1 de Oconee@
Map of Florida, showing the archaeological sites where Chinese porcelain
fragments were found. (By Hale G. Smith.)
of trade (Laufer, 1907). Soon after the Spanish had established themselves
in the Philippines and had settlements in South America, Mexico, and North
America, they were exporting vast quantities of Chinese porcelains. The
porcelains were sent to their colonial possessions as well as to Spain.
One of the major routes of shipment to Europe from the Philippines was
via Mexico. The porcelains would be unloaded at Acapulco, on the west
coast of Mexico, carried overland to Vera Cruz on the east coast, and there
reloaded for Spain. Spanish ships during this time sailed through the
Bahama Channel near the Florida coast. Many of the Spanish ships were
wrecked, and the Indians in Florida were able to obtain some of the car-
goes salvaged from the wrecks.
The Higgs site, by the proper dating of the Chinese porcelains,
Spanish-Mexican ware, and San Marcos aboriginal ware, can be placed
chronologically within a fifty-year period. The Chinese porcelain is, for
the most part, of the K'ang Hsi period (1662-1722); this means that the
site can be no earlier than 1662. The other Chinese porcelain fragments
date from the late Ming period which could be as early as 1573 for the
manufacture of these fragments. The Spanish-Mexican ware also called
majolica of Mexico (Barber, 1908) is of the 1543-1723 period. English
clay pipes were found that were made by "R. Tippet" presumedly in the
early eighteenth century (Higgs, 1942).
The other European cultural items found at this site such as rum,
wine, and gin bottles, cannon, dice, glass goblets, Spanish earthenware
cooking pots, iron spikes, and alabaster have not, as yet, been of value
in dating because of the lack of knowledge surrounding these items. Delft
ware, popular in Europe after 1650, was also present. The aboriginal San
Marcos ware, which belongs to the St. Augustine period, is dated 1565-1750
(Smith, 1948a and 1948b). From the above dates we see that the site was
occupied between 1675-1725.
From the nature of the cultural material and from what is known now
from the various historicaldocuments, it appears that the Higgs site was a
pirate rendezvous. There are references to various missions that were sup-
posed to be in this area, but as yet these references are only fragmentary
and give no positive indications as to time or place. In comparing the
materials fromthis site with those found at the mission of San Francisco
de Oconee, we see that there are many differences.
SAN FRANCISCO DE OCONEE
In 1633 the Spanish Franciscan monks began to establish a chain of
missions from St. Augustine to the Apalachicola River in Florida. These
were in full operation by 1650; but in 1704, the Apalachee Indians and their
missions were almost totally destroyed by British raids under Colonel J.
Moore from Carolina (Swanton, 1922).
The excavated mission of San Francisco de Oconee, which had been
burned by the British, revealed buildings constructed of wattle and daub
with hewn- and split-log framework and roof construction. The woodwork
was secured by wrought iron nails. The mission complex consisted of two
buildings and a "borrow" refuse pit. The larger of the two structures was
composed of two rooms with a surrounding patio wall. The smaller building
was probably an aboriginal dwelling, a stable, or some other type of minor
Some of the culture items found here, aside from two Chinese sherds,
were: olive-oil jars, a spur rowel, a flintlock striker, a pistol barrel, a
musket barrel, an anvil, a lead finger-ring, aboriginal pottery of various
types, and other aboriginal cultural materials of stone. Since there were
usually only one or two priests at a mission, and sometimes a few soldiers,
there is less likelihood that Chinese porcelain would be found than in a
city such as St. Augustine.
CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS AND DRAGOON LOT
The city of St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by the Spanish. Soon
after its founding, a fort Castillo de San Marcos was constructed in
order to protect its harbor from various enemies. The present moat of the
fort was initially dug in 1686. From that time until 1940, this moat was
gradually filled by the accumulation of refuse. Scientific excavation of
sections of this moat, in 1940, showed correlations of certain aboriginal
materials with European specimens. Additional information was procured
from other excavations within the old city walls. Of these, the Dragoon
Lot was most important.
Cultural materials from these sites were similar and included aborigi-
nal, Spanish, British, and American items. Chinese porcelains from the
St. Augustine sites include a number of early Ch'ing pieces. There is also
present a possible late Ming design.
Chinese porcelain sherds were found by Charles M. Brookfield on the
surface of the Rookery Mound on Shark River, Monroe County, Florida
(Goggin, 1950). A Mexican majolica sherd and aboriginal sherds were also
found at the site.
The Chinese porcelain sherds occurring in archaeological sites in
Florida are a great help to the archaeologist engaged in dating historic
aboriginal sites. The American archaeologist working on protohistoric and
historic Indian and colonial sites, of both the British and Spanish periods
in Florida, uses various means to build up his chronology. Aside from
Chinese porcelains, some European artifacts are valuable for dating. Early
maps, narratives, land grants, church records, letters, and government docu-
ments often are of great value. Through checks and cross-checks with known
places and dating, some valid correlations have been made.
The problem has been complicated by the fact that the early records
are not as complete as they might have been and also pirates, who left
little written evidence of their activities, were in operation along the
Florida coast. They had contact and trade with the Indians so there is
sometimes the question of whether material at a site is colonial or pirate.
Chinese porcelains were brought to Florida by the Spanish intentional-
ly to some of their settlements, but some seems to have been obtained by
the natives through shipwrecks. The porcelains undoubtedly came by way
of the Philippines which were controlled by the Spanish by 1571.
Most ceramic histories only take cognizance of the more spectacular
examples of various European and Chinese traditions. For the purposes of
American archaeology, the domestic everyday wares need to be studied and
described. It is necessary to know from whence the ware came, the dates
in which certain design elements were used, the time of introduction of the
various types of enamels, and other data that can be used for comparative
Andrews, Evangeline W. and Charles McL (eds.)
1945. Jonathan Dickinson's Journal. Yale University Press. New
Barber, E. A.
1908. The Majolica of Mexico. Art Handbook, Pennsylvania Museum
and School of Industrial Art. Philadelphia.
Higgs, Charles D.
1942. "Spanish Contacts with the Ais (Indian River) Country." Florida
Historical Quarterly, Vol. 21, pp. 25-39. St. Augustine.
Goggin, John M.
1950. "Stratigraphic Tests in the Everglades National Park." Ameri-
can Antiquity, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 228-46. Menasha.
1907. "The Relations of the Chinese to the Philippine Islands."
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 50. Washington.
Smith, Hale G.
1948a. "Two Historical Archaeological Periods in Florida." American
Antiquity, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 313-19. Menasha.
1948b. "Results of an Archaeological Investigation of a Spanish
Mission Site in Jefferson County, Florida." The Florida
Anthropologist, Vol. I, Nos. 1-2, pp. 1-10. Gainesville.
1949. "Two Archaeological Sites in Brevard County, Florida."
Florida Anthropological Society Publications, No. 1.
MS "The Archaeology of St. Augustine, Florida."
Swanton, John R.
1922. "Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors."
Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 73. Washington.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
Kamer Aga-Oglu is Associate Curator at the Museum of Anthropology,
University of Michigan. Her activities are a part of the Division of the
Orient. She is a well-known authority on Oriental ceramics.
Hale G. Smith, as many of our readers know, is Head of the Department
of Anthropology and Archaeology at Florida State University.
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Wilfred T. Neill, Silver Springs
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Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., Tallahassee
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Adelaide K. Bullen, Gainesville
Frederick W. Sleight, Mount Dora
H. James Gut, Sanford
Charlton W. Tebeau, Miami
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