Home > Antiques/Antiquities, Asian Art, Chinese, International > LUXURY AND TRADE: THE FASCINATION WITH CHINESE CERAMICS IN MEDIEVAL SWAHILI MATERIAL CULTURE

LUXURY AND TRADE: THE FASCINATION WITH CHINESE CERAMICS IN MEDIEVAL SWAHILI MATERIAL CULTURE

CHINESE CERAMICS FOUND ALONG AFRICAN EAST COAST

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Maritime trade as early as the 1st Century CE from Africa to Australia and from Asia to Antartica. In the 7th century the Chinese empire of the great Tang dynasty expanded and its traders sailed the China Seas while at the same time the world of Islam extended in all directions but specifically through trade in the Indian Ocean.

I recently read an interesting article reminding us that global maritime trade has been active for over two thousand years.

The article deals with Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics and shards excavated along the East African coast known as Swahili Coast, including the narrow strip of land, and islands from modern-day Somalia to Mozambique and Zanzibar. Chinese high fired stoneware and porcelain and Islamic glazed earthenware were excavated. Green glazed stoneware from kilns in Zhejiang and Guangdong – probably storage jars. Blue and white plates used as decoration as insets in doorways and wall niches of mosques.

Chinese General Zheng He visits the Sultan of Kilwa in 1415 with his fleet.

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