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Posted 5 days ago

This week on NMP’s #MaritimeMonday features Chinese teacups that were part of the Santa Cruz shipwreck cargo that was discovered in May 2001 off the shores of Santa Cruz municipality in northern Zambales Province. The trade vessel sunk between the late 15th to the early 16th century Common Era (CE), and contained at least 15,000 objects comprising ceramics, objects made of iron, glass, wood, stone, and organic remains from China and other Southeast Asian countries. Learn more about the shipwreck’s story here: For a short history of tea, please see the previous feature on the Griffin Shipwreck tea sets: The Santa Cruz shipwreck yielded more than 500 pieces of teacups comprising 4 general types: 1) monochrome bell-shaped cups potted in a thin porcelain and covered with a white glaze, with some covered with brown glaze on the outside; 2) blue-and-white cups that are made from thicker porcelain, of which a number have Chinese character and assorted floral scroll decorations; 3) monochrome cups with flaring sides and covered with white glaze; and 4) enameled cups with straight rims, made from thin porcelain and covered with white, red, and green glaze. A single cup under this type has a red overglaze with lotus scrolls in the exterior cavetto and a butterfly in the interior cavetto. The quantity of teacups reflect the high demand and consumption of tea by Southeast Asian societies. The various shapes and decorations also suggest that tea may have been served for different purposes, from daily tea drinking to elaborate ceremonies underpinned by social, economic, and political motivations. Your #NationalMuseumPH is still closed to the public due to heightened health restrictions. Please monitor our Website and social media pages for further announcements. In the meantime, you may watch the virtual tour of the upgraded ‘300 Years of Maritime Trade in the Philippines’ exhibition here: #SantaCruzShipwreck #MuseumFromHome #MGM2021 #StaySafe #BeatCOVID19 Text and poster by the NMP Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division © National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

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