Home of the Sewalot Site


By Alex I Askaroff


For antique and vintage sewing machines



Machines for Sale



Our Collection






New Stories


Fault Finder



Sewing Machine Fault Finder                     Sewing machine Tension Problems
Ca Mau Porcelain

  Main Index



                Alex I Askaroff

Alex has spent a lifetime in the sewing industry and is considered one of the foremost experts of pioneering machines and their inventors. He has written extensively for trade magazines, radio, television, books and publications world wide.



Ca Mau Porcelain

Yongzheng Dynasty


In The South China Sea around 1730 a Chinese junk, laden with goods for Europe was about to meet a terrible fate. The Junk caught fire in a storm and went to the bottom of the South China Sea. It was off the coast of Vietnam, 90 nautical miles south of Cap Ca Mau. It was possible heading for the great trading base of Batavia (present-day Jakarta). 

Nearly 300 years went by before local fishermen stumbled across the sunken treasure at the bottom of the sea bed. First discovered in 1998, by 1999 they had raised to the surface a huge find of around 30,000 pieces of early hand painted porcelain and 100,000 pieces of stone wear, metal and coins. 

Although the salvage was overseen by National Museum of Vietnam pieces soon started to show up in market stalls around the area at amazing prices. To stop fakes the Vietnam authorities put stickers on the base of each item as they sorted it.

When Sotheby's auctioned of a bulk lot they also put a round sticker on the base.

The most collectible Ca Mau porcelain has both these stickers to authenticate them from the copies that are around.


Ca Mau porcelain. Always look for the authentication stickers

Back to the story...

This superb find of ceramics described as “Tu Hai” pattern by Sotherby’s and Mc Pherson’s comes from the reign of Kangxi and his son The Great emperor Qing Yongzheng who died in 1735.

Much was made in the Jiangxi province of Southern China. The find excited collector’s worldwide and many auctions were held.  

This porcelain tea bowl is what all early tea cups looked like and was decorated for the European market. Tea was the latest thing amongst the wealthy (arriving in the reign of Good Queen Bess the previous century).

Europe was still having trouble trying to perfect porcelain and make enough of it to supply demand, hence the huge trade from China where they closely guarded the secret of porcelain making.

The find has become known as the Ca Mau shipwreck. Pieces turn up regularly in auctions all around the world.

To have a piece of early Chinese porcelain in such beautiful condition with such an amazing provenance is a pure joy. As collectors grab the last few pieces, which were originally cheap, prices have been steadily rising. Grab some while you can.


Ca Mau porcelain circa 1730



  Well that's it, I do hope you enjoyed my work. I spend countless hours researching and writing these pages and I love to hear from people so drop me a line and let me know what you thought: alexsussex@aol.com

Fancy a good read: Ena Wilf  & The One-Armed Machinist

A brilliant slice of 1940's life: Spies & Spitfires

Alex's stories are now available to keep. Click on the picture for more information.




 Home            Index                Books



  Skylark Country