Owners' or merchants' marks

Marks on bronze gongs

Marks on an olive green bowl (above) & on other ceramics

The painted marks on the gongs and ceramics are interesting. The marks on ceramics are commonly believed by art historians to be those of the potter - but on the Tanjung Simpang ship, one mark is found on some of the ceramics as well as on one stack of gongs. The other stacks of gongs had different markings. Moreover, the marks are elaborate and well drawn and do not support the idea that the painters were illiterate. This suggests that this set of marks identifies not the potter but the owner or merchant, who would need to identify his own goods at the ship's destination.

The same mark on bronze & ceramics
The same mark on a bronze gong (left) and a ceramic item (right)

Tanjung Simpang ship overview Maritime Asia homepage
Last modified:
20 July 2003