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Title: Scanning electron microscope analysis of 12th-16th century stoneware and porcelain in the archaeology of Singapore and Kota Cina in Sumatra, and its implications
Authors: Chi, Alasdair Xin Ren
Keywords: Humanities::History::Asia
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Chi, A. X. R. (2022). Scanning electron microscope analysis of 12th-16th century stoneware and porcelain in the archaeology of Singapore and Kota Cina in Sumatra, and its implications. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Stoneware and porcelain artefacts excavated from Kota Cina in Northern Sumatra and Singapore at the end of the Malay Peninsula remain some of the most compelling archaeological evidence of these settlements during the Song to Yuan, and Yuan to Ming dynasties, respectively. In this dissertation, I used scanning electron microscopy to measure these two settlements’ archaeological high-fired ceramics with the aim of inferring formulas for their body pastes and glazes, and employed statistical testing to quantify differences in these formulas within and between ceramic categories recorded at these sites. This was with the goal of determining if ceramic forms and styles corresponded with variations of raw materials and technologies used in making these traded vessels.   The porcelain and stoneware exported to Singapore appear to have differed considerably in their manufacturing process from an early stage. Stoneware differed to varying extents between sherds of the same category at Kota Cina and Singapore; one significant change in ceramic categories between the settlements was the relative consistency in Singaporean “mercury jars” despite its sample being larger than Kota Cina’s. Comparing these sherds with vessels identified with contemporary Chinese kilns reveals a broad compatibility with technologies of the time but an unprecedentedly elevated use of plant ash in glazing relative to Chinese kilns. Making further conclusions on Kota Cina and Singapore’s ceramic market preferences requires studies of more sites within Southeast Asia, especially contemporaries of both settlements, to determine whether differences were greater over time or between regions, or were possibly even shaped by settlements’ demographics.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/164210
DOI (Related Dataset): 10.21979/N9/IARGG3
Schools: School of Humanities 
Research Centres: Facility for Analysis, Characterisation, Testing and Simulation 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: embargo_20250110
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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