Kraak Porcelain from San Diego Shipwreck

For the last #MaritimeMonday of the year, your #NationalMuseumPH highlights the Kraak porcelain from the San Diego shipwreck.

San Diego sank on December 14, 1600 near Fortune Island, Batangas after defeat by the Dutch ship Mauritius. The cargo predominantly comprised of Chinese porcelain specifically from the Wanli Period (1573–1619) of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Read more about the vessel’s story here: 

Kraak porcelain are characterized by their elaborate and striking decorations in blue underglaze organized within foliated radial panels. These kraak wares appeared at the very end of the 16th century and became the mainstream export porcelain produced in Jingdezhen and Zhangzhou, China. The term kraak was derived from ‘carrack’, a type of Portuguese ship seized by the Dutch with cargos of panelled Chinese porcelain in different forms. They are also known for being light and durable, characterized by thin base and foot rim as well as having chatter marks on the base. These were common features brought about by mass production in the Wanli Period that were extensively exported. 

The deer motif is the most representative pattern of the San Diego kraak porcelain. The evident mass production of kraak porcelain indicated that production centers adjusted themselves to cater the demands and tastes of the overseas markets. This resulted to export of visually similar porcelain wares from different kilns. This is an important period where a new affinity in the style of maritime trade was reflected as it transitioned to the 17th century.

Your #NationalMuseumPH is now open to the public. While the San Diego gallery undergoes reconstruction, you may see and appreciate other significant shipwreck artifacts in the ‘300 Years of Maritime Trade in the Philippines’ exhibit located at the National Museum of Anthropology. You may book a slot through this website. Remember to #KeepSafe by practicing minimum health protocols while viewing our galleries. You may also experience the virtual tour of the exhibit by clicking on this link: 






Text and poster by the NMP Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division

© National Museum of the Philippines (2021)