Underwater archaeology is still a new development in Japan, and to date only a few sites have experienced significant investigation. One of them is the recently surveyed Yamami underwater site on the Gotō Islands, which yielded sixteenth-to seventeenth-century trade ceramics from Thailand and Vietnam, as well as from the Jingdezhen kilns in China. After an introduction to the subject of ceramic trade and underwater archaeology in East Asia, the article reviews the ceramic pieces of the Yamami site in detail and links them to comparable finds from various sites in western Japan, such as from the main ports of Hakata and Nagasaki, along with examples from different international museum collections and wreck finds from the South China Sea. After also consulting historical sources, such as the Kai-hentai, the study develops a fresh interpretative approach toward the Yamami find, and—in a broader perspective—suggests strong bonds between the late medieval and early modern Japanese markets and the lively networks of the South China Sea.


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pp. 335-360
Launched on MUSE
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