A joint study conducted by researchers of the National Institute of Oceanography and the Archaeological Survey of India has discovered shards of porcelain during exploration at Old Goa, which they say point to the dominance of Portuguese trade in Chinese porcelain.
The Portuguese were the first to introduce Chinese pottery to Europe.
"The identification of shards confirms that they belong to the 16th and 17th centuries and during this time the Portuguese dominated maritime trade with Goa and her colonies. None of the shards belong to the pre-Portuguese period. It appears that Europeans were unaware of this ceramic until the Portuguese began to sail to the Far East in the 16th century," the study states.
The researchers have concluded that the porcelain is from the Ming dynasty period (1365-1644) based on the designs of the pottery.
"The quality of the Ming blue and whites is indisputably superior to those of other periods and the production was plenty. The most popular decorative motifs of the Ming dynasty were the dragon and phoenix. The decoration on the blue and white and polychrome wares is that of Ming emperors," Dr Sila Tripathi a marine archaeologist at the NIO who led the study told Herald.
Besides the porcelain has all been found to be manufactured at Jingdezhen a port of the Ming dynasty. "All these shards belong to Jingdezhen kiln and only one shard is of 'Kraak ware'. During the Ming dynasty Jingdezhen near Nanking was the main centre of production of porcelain ware, and from here it was exported to different parts of the world," the study quoted.
In the past explorations between the bank of the River Mandovi and adjoining areas brought to light Chinese porcelain shards of bowls, cups and dishes. Most of these shards belongs to the Ming and Qing dynasty (16th and 17th century). During this period Old Goa was a flourishing port and trade centre on the west coast of India.
A Portuguese shipwreck in Sunchi reef off the Goa coast has also yielded blue on white Chinese ceramic shards in the past which was reported in a study done by Dr Tripathi after exploring the wreck.