Sunday, December 29, 2013

12/29/13 Report 1715 Fleet Kang Hsi Porcelain, European Pot Shard & Native American Shard

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tip of Kang Hsi Shard.
Yesterday I scouted three Treasure Coast beaches.  All three looked pretty much the same.  Poor!

All three were sandy and sloped up to the old berm.  I didn't manage to find any shell piles either.

While treasure beach conditions remain poor, three things I'd consider is looking for non-metallic items in shell piles, if you can find any good shell piles, hunting modern jewelry or going off-beach.

A couple photos of the beaches I saw are posted below.

I thought I'd take a close-up look at some non-metallic finds today, such as shards.

I've talked about Kang Hsi porcelain in the past.  And I've shown some pieces.

Kang Hsi Shard
Second View.
You might know that valuable Kang Hsi porcelain was carried on 1715 Plate Fleet ships as they carried their treasures back to Europe.

Most often, the Kang Hsi porcelain you might see on the Treasure Coast beaches is blue on white, although there are a few other colors that you might find.

Kang Hsi porcelain is good porcelain.  You can learn to identify it, even though much European pottery was later produced to mimic Kang Hsi.

I decided to take a good look at a Kang Hsi shard and discovered one thing that could help you identify Kang Hsi.

First the porcelain is white and fine grained and the items are thin.   That contrast sharply with much European and American blue on white ceramics.

Above is a close-up photo of a Kang Hsi shard.  And below is another shot of the same piece from another angle.

European Pottery Shard - Probably British
Circa 1800.
Look at the broken edge on the right where the blue strokes end.  Notice that the blue has depth.  You can see that it goes through the layer of glaze.

Kang Hsi, unlike the typical European and American blue on white pottery, has that kind of depth.

Here is common shard of European blue on white pottery.

Notice the course darker clay on the European shard.  Also notice how much thicker it is.

You can also see that the surface blue does not penetrate the clay but lays on the surface of the glazing.

I think the differences are clear.  The European shard came from a Caribbean fort and battle area.  It was all over the ground there.

Here is a second view of another part of the same shard.

View of the Clay Where the Surface Glaze Has Been Chipped Off.
One other difference between Kang Hsi porcelain and common European pottery is the blue on the European, and American, pottery will be the same shade.  The blue on Kang Hsi will show various shades and appears to have been applied by a skilled artistic hand.

There are a number of very good books on Kang Hsi porcelain if you want to know more.

You should keep your eyes open for it when on shipwreck beaches.

Entire dishes have been found on the beach in years past.  It is difficult to find an unbroken item on the beach, though, but even the shards are sometimes mounted and sold in jewelry.

Below is another type of pottery.  It is native American and came from South Florida.  Instead of painted, this shard is incised.

Incised Native American Pot Shard

I don't have any idea how old this one is.

After the hurricanes I spotted a stamp checked piece of pottery laying right on the surface beside the road.

You never know what you might see, but the more you know about various things the more likely it is that you will see something.

As I always say, keep your eyes open while detecting.

Beach detecting conditions are poor on the Treasure Coast.

Below are a couple of beach photos from yesterday.

Two Different Treasure Coast Beaches Yesterday.
Same Conditions - Poor.

Happy hunting,