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Beardman jug from the wreck site of VERGULDE DRAECK

Date: before 1656
Overall: 198 x 149 mm
Medium: Ceramic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transferred from Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks
Object Name: Jug
Object No: 00046268

User Terms

    This Beardman jug was excavated from the wrecksite of the merchant ship VERGULDE DRAECK (GILT DRAGON), chartered by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and wrecked on Western Australia's coast in 1656. A salt-glazed stoneware it features three medallions and a bearded mask. This popular style of jug contained alcohol and was also called a 'Bellarmine'. It originated in the Germanic areas of Europe during the early 1500s, and was said to be a mocking likeness of Cardinal Bellarmine.
    SignificanceThis jug is a rare surviving item from the VERGULDE DRAECK (Gilt Dragon) shipwreck and highlights the presence of the powerful Dutch East India Company in Australia, prior to British exploration. It illustrates the significant role Dutch merchants played in putting Australia - then referred to as New Holland - on the map.
    HistoryDuring the 1600s the Dutch East India Company or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) was a rapidly expanding merchant organisation. The VOC established a trade network throughout Asia by transporting rare spices, exotic textiles and seeking new markets. Asian goods -especially spices and Chinese ceramics- were highly sought after in Europe, allowing the VOC to establish a profitable enterprise between Europe and the East Indies. A number of Dutch ships are known to have wrecked on the west Australian coast, leaving evidence of their passing in the form of wreckage coins and pottery. Dutch maps at this time also began to portray the coastline of Australia (New Holland), which would be a great benefit for later explorers.

    The VOC ship VERGULDE DRAECK was under the command of Pieter Albertszoon on the 28th of April 1656, when it hit a reef off the coast of Western Australia, between the present day towns of Seabird and Ledge Point. It was carrying 193 crew and passengers, of whom only 75 survived. The ship was also transporting a cargo of trade goods and silver coins for Batavia (Jakarta) worth 185,000 guilders. After the wreck a crew of seven men set out for Batavia while 68 remained on the Australian mainland. The party arrived safely to Batavia and numerous search expeditions were sent out to find any survivors. These expeditions all encountered difficulties, and eventually in 1658 the possibility of any future searches was ruled out by the VOC.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Rheinish beardman jug excavated from the wreck site of VERGULDE DRAECK.

    Collection title: ANCODS (Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks) collection

    Web title: Beardman jug from the wreck site of VERGULDE DRAECK

    Related Sites Ledge Point

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