The maritime world of Asia

Created: 05.09.11

The Indian Ocean and the South China Sea have influenced and supported a huge variety of societies. People throughout the region are closely connected to the ocean, its resources and its dangers. Traders, pilgrims and migrants have always moved across and around this vast maritime space. They created complex ties of trade, language, religion and culture.

Find out more about the Traders gallery


  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Unknown
    18th century
    36-649
    Qibla indicator

    Qibla indicator, comprising a round brass box with a hinged lid and an inset magnetic compass. An invocation of Imam Ja'far (al-) Sadiq, the sixth Shiite Imam (died AD 765) is given in the centre of the inside of the…

  • Unknown
    AAA2798
    Chikuto

    Chikuto. A bamboo sword as used in kendo formed of four shaped pieces of bamboo held together by leather bands and by a hide handle with a guard from which a piece of gut ran the length of the sword…

  • Unknown
    AAA2801
    Painted wooden mask

    Painted wooden mask with pointed teeth and attached fibre moustache (possibly goat hair). It was used in sacred performances and portrays a demon king.

  • Ya, Tung
    1938
    ARC1980-31
    Cargo vessel; Junk; Pechili Trader

    Scale: 1:36. A full hull model of a type of Northern Chinese junk known as a Pechili Trader (or also as a Kiangsu Trader, Shantung Trader or Shantung Five-masted junk). The model is built plank on frame and largely finished…

  • Unknown
    Before 1894
    ARC1980-34
    Cargo vessel; Cargo boat

    Scale: Unknown. A model of a Japanese cargo boat built demonstrating the Yamato-Gata, or the frameless plank, tradition. The model is made entirely in wood with metal and organic material fittings, and is unpainted, apart from specific details painted matt…

  • Unknown
    Before 1954
    ARC1980-42
    Cargo vessel; Sambuk dhow

    Scale: about 1:22. A model of a sambuk dhow made entirely of wood and partly painted in realistic colours, the remainder is varnished. The hull is light blue at the waterline with black boot-topping and keel. The remainder of the…

  • Fonseca, Antonio Manuel da
    1838
    GH8
    Vasco da Gama, circa 1460-1524

    A half-length portrait to right, with the sitter wearing a breastplate, red-lined fur coat, gold-laced and slashed. He has a blue and gold turban, and around his neck the cross of Commander of the Portuguese Military Order of Christ. This…