The bowls are better understood for being seen in relation to the other items in the museum collection that were recovered from the Middelburg, among others, a tea bowl and saucer of similar type with almost invisible flower and chevron border patterns (HG 12444/1-2), conglomerate (HG 12445) and assemblage of porcelain shards (almost invisible). The bowls will not only fill a gap and complement or add value to the existing Chinese export porcelain held by the DITSONG: National Museum of Cultural History, but also supply material for comparative studies.
HG 12445: conglomerate.
PHOTO Corine Meyer
The conglomerate was recovered in 1969 by the Dodds brothers from the Middelburg shipwreck
The rarity of these bowls makes them significant examples of the type of tea-bowls manufactured and used in 1781, and comparative pieces for other tea bowls in the collection, including the blue-and-white examples, and other objects in the collection which were recovered from the Middelburg shipwreck.
An accurate overview of the ceramics used by the colonists at the Cape requires both documentary and archaeological evidence, as neither is a complete record on its own and each compliments the other. These maritime archaeological artefacts have research value as they represent a type of tea-bowl and aspects of history that are not well reflected in other sources or in the museum collection.