Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices

10 October 2015 - 31 January 2016 – Art Gallery of Western Australia
13 June - 30 August 2015 – Art Gallery of South Australia

AGWA and AGSA present Treasure Ships, which features the spectacular and exotic art produced for global markets in the age of spices.

The exhibition, displaying art dating from the fifteenth to early nineteenth centuries, commences with the sea journey of discovery by Vasco Da Gama to India in search of spices and the establishment of the world’s first multinational company, the Dutch East Indies Company.

Treasure Ships uses these extraordinary works of art to tell the story of the slave trade, spice markets, piracy and shipwrecks, as well as illustrating the astonishing beauty of Chinese porcelain, known as ‘white gold’, and vibrant Indian textiles created for export around the world.

250 works of art borrowed from collections in Australia, Europe, Asia and the United States create an immersive picture of the ‘age of discovery’ between East and West through the advent of the first global markets. These include paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, furniture, decorative arts, maps, early manuscripts and shipwreck artefacts retrieved from the Batavia and the Gilt Dragon, which sank off the Western Australian coast in the seventeenth century.

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Scenes of traders in Nagasaki

detail: Japan, Scenes of traders in Nagasaki, Mid 18th century Nagasaki

pair of hand scrolls, opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper; box, wood, paper and ink

313.0 x 35.0 cm each

M.J.M. Carter AO Collection through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2014

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide



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