Monsoon Traders Collection



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This collection features a diverse range of water craft, material culture and art that documents the history of monsoon trade and the history of contact between Indigenous Australians and maritime traders in the region of north Australia and nearby insular Southeast Asia.

The history of contact between Indigenous Australians and maritime traders (both Asian and European) is most notably documented through artistic renditions of this history by Indigenous Australian artists, initially in the medium of rock art and later on bark and canvases. Diverse objects retrieved by archaeological excavation and acquired through donation and acquisition in the Northern Territory, such as caldrons, bottles, jars, ceramics, pipes, fishhooks and coins document Southeast Asian fishers and trepang processing camps along the coastline of north Australia, as well as early European settlement. Collections of Southeast Asian tradeware ceramics, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino storage jars for food stuffs, Chinese, Thai, Khmer and Vietnamese tradeware ceramics illustrate a complex history in the region of contact, trade and exchange. European ceramics, including a rare collection of late 19th and early 19th century stencil ware ceramics, used by Europeans in Southeast Asia and north Australia document subsequent movements of colonisation in the region. Artefacts from the Hati Marege voyage in 1988, which recreated the maritime journey of South Sulawesi trepang fishers on a traditional Buginese perahu, include cooking equipment, attire, musical and instruments are part of this collection, as is the Hati Marege perahu, which was constructed in Tanah Biru prior to the voyage. Furthermore, a number of artefacts including hand woven textiles, replica flags and banners and earthenware ceramics document the culture of the fishers of South Sulawesi. Maritime vessels such as Karya Sama, from Roti island in Indonesia, document contemporary trade in the Australian waters whilst examples of lipa (also known as lipa-lipa) from South Sulawesi, Indonesia and Arnhem Land, Australia document the introduction of this type of canoe from South Sulawesi to north Australia, as a consequence of contact between Southeast Asian monsoon traders and fishers with Indigenous Australians along the north Australian coast. A small number of lithographs, created by Louis Lebreton, and watercolours, created by Augustus Kuper, document early European maritime contact in Port Essington and Raffles Bay, Northern Territory Australia.


Archaeology; Bugis contact; Canoe; Chinese ceramics; Contact history; European ceramics; Filipino ceramics; Hati Marege; Indonesian fishers; Karya Sama; Khmer ceramics; Lipa; Lipa-lipa; Macassan contact; Makassan contact; Malay fishers; Monsoon traders; Stencil ware ceramics; Thai ceramics; Tradeware ceramics; Transfer print ceramics; Trepang; Trepang fishers; Vietnamese ceramics

Augustus Kuper; Louis Lebreton

Coverage Spatial

Port Essington, Northern Territory, Australia; Raffles Bay, Northern Territory, Australia; South Sulawesi,Indonesia

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2012-05-30 23:44

2011-07-05 12:53