INTRODUCTION: A Dutch bronze cannon and chinese porcelain are to be sold at Sotheby's auction rooms in London in the next few weeks.
INTRODUCTION: A Dutch bronze cannon and chinese porcelain are to be sold at Sotheby's auction rooms in London in the next few weeks. The treasures were salvaged last year from the wreck of the Dutch east Indian ship "Witte Leuuw" (White Lion) which sank off St. Helena in 1613.
SYNOPSIS: The cannon was delivered outside the gallery on Monday (7 March) but not without some difficulty. It is 12 feet long and weighs over 3 tons. The floors' at Sotheby's were not strong enough to support it's enormous weight, so a special platform was built outside the entrance. The cannon was one of the first to be commissioned by the Dutch East India company. It is dated 1604 and the breech is decorated with a galleon.
The "Witte Leuw" left Amsterdam on 30 January 1610 with a fleet of eight ships. She was on her way home, after spending two years trading in the company of three other Dutch ships, when she was sunk while attacking two Portuguese boats anchored of the island of St. Helena.
Using both Dutch and Portuguese records, a search for the missing vessel began in 1976. After seven months of mapping, recording and excavating, the wreck was found.
It had been untouched since 1613 and was lying at a depth of 33 metres (37 yards) in sticky mud. All remains, except for a few guns, were deeply buried. The team of four drivers found that little of the actual structure remained, and the wreckage had been widely scattered.
Most of the porcelain had been shattered, but pieces intact included pepper and spices jars from the main cargo. The porcelain had been taken aboard in 1612 at Bantam, Java and dates from the late 16th century foreign of the Ming Emperor Wan Li. The Porcelain pieces are to sold on March the 15th and are expected to fetch up to 6,000 sterling pounds (11,000 U.S. dollars). The cannon will be auctioned off the 19th April for an expected 5,000 pounds sterling (9,000 U.S. dollars).