Battles, trade in waters off 17th century Singapore

This is the fourth of six weekly articles covering the Singapore History Series - Seven Centuries In Six Episodes, organised as part of the SkillsFuture Festival in collaboration with the Singapore Bicentennial Office.

The underwater excavations undertaken by maritime archaeologist Michael Flecker over the past three decades have helped paint a more detailed picture of the trade that took place in the Malay peninsula. They also help illustrate what the material cul
The underwater excavations undertaken by maritime archaeologist Michael Flecker over the past three decades have helped paint a more detailed picture of the trade that took place in the Malay peninsula. They also help illustrate what the material culture of early Singapore might have been like.ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN
The underwater excavations undertaken by maritime archaeologist Michael Flecker over the past three decades have helped paint a more detailed picture of the trade that took place in the Malay peninsula. They also help illustrate what the material cul
Rings adorned with sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds ( above ) from the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which sank in 1638; platters, which may have been used for communal dining; and a Chinese lock. The latter items were retrieved from the wreckage of a Chinese junk that sank in the waters off Vietnam in 1608. PHOTO: PACIFIC SEA RESOURCES, MICHAEL FLECKER
From left: Rings adorned with sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds from the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which sank in 1638; platters, which may have been used for communal dining; and a Chinese lock. The latter items were retrieved from the
Rings adorned with sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds from the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which sank in 1638; platters, which may have been used for communal dining (above); and a Chinese lock. The latter items were retrieved from the wreckage of a Chinese junk that sank in the waters off Vietnam in 1608.PHOTO: PACIFIC SEA RESOURCES, MICHAEL FLECKER
The underwater excavations undertaken by maritime archaeologist Michael Flecker over the past three decades have helped paint a more detailed picture of the trade that took place in the Malay peninsula. They also help illustrate what the material cul
Rings adorned with sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds from the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, which sank in 1638; platters, which may have been used for communal dining; and a Chinese lock (above). The latter items were retrieved from the wreckage of a Chinese junk that sank in the waters off Vietnam in 1608.PHOTO: PACIFIC SEA RESOURCES, MICHAEL FLECKER

The harbour master of 17th century Singapore could have been using a China-made cast iron wok for his mee goreng.

To keep insects and rain out of his wooden hut, he also could have had glass panels, which the Dutch were selling, installed in his windows. He could have had a Dutch-made mirror for grooming himself as well.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2019, with the headline 'Battles, trade in waters off 17th century Singapore'. Subscribe