333 ceramics from the Tek Sing shipwreck were returned by the Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for the Arts in a special handover ceremony at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra.
The Tek Sing, a Chinese junk ship, sank in Indonesian waters in 1822 with great loss of life. The shipwreck was discovered in 1999 and its contents were protected under the cultural property laws of Indonesia.
Our Movable Cultural Heritage team was notified of individuals selling Tek Sing ceramics online.
The objects were recovered with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police, Western Command, and assessed by experts from the Maritime Archaeology Department at the Western Australian Museum. The ceramics were formally seized under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 in May 2022.
The ceramics include bowls, tea cups and other dishes fired in the kilns of Dehua, China.
The return is timely as it coincides with the anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945.
The Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act regulates the export of Australia's movable cultural heritage. It also provides for the return of foreign cultural property which has been illegally exported from other countries and imported into Australia.
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