• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures

    From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »

  • 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended

    March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »

  • Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013

    The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »

16th Century Contact Materials

Two distinctive porcelain sources were identified by the late Clarence Shangraw, senior Curator and porcelain specialist of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Differences in motifs, quality of potting, hand-painting, and cobalt blue pigment intensity date these sherds to the 1570s made in Ching-te Chen (Jingdezhen) China's imperial porcelain making center. The wares, specifically manufactured to be exported are known as Kraak ware. The other source of distinctively heavy, more crudely painted wares came from a coastal site near the city of Swatow that began manufacturing these styles for export in the 1590s.

Open Source Kraak Example Open Source Swatow Example

16th century Kraak porcelain from Jingdezhen

Swatow Ware

The porcelains were typical of the wares aboard 300-400 ton Manila Galleon's that shipped cargos of luxury goods such as porcelain, silk, cotton, spices, wax, gold and silver between China and New Spain (Mexico) via the Spanish West Indies (Philippines) across the Pacific to Acapulco between 1565-1815.

Manila Galleon Trade Route

Manila Galleon trade route

The fully-loaded Spanish Galleon, San Agustin, headed for Acapulco was shipwrecked in Drakes Bay, Califonia in 1595. A large cargo of porcelain was aboard. Sir Francis Drake's company encamped on Marin shores for six weeks in the summer of 1579 during this circumnavigation voyage. Writings from his journey indicate four chests of Imperial Chinese porcelain pirated from a Spanish ship may have been left with the Coast Miwok when Drake sailed back to Europe on the Golden Hind.

A larger sample of individual items is available on National Park Service web catalog site where catalog records with images are posted. Use search term Point Reyes National Seashore and porcelain.There are over 700 sherds in the museum holdings.

Did You Know?

Climate scientists warn that the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is 350 parts per million.

Climate scientists warn that the safe upper limit for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations is 350 parts per million (ppm). For most of human history, atmospheric CO2 rarely exceeded 275 ppm--until the industrial revolution. As of 2013, atmospheric CO2 was ~400 ppm–-and rising 2 ppm/year. More...