Dragon Jar Project

Guthe Collection, Philippines (Housed at University of Michigan)

Ceramic Analyst, 2003-present

Focusing on vessels collected during an early 20th century University of Michigan expedition to the Philippines, this project is a good example the research potential of museum collections. My involvement with the greater Guthe Collection project (coordinated by Dr. Carla Sinopoli) began with the technological and stylistic analysis of the stoneware Dragon Jars, a class of storage vessel employed for transporting goods and valued in its own right as a trade item within east and southeast Asian and Indian Ocean networks of the 2nd millennium CE. 

More recently I have employed anthropological theories of technology in conjunction with published excavation and shipwreck data to define a chronological sequence for the Guthe Collection jars, and proposed production areas in modern China and Vietnam. The application of these analyses has augmented our knowledge of maritime trading systems and interconnectivity in ancient southeast Asia. In the future, I hope to expand this research to include a larger sample of jars from other trading sites, particularly those on the Swahili Coast.


Relevant Publications:

Dueppen, Stephen
2013   Temporal variability in Southeast Asian dragon jars: A case from the Philippines.
                Asian Perspectives 52(1): 75-118.

Sinopoli, Carla M., Stephen Dueppen, Robert Brubaker, Christophe Descantes, Michael Glascock, Will Griffin, Hector Neff, Rasmi Shoocongdej, Robert J. Speakman
2006         Characterizing the stoneware “dragon jars” in the Guthe Collection: chemical,
                 decorative, and formal patterning.  Asian Perspectives 45 (2): 240-82.