Cham island is located off the east coast of Vietnam. It was a key trading centre on the maritime silk road receiving goods from western and eastern Asia. Excavations under the directorship of Professor Kikuchi have produced a very important collection of 9th century glass and glazed ceramics, some typical products of early Islamic western Asia. There is wide range of glass vessel types and colours; most of the ceramics are turquoise glazed wares.
This cross-disciplinary collaborative project focuses on the chemical analysis of both glass and glazes from the site. The key aim is to define the provenance of the glass and of the glazed ceramics. This is being carried out in collaboration with Dr Beth Steer in the Nottingham University Nano and microscale research centre and Dr Simon Chenery at the British Geological survey near Nottingham.
Recent trace element analysis of Islamic glasses by several international teams including us (Henderson et al 2016) using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry have produced provenances for early Islamic and later glasses across the Islamic world linked by the Silk Roads. This project will be the first comprehensive scientific study of early Islamic glass from Vietnam using electron probe microanalysis and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
The preliminary unpublished results show that:
- The glasses derived from several different locations in western Asia
- The glasses have been traded across several thousand miles of the terrestrial and maritime Silk Roads
Publication of the results is in preparation and will appear in a peer reviewed international journal.
Julian Henderson, Simon Chenery, Edward Faber and Jens Kröger 2016. 'The use of Electron Probe Microanalysis and Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry for the investigation of 8th-14th century plant ash glasses from the Middle East', Microchemical Journal, 128, 134-152.
Project funded by Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan