[展覽] When Hong Kong was a means station within the Maritime Silk Road - new exhibi...

Hong Kong has actually been slower than some Chinese ports to trumpet its role during the heritage of East-West maritime trade, but a whole new exhibition at Hong Kong’s Maritime Museum reveals the value of sites this kind of as Tuen Mun and Significant Island to ancient mariners which is a timely reminder of the broader advantages to modern society of trade

Hong Kong’s historical area on China’s symbolic Maritime Silk Street is highlighted within a new exhibition in the city’s Maritime Museum.

“We can now verify Song and Ming dynasty Hong Kong had a transitional situation within the Maritime Silk Highway in destinations like Tuen Mun, Large Island and Penny’s Bay,” says Dr Libby Chan Lai-pik, assistant director of the museum.

The exhibition, named “East Meets West: Maritime Silk Routes in the 13th-18th Centuries”, is co-organised because of the Guangdong Museum and runs until finally November 11.

The exhibition’s timing is opportune. Beijing has introduced an important publicity blitz to market the benefits of its Belt and Highway Initiative, a progress plan to grow worldwide trade, which involves highlighting the historic silk routes that underpin it.

Adhering to the obvious new cancellation of 3 relevant infrastructure initiatives in Malaysia by Key Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and growing criticism the enhancement initiative is more about Chinese hegemony than bilateral exchanges, the historical context of your programme is much more vital than in the past.

“The Maritime Silk Highway is actually a warm subject and people buying and selling routes as well as their impact on nowadays is vital,” Chan says. She adds that whilst prior relevant exhibitions within the museum have talked about Hong Kong, none have tried to stamp town firmly over the historical maritime trading community.

Given that autumn 2013, when President Xi Jinping first proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, coastal towns in China have already been clamouring to ascertain their historic place about the Maritime Silk Highway.

Authorities in port cities this sort of as Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Ningbo estimate that by setting up their historic credentials, they may attain recognition as essential details with the modern-day initiative, and in switch get a share with the US$60 billion of prospective investment decision and curry favour in Beijing.

Hong Kong continues to be extra reticent. Whilst there exists no shortage of enthusiasm among the organization elite for that economic benefits of the initiative’s infrastructure and connectivity initiatives, the historic context that impressed Xi’s grand eyesight is missing.

The third Belt and Street Summit, held in Hong Kong this summer, welcomed some 5,000 members from fifty five nations and regions, and incorporated much more than 80 govt and enterprise leaders from Hong Kong. Number of, having said that, mentioned historical sailing routes or cultural trade.

Hong Kong does have its own Maritime Silk Road Modern society, originated by Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a member with the Executive Council which advises the Hong Kong administration, and also a member of the city’ s Legislative Council. Its web-site is packed with business initiatives, scholarships and galvanizing rhetoric, but there is nothing at all concerning the historical context of your Maritime Silk Highway or Hong Kong’s place on it.

It's only been attainable to position Hong Kong about the Maritime Silk Highway to be a results of modern archaeological discoveries.

In July 2016, Dr Monthly bill Jeffery, assistant professor of anthropology on the University of Guam and a investigation associate at Hong Kong Maritime Museum, led a team of volunteer diver-archaeologists from the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group to get well a 1,000-year-old stone anchor inventory off Substantial Island around the Sai Kung peninsula. It took two years to preserve the inventory for screen and it takes pleasure of area at the Maritime Museum exhibition.

“Less than ten anchors such as this a person are actually uncovered from throughout China,” Chan suggests.

She describes that the inventory is about one-third lesser compared to one located together with the 15th-century shipwreck Nanhai No. one, which can be now housed in its individual purpose-built museum on Hailing Island in Guangdong province and it is usually as opposed together with the terracotta warriors with regard to archaeological significance.

A lump of outdated stone may not get visitors’ pulses racing, even so the tale guiding it would.

The anchor inventory is from an ocean-going vessel, not a little local boat. It implies that one,000 yrs ago while in the Tune dynasty (960-1279), ships plying the Maritime Silk Road - at the time at its top - were calling at bays all over High Island en route to Guangzhou, the Gulf of Thailand and over and above.

“Ming dynasty records suggest Superior Island was a sheltered harbour with plentiful food items and distinct water, but we need additional proof to find out its significance as being a transit point to the Maritime Silk Highway,” Chan says.

Higher Island was also the placement of Hong Kong’s very first and only historic shipwreck. A late Music dynasty or early Ming dynasty (1368-1644) boat was uncovered through design in the High Island Reservoir in 1974.

Chan describes that the Sai Kung location very first appeared in early Ming dynasty information like a port of call for tribute (“kung” in Cantonese) for ships from the West (“sai”), suggesting the existence of overseas ships approaching the greater ports within the southern China coast by using precisely what is now Hong Kong.

Salt was the crucial area commodity inside the Tune period, not silk.

“A Music dynasty stone from the Tin Hau temple at Fat Tong Mun [by Hong Kong’s Joss Home Bay] information a pay a visit to of the imperial salt officer and his companion, indicating which the salt export small business was really essential to this area,” Chan suggests.

Sai Kung along with the northern New Territories were being closely associated with Chinese administrative centres at Shenzhen as well as the Dapeng peninsula prolonged right before any European improvement of Hong Kong Island.

The exhibition also includes a array of merchandise loaned by Hong Kong’s Antiquities and Monuments Business office which have been recently excavated through the Sacred Hill North web-site during focus on Sung Wong Toi MTR station. Historical household websites and wells were found indicating sizeable settlement during the Song and Yuan dynasties in the vicinity of what on earth is now the area close to Kai Tak.

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A few of the pottery shards excavated with the Sacred Hill website are through the Cizao Kiln in Jinjiang, Fujian province, as well as the vital Longquan Kiln in Zhejiang province.

The exhibition indicates that these professional ceramics have been imported by sea which japanese Hong Kong might need been a significant loading station for ceramics for overseas traders around the Maritime Silk Street.

Students have extended known about the relevance of Hong Kong’s western waters as essential strategies on the key buying and selling town of Guangzhou. Penny’s Bay, in southern Lantau Island, was excavated in 2010 as part of the brand new Disneyland advancement, and discovered two mass pits of Ming dynasty ceramics.

Tuen Mun in Hong Kong’s western New Territories was also an essential sentinel for your port of Guangzhou to your north.

Writings from the 12th century show that Castle Peak in Tuen Mun (generally known as Sheng Shan and Pui To Shan) was a vital navigation mark for mariners exiting Guangzhou and heading southeast on account of its unique shape.

The Tuen Mun garrison, proven while in the 24th 12 months of Emperor Xuanzong’s reign within the Tang dynasty (AD736), was later on a significant naval base through the Ming dynasty. Unfortunately, what was historic Castle Peak Bay now lies beneath several metres of concrete, next intensive reclamation while in the spot.

With the arrival of a trade war amongst the us and China, the 200 items on display will also be a well timed reminder on the broader added benefits to society of trade.

Traders from Persia, Oman, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Europe and in other places frequented Chinese ports these kinds of as Guangzhou, Quanzhou and Ningbo. They introduced with them their art, music, religion and customs. It created southern Chinese ports on the Maritime Silk Road wealthy, tolerant and cosmopolitan entrepots.

“The concept is that China attained monetarily and culturally through the maritime silk routes and it helped establish several towns together the China coastline,” claims museum director Richard Wesley.

By putting Hong Kong to the same map as these historical buying and selling towns, the exhibition also emphasises the shared maritime and cultural links among Hong Kong and China, extensive right before it became a British colony from the nineteenth century. This is something Beijing would without doubt welcome.

Wesley fiercely rejects the recommendation that stress might have been exerted to phase an exhibition cementing Hong Kong’s historic put inside a key Chinese foreign plan programme at these kinds of a vital time.

“We are a non-political and independent museum so we never just take recommendations from anyone,” he says.

“We are not overplaying or exaggerating the function of Hong Kong. We have been indicating that buying and selling vessels used Hong Kong waters for shelter and h2o prior to heading west around the Maritime Silk Highway.”

Poring more than an early Qing dynasty Chinese scroll chart on the Guangdong spot, which clearly exhibits ports all around Substantial Island, Chan concedes that rather more do the job is needed to ascertain the significance of jap Hong Kong like a node to the substantial community that dominated trade and tradition from the region for many five generations.

“We have to have more perform in marine and land archaeology since there exists no penned record. This is certainly silent history concealed less than the sea and under the ground,” she suggests  LIU Wu.

“It could explain to us numerous extra tales about Hong Kong a person thousand several years back.”

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