HONG KONG.- The Hong Kong Maritime Museum
is displaying highlights from the celebrated Chinese collections held at the University of Oxford in a temporary exhibition entitled Mapping Ming Chinas Maritime World The Selden Map and Treasures from University of Oxford.
This special exhibition tells the story of the maritime world of the late Ming-era China (mid-17th century). It features the Selden Map from the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford and other related treasures from the Bodleian and from Oxfords Ashmolean Museum. Collections from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, as well as items from local renowned collector Dr. K.L. Tam are also being featured. Most of the objects are displayed to the public in Hong Kong for the first time.
The highlight of the exhibition is The Selden Map of China. It is the earliest map to show shipping routes linking Ming-era China to markets in South Asia and beyond. It is also the first to depict China as part of a greater East and Southeast Asia, and not the centre of the known world. It has recently benefited from extensive conservation work and recent research that has shed new light on the map. Dating from the late Ming period, it shows China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and part of India. It was bequeathed to Oxford in 1659 by John Selden, the London lawyer and historical and linguistic scholar. Other exhibits from Oxford include the well-known manuscript rutter, or manual of compass directions, Shun feng xiang song, as well as the Zhi nan zheng fa (The True Art of Pointing South).
This exhibition is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and Oxford Universitys Bodleian Libraries.
Lord Patten says at the Opening Ceremony, "the Selden Map shows the inter-connectivity and globalisation of the world. Having it exhibited in Hong Kong underlines Hong Kong's significant role in free trading, as well as its economic freedom and prosperity. It is our honour to be able to bring the Selden Map to this great museum, in contribution to one of the greatest maritime cities, Hong Kong. I am very much looking forward to a weekend in this remarkable city."
An international academic symposium will be held by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum from 7th-8th June 2014 to discuss the latest research into this important period in Chinese maritime history, followed by the publication of the symposium proceedings at the end of 2014. Programme to be confirmed, please check the HKMM website for details.
A series of public lectures will be arranged during the exhibition period.