Ceramic relics donated to the National Museum of China by a Zhongshan company. [Photo by Zhou Zhenjie]
A donation ceremony of the ceramic relics from the Taixing, a sunken merchant ship from the Qing Dynasty, and the 19th Century China Maritime Silk Road Seminar were held on August 13 at the National Museum of China. Over 190 pieces of precious porcelain, which sunk into the deep sea with Taixing 197 years ago and then wandered far from China, now have been collected by the National Museum of China, donated by Zhongshan company Panlu Group.
Taixing was a Chinese merchant ship that sank in the waters near Indonesia during the period of Emperor Daoguang in the Qing Dynasty. The ship mainly carried folk kiln porcelain from the middle and late Qing Dynasty as well as a small amount of purple clay pottery, stoneware, metalware and others.
The sunken ship was salvaged by foreign business teams in the 1990s, with the salvaged cultural relics auctioned and sold in the international market. In 2018, Panlu Group purchased back a total of 120,000 pieces of these ceramic relics from overseas .
Zheng Changlai, head of Panlu Group, revealed in an interview that, "This time we donated these ceramic relics to the National Museum of China in the hope of carrying forward the spirit of contemporary Chinese entrepreneurship, helping lost Chinese cultural relics from overseas return home, and commemorating the national spirit of the Chinese ancestors who did not fear the hardships of the sea road as they also opened up the Maritime Silk Road with wisdom and tenacity."
Wang Chunfa, director of the National Museum of China, said that the collection of cultural relics from Taixing was of great historical value to the study on China's foreign maritime trade mode and Maritime Silk Road routes in the 19th century.