Ham­burg mu­seum shows rel­e­vance of an­cient Silk Road

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - XI'S VISIT - By FU JING in Ham­burg fu­jing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity reaches a high pitch in Ger­many — with the ar­rival of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in Ber­lin for a state visit start­ing on Tues­day, to be fol­lowed by the G20 Sum­mit of the lead­ers of ma­jor economies in Ham­burg on Fri­day and Satur­day — one Ger­man mu­seum di­rec­tor is invit­ing the hon­ored guests to take a mo­ment to re­lax with some cul­tural de­lights for the eyes.

A bonus is that the de­lights also re­late to what they are dis­cussing, es­pe­cially in terms of the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Peter Tamm, di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum in Ham­burg, is of­fer­ing a dis­play of up to 120 items chron­i­cling the his­tory of China’s mar­itime Silk Road.

“The lead­ers should come to know how dif­fer­ent cul­tures and civ­i­liza­tions con­ducted ex­changes and un­der­stand­ing in an amaz­ingly peace­ful way dur­ing the pe­riod,” Tamm said at the mu­seum, which is in the heart of the port city.

“The items show the un­be­liev­able achieve­ments China made in those years.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion, be­ing held to Septem­ber, was jointly ar­ranged by Tamm’s mu­seum and the Guang­dong Mu­seum of Guang­dong prov­ince. The items will be moved to Rome for ex­hi­bi­tion later this year.

The mar­itime Silk Road ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes relics and in­for­ma­tion about ship­wrecks, dis­plays about items traded such as porce­lain and plants, and the ev­i­dence of the in­flu­ences that also were car­ried along trade routes such as re­li­gions and cul­tures.

“We are thrilled to have this ex­hi­bi­tion and we are happy that more and more mu­se­um­go­ers are in­ter­ested in Chi­nese cul­ture and Silk Road his­tory,” said Tamm.

Tamm, deeply in­volved in ship­ping bro­ker­age, me­dia and cul­ture busi­nesses, said the ex­hibit is ev­i­dence of the in­ter­est that Ger­mans, and Euro­peans in gen­eral, have in Chi­nese his­tory and cul­tures.

Tamm said all the items are trea­sures and he is ex­tremely im­pressed by such unique relics as those from the Nan­hai One, a mer­chant ship that sank off the coast of south­ern China dur­ing the Song Dy­nasty ( 960-1279). The colos­sal ship was among those used to bring China and the rest of world closer by trad­ing — car­ry­ing such goods as porce­lain and coins — and through cul­tural ex­changes.

“They are sym­bolic of a pe­riod in China’s his­tory that is lit­tle known here in Ger­many,” said Tamm. “The routes were used dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages to bring lux­ury goods from China to the Mid­dle East and from there on to Europe,” he said.

Tamm said the ex­hi­bi­tion helps ex­plain the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, a pri­mary part of which is the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

Tamm’s mu­seum and Guangzhou Mu­seum have also pro­duced a book in Ger­man and English to in­tro­duce the his­tory and items in the ex­hi­bi­tion.

In the preface, Min­is­ter of Cul­ture Luo Shugang, said that through ex­hibits de­pict­ing cul­tural and com­mod­ity ex­changes, relics and un­der­wa­ter archaeology, the ex­hi­bi­tion shows the progress re­al­ized across oceans be­tween dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions in an­cient times.

“I am cer­tain that this ex­hi­bi­tion will con­trib­ute to the fur­ther un­der­stand­ing be­tween China and Ger­many,” Luo wrote.

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