(20 March 2014) This special exhibition, Mapping Ming China’s Maritime World – The Selden Map and Treasures from University of Oxford, (21 March – 23 June 2014) tells the story of the maritime world of the late Ming-era China (mid-17th century). It features highlights from celebrated Chinese collections held at the University of Oxford. The Selden Map will be on display alongside other related treasures from the Bodleian and from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Collections from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, as well as items from local renowned collector Dr K L Tam will also be featured. Most of the objects are displayed to the public in Hong Kong for the first time.
The Selden Map of China 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 will 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 University’s Bodleian Libraries. The exhibition is also timed to coincide with the University of Oxford’s first Alumni Weekend in Asia, taking place in Hong Kong 21–23 March, which will be hosted by its Chancellor Lord Patten of Barnes and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton.
An international academic symposium will be held by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum 7-8 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.
The full illustrated announcement is here.