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Museum of Art exhibition to reveal the glory of Chinese export porcelain (with photos)

     Chinese porcelain has made an important contribution to the growth of world civilisation and culture. Through maritime trade, Chinese porcelain has been an international bestseller for over a thousand years, and had a significant impact on porcelain development in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Titled "Maritime Porcelain Road - Relics from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Museums", the latest exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art will be open tomorrow (July 19) until February 16 next year, which studies the importance of Chinese export porcelain, offering visitors an opportunity to learn about its glorious history and development.

     Conceived at the 11th Greater Pearl River Delta Cultural Co-operation Meeting, jointly presented by the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province, the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government and the Home Affairs Bureau, and co-organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Guangdong Museum and the Macao Museum, the exhibition has travelled to Guangzhou, Macau and Hong Kong between 2012 and 2014. Hong Kong is its final stop.

     The opening ceremony of the exhibition took place today (July 18) at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Officiating at the ceremony were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Director General of Administration of Cultural Heritage of Guangdong Province, Ms Su Guifen; and the President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government, Mr Ung Vai-meng.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tsang said that the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau have established a "cultural collaboration mechanism". Following collaboration efforts over past ten years, cultural exchange among the three places has been enhanced, strengthening the development of culture and art in the Pearl River Delta region and enriching cultural life.

     Mr Tsang said the three parties would further strengthen collaboration through the Great Pearl River Delta Cultural Co-operation Meeting. In addition to today's exhibition, another touring exhibition of Lingnan archaeological achievements over three decades in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau will be organised. The three parties will also regularly organise museum forums to provide a platform for museum curators and practitioners to exchange experience and knowledge, study the touring museum plan, launch regional museum pass for the purpose of enhancing sharing and broadening the visitor base.

     Divided into three sections, the "Maritime Porcelain Road - Relics from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Museums" exhibition presents a study of Chinese export ceramics and explores the role the trade played in the growth of world civilisation. More than 170 sets of exhibits selected from the organisers' collections are featured in the exhibition.

     Titled "Country of porcelain", the first section of the exhibition focuses on the growth of Chinese porcelain production in different areas. Production reached its first peak during the Tang and Song dynasties while later on Jingdezhen made significant progress, becoming acclaimed as the Capital of Porcelain during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Significant examples from various regions and kilns are featured in this section.

     The second section is titled "Oceanic thoroughfare" and explains why Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau have for centuries played the role of a gateway for Chinese porcelain. Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau connect China to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Through valuable relics salvaged from the wreck of the Song ship South China Sea No. 1 and the wreck of the Ming ship Nan'ao No. 1, the exhibition focuses on porcelain manufacturing and how it reflects the aesthetic values and interests of people living at that time. It also looks at China's overseas trade and the culture of porcelain in the southeast coastal areas of China.

     The third section of the exhibition is titled "The spread of porcelain art", which introduces how Chinese porcelain influenced the production of porcelain in Asian and European countries. Japanese porcelain art was strongly influenced by Chinese porcelain and during the 17th century Japan imported large quantities of Ming ceramics and porcelain. Japanese kilns produced many imitations and replications of these Chinese imports, achieving a quality as good as any produced at Jingdezhen. In Europe, Chinese porcelain was considered an impressive art form, inspiring many countries to research and replicate the decorative patterns, techniques and formulas in the production of their own ceramics. King Louis XV of France established the Sˆovres porcelain factory and began to produce rococo style porcelain, elaborately decorated with gold outlines and polychrome enamels, marking the maturation of Western porcelain production. Visitors will be able to view ceramics produced by various Asian and European countries at the exhibition.  

     As a special feature of the exhibition's final stop in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has prepared a game for visitors - Character Test for a Maritime Trade Tycoon - to make visiting the exhibition a fun experience. To complete the "test", visitors will need to answer 14 questions on site, and their score will reveal whether they are tycoon material or not! By playing the game visitors will learn that smooth sailing was not guaranteed on the maritime porcelain road, providing another reason to treasure these precious artifacts that have been passed down to us.

     For details of the exhibition, please visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art's website at , or call 2721 0116 for enquiries.

     The Hong Kong Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is open from 10am to 6pm daily, and 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Standard admission is $10. Full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities can enjoy a half-price concession, and a 30 per cent discount is available for groups of 20 people or more (standard rate). Admission is free on Wednesdays.

Ends/Thursday, July 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:57


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