China's Quanzhou "Maritime Silk Road Exhibition" in Brunei

The Global Times reported the following article.
Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-3-24 10:04:57                      
China's Quanzhou " Martime Silk Road" exhibition opened here in Brunei Darussalm on Monday.

This exhibition is organized jointly by the Quanzhou Maritime Museum and the Brunei Museums Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It is a showcase of the linkage between China and Southeast Asia including Brunei since ancient times.

Located in northwest of Borneo, Brunei Darussalam is known to be a land of beauty and mystery. Historically, China and Brunei have enjoyed a close relationship. It is believed by some scholars that during the period of the West Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-9 A.D.), traders from China and Brunei began their interaction. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), contacts between the two countries were officially established. Commercial and cultural exchanges expanded rapidly between the two sides in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and reached their peak during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

In 1408, Sultan Majid Hassan of ancient Borneo, known as " Maharaja Karna" in China, led a delegation of more than 150 people to pay a visit to the Ming Emperor, which has been recognized as a historic event in Sino-Bruneian relations. As a result of these exchanges, Chinese artifacts date back to the Tang and Song dynasties were found in large quantities in Brunei Darussalam. These evidences indicate the long and close linkages between China and Brunei.

Quanzhou, as an important seaport, was a destination for merchants, missionaries and nobles from ancient Borneo as well as other kingdoms. Similarly, Brunei was also an ideal place where people of Quanzhou and other places of Fujian Province came to trade and stay.

There are hundreds of exhibits in the exhibition including porcelain, gravestone, ship models, ancient coins, historical images and documents.

The city of Quanzhou, which is in Fujian Province of China, plays a special role in the historical linkages between China and Brunei. It was discovered by some Chinese scholars that during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the local government of Quanzhou dispatched Mr. Zongmin Pu to Brunei for diplomatic and economic missions. Pu stayed in Brunei for 11 years and died here (he was believed to be in Brunei in 1264).

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Sultan Majid Hassan of ancient Borneo, known as "Maharaja Karna" in China, leading a delegation of more than 150 people, paid a visit to the Ming Emperor, which has been recognized as a historical event in China- Brunei relations. Quanzhou was the place that Sultan Majid Hassan landed after the sea voyage.

After the establishment of diplomatic relations between Brunei and China, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan paid a visit to Quanzhou in August, 1999, which was the first visit to Quanzhou by a foreign Head of State.

Trade not only brought commodities and businessmen. Maritime Silk Road was also a road of cultural and religious exchanges. Quanzhou became a city with different religions and was named as World Religion Museum, where ancient churches, mosques as well as Taoist and Buddhist temples can be found. Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists settled down in Quanzhou and lived peacefully and harmoniously with each other.

It was recorded that at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, four disciples of Prophet Mohammed travelled to China, and two of them spread Islam for the rest of their life in Quanzhou. They won high respect of the local people and were buried in the Lingshan Holy Mausoleum.

Chinese ambassador Yang Jiang told reporters in the exhibition hall that the exhibition shows one part of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and coincides with the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" proposed by China two years ago.

She said "China has a long history of trade and cultural exchanges with Southeast Asia countries including Brunei. Admiral Zheng He, one of the greatest sailors in world history, left numerous footprints and beautiful stories all over the shores in Southeast Asia. Today in a more interconnected world, we hope that China and Brunei, as well as the whole Southeast Asia, will promote more exchanges and win-win cooperation for the benefits of the people of each country."

HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Brunei's government ministers, high-ranking officials and foreign diplomatic mission in Brunei attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition.


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