China and Sweden, Treasured Memories, Forbidden City exhibition 2005

The Swedish exhibition of Chinese Porcelain at the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2005


By Zheng Xinmiao

The reputation of exquisite Chinese porcelain goes beyond China and spreads all over the world. Furthermore, China is known as the Nation of Porcelain. Porcelain is a very important symbol of traditional Chinese culture and is the essence of hundreds of years of Chinese history.

From the Han dynasty, China began to export ancient ceramics to Southeast Asia, India subcontinent and West Asia mainly by land and also by sea. The well-known "Silk Road" linked China to the world. The economic prosperity and cultural glory starting from the Tang dynasty brought speedy development in China's sailing industry. Porcelain was then sent abroad more often by sea and to many more countries. In the Sung and Yuan dynasties, the new achievements in sailing techniques together with the foreign-trade prone policies greatly increased the porcelain export.

At the end of Ming and early Qing dynasties, with the establishment of Dutch East India Company, large amount of Chinese porcelain entered the European market and became the primary export. The China Fever in the 18th century Europe all the more made the exquisite Chinese porcelain valuables all the Royals, the nobles and the riches wanted to take a hold of.

The setting of the Exhibition is in Sweden, a friendly Scandinavian country in the second half of the 17th century and early 18th century, when China's porcelain exportation was most active. This Exhibition would bring you back to the splendid history of China and Sweden. 165 pieces (sets) of Chinese porcelain collected in Sweden and 16 western style pieces in the Palace Museum are specially chosen for the Exhibition. These treasures will tell us the legend of the mysterious ship "the East Indiaman Gotheborg " 260 years ago to introduce the cultural fusion during that period. We will also learn the important contribution of Johan Gunnar Andersson, a famous Swedish archaeologist who promoted Chinese archeology to a new level.

This year is the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sweden. It is also a year that the Palace Museum embraces her 80th anniversary. The Swedish Collection of Ancient Chinese Ceramics Exhibition comes in time and most welcome. On behalf of the Palace Museum, I wish the exhibition a great success and would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the Chinese and Swedish friends with whose efforts realized this exhibition. May Sino-Swedish friendship last forever.

Zheng Xinmiao
Vice Minister of Culture
Director of the Palace Museum
The Peoples Republic of China


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