Digging through time

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-03-17 10:25
Digging through time

New archaeological exhibition sheds light on how Shanghai was an influential maritime trading port as long as a thousand years ago

Shanghai Museum is currently presenting an exhibition of its latest archeological discoveries which prove the Chinese mega city was an important harbor on the maritime Silk Road.

Titled "Archaeological Discoveries from the Historical Site of Qinglong Town in Shanghai", the exhibition is being held at Hall No 3 on the fourth floor of Shanghai Museum and will run till the end of May. It showcases the history of Qinglong town, which is located in today's Qingpu district.

Yang Zhigang, director of Shanghai Museum, said that this proof of Shanghai's early interactions and communications with other countries echoes the Belt and Road Initiative that China is carrying out.

Yang also noted that this is one of the "speediest shows" ever hosted by the museum. He pointed out that Shanghai Museum usually takes months, if not years, to prepare for an exhibition, but some of the relics were still buried underground a few months ago.

As some of the most exquisite ceramic pieces unearthed were either broken or incomplete, the Shanghai Museum's acclaimed restoration department was roped in to help restore the pieces for the exhibition, said Chen Jie, head of the archeological department of Shanghai Museum.

The exhibition, which features 101 artifacts, is divided into three segments. The first part touches on the prosperity of the ancient town and showcases pieces related to everyday use, such as an iron tripod, bronze mirrors decorated with fine carvings of parrots holding branches in their mouths, as well as utensils and pottery wares used to drink tea.

Some of the finest pieces were excavated from the bottom of an ancient well and they reflect the wealthy and comfortable lifestyle of the locals, said Chen.

"However, we don't know why these valuable objects were thrown into the well. Such is the mystery of history," he added.

Qinglong town is believed to have been built in 746. The town, which during its prime was located between the Wusong River and the ocean, was Shanghai's first trading harbor. It was so busy that the town had to establish a special administration for outbound trading.

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