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South China Sea Museum Set to Open in Hainan

A national museum for the South China Sea is set to open in March with a wide range of antiques collected from China and abroad, the museum's preparatory office in south China's Hainan Province said.


Ten valuable ceramic pieces were donated to the museum by two Chinese companies that purchased them at an auction in New York in September.


The ceramics, including dainty vases, incense holders, drinking vessels, dishes, cups and saucers from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), had been in a collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before they were bought by Hainan Zose Group and Evergrande Tourism Group.


Noted antique appraiser Lu Chenglong with Beijing's Palace Museum said the ceramics had very high artistic value.


"They are valuable pieces to be housed by the South China Sea Museum," Lu said.


In addition, the museum's preparatory office has received 832 antiques donated by fishermen in Tanmen Township of Qionghai City, where the museum is being constructed.


Among the donations are old compasses, logbooks and ceramics from different dynasties retrieved by fishermen on the South China Sea.


The newest items are more than 100 years old and the oldest date back to the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 - 589), said Xie Haishan, an appraiser based in Guangdong Province.


Most of them were produced in China, while others came from Southeast Asia and Europe, he said.


These antiques provide valuable clues to researchers about trade and cultural exchanges along the ancient maritime Silk Road, said Zhang Jianping, an official with the museum's preparatory office.


The museum, covering 10 hectares, will display artifacts about the history, culture and natural resources of the South China Sea, highlighting China's sovereignty over the South China Sea and the protection of cultural heritage, according to Ding Hui, head of the cultural department of the Hainan provincial government.


(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2016)

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