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Sunken Treasures: An exhibition of ceramics from shipwrecks found in Pacific seas
Cargoes from shipwrecks, filled with silk, tea, spices and prized Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics, attest to the vigour of trade and the rich cultural history of the Asian region. Trade flourished from the 14th to 19th centuries. Chinese junks and Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and English galleons were among the many ships actively plying the South China Sea, the Manila to Acapulco route and beyond, forming a ‘Maritime Silk Road’.
Ships laden with ceramics, and the especially esteemed blue and white porcelain, tell the story of wares highly valued throughout Asia, the Middle East and eventually Europe. Known for their beauty and utility, Asian ceramics offered a wide variety of forms, glazes and designs popular centuries ago and still popular today.
The Sunken Treasures exhibition presents shipwreck ceramics: snapshots in time that expand our knowledge and appreciation of cultural treasures from long ago, retrieved only recently from the bottom of the sea.
The exhibit celebrates the 100th Birthday of Jean Fahrni, and the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Society of Asian Arts. Jean Fahrni, a ceramic artist, Past President of the CSAA and Vancouver collector, created the collection of Asian ceramics, which was donated to the MOV by the Hong Kong Bank of Canada. The CSAA, a non-profit, volunteer organization presents pan-Asian programs to promote the arts and cultures of Asia.
Chinese and South East Asian ceramics are displayed, including magnificent Dragon jars, renowned blue and white porcelains and a range of styles and glazes that were treasured in the past and retain their beauty and popularity today.